PATRICK MCVAY

WRITER

Squeal Like A...

When I pop into your head at random times, as must happen now and again, do you think of me as:

  1. That beer brewer who bicycles?
  2. That cyclist who brews beer? Or
  3. That writer who brings home brewing supplies on his bike?

“Ha! 'Writer.' Don't make me laugh." Fine, but the fact is I used to get up every morning and write something, anything, even if it was just a grocery list, but now that the internet has total control over my every waking moment, feeding me fascinating pictures of former Hollywood starlets who are now near death and tales of how most problems can be solved with this one weird trick, I almost don’t write at all. But I do brew beer and ride a bike.

Which brings me to my gripe du jour: I can’t get the front brakes on my touring bike to stop squealing. I don’t mean that these brakes peep a little, I mean they squeal like a pig coming to grips with its fate. “Toe them in, for crying out loud!” Yes, I know. I’ve toed these brakes inside out and upside down. I’ve cleaned the front rim. I’ve replaced perfectly good pads with more expensive ones that I scuffed up, all to no avail. “Sometimes, you just need to get a new rim,” they tell me at Broadway Bicycle School in Cambridge, MA.

At fifty or sixty bucks for a machine-made rim, I think I’ll just let them squeal.

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