Sunday, November 29, 2009

Won't Miss #83 - squealing bicycle brakes

There's a particular type of bicycle in Japan which is marketed toward housewives. It's a cheap, but serviceable model which is sold new for between $80-120 (8,000-12,000 yen). This type of bike is called a "mama chari". That's "mama" for "mother" and "chari" is supposed to be the sound the bells on those bikes make. These bikes seem to have a common problem in that their brakes squeal horribly loudly, and it's the worst at crosswalks because you tend to get people slowly laying on the breaks on a long approach up to the light. It's the worst after it rains. It's extremely grating and annoying, but because these bikes are so cheap (and bikes are so often stolen in Japan that people don't want to buy pricey ones), these bikes are everywhere.

I won't miss the fingers on a blackboard feeling I get when I hear these brakes squealing.

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