August 15, 2009
When touring loaded, your braking distance is increased. Making sure that your brakes and pads are in proper working order is always important, but having quick and easy access to your levers can also prove to be very beneficial.
Auxiliary, Inline, Interrupter, Cross, or Top Mount levers. Whatever you call them, they are a very useful addition to any touring bike with drop bars. They mount to your handlebars in a similar fashion as mountain bike levers, and allow you to access your brakes while resting your hands on the tops of the handlebars. These are particularly useful when riding through congested areas, where you may find yourself making quick, unexpected stops. In addition to providing another location to access your brakes, you can get more leverage when pulling the brakes, for increased braking power.
Installation takes a little mechanical know-how, but if you are familiar with replacing brake cables this retrofit will be no problem. As far as selecting a brand to go with, Tektro and Cane Creek are the most economical options (approximately $20-$25), and include barrel adjusters for easy access on the fly brake adjustments. For those looking for a clean, classic look, Paul Components makes a nice looking set for around $75. These are available for 26.0mm or 31.8mm handlebar diameters.
TOURING GEAR AND TIPS is written by Joshua Tack, a part Adventure Cycling's Member Services department. It appears weekly, highlighting technical aspects of bicycle touring and advice to help better prepare you for the journey ahead.