Don't you hate it when this happens?
What you're looking at is the sad sight of a broken bicycle brake. I've never seen - or even heard - of this happening before. It appears to be metal fatigue; the aluminum casting just split. I would not have guessed that the brake housing is subject to such excessive stress. On the other hand, the bike is almost fifteen years old, and this is original equipment.
We were about halfway into our ride yesterday when we pulled up to an intersection and hit the brakes to yield the right of way to an oncoming car. The brake gave way and I thought a cable had snapped.
Fortunately, this is the control for the rear brake, and since our bike has a second rear brake which Debbie controls, we still had plenty of stopping power. But we'll certainly need to get a replacement.
This close-up photo also reveals the effects of sweat running off my hand and onto the brake housing. I need to run a wire brush over the metal, although I guess it's a moot point now.