Monday, 27 May 2013

Puncture halts ride within 10 minutes of heading out...

I awoke suddenly. My alarm had gone off, but I was mid-dream, although I can't remember much about it. Still, I've got to get up and get on the bike as I'm meeting Andy on the Green at 0700hrs. I put the kettle on, chuck a couple of slices of bread in the toaster, search for a new box of teabags and then reach for the Crunchy Nut Cornflakes – not my usual choice of cereal, but what the hell. Then with toast, cereal and tea ready, I move into the living room and switch on the radio. Oddly, it's the World Service and odder still, the shipping forecast is about to begin. What's happening, I wonder, as it suddenly all falls into place. Last night, I recall, that when we all turned in there was just over six hours to go before my aforementioned rude awakening. Of course! My phone's alarm clock is still set to European time. It wasn't 0600hrs, it was 0500hrs. By now, of course, it was coming round for 0530hrs – no point in returning to bed, so, having finished my cornflakes and tea, here I am typing these words and wishing I'd reset the alarm. The only good thing is that I'll be on time for Andy at 0700hrs.

Outside it is promising to be a good day. Already the skies are blue and there are strips of sunshine on my freshly cut lawn. Upstairs I hear sounds of movement. Somebody else is up. In the background, Radio 4 is on. The news.

I left the house bang on 0630hrs, headed up Church Way and then through the Churchyard. Following the pondside path I turned left on to the Limpsfield Road and then it all came to an abrupt halt. I thought I had a twig caught in the spokes of the rear wheel, but couldn't see anything. Then, within a split second, my tyre was totally flat and the tyre itself almost detached from the wheel. I couldn't believe it: a puncture so fast and so devastating that the whole thing had totally deflated within seconds.

The church at Sanderstead. Pic by Andy.
I pushed the bike on to the path and turned it upside down and then phoned Andy to tell him what had happened. He agreed to cycle to Sanderstead Green – known locally as The Gruffy for some reason – and I set about fixing the puncture. But there were problems. I found one puncture and fixed it and then found that I was having tremendous difficulty re-inflating the tyre. For some reason there was nothing and I started to blame the pump. But then Andy's pump proved equally useless, although it did pump it up a little bit. "That'll do you for Botley," said Andy, optimistically, and then, when we felt the tyre again it was softer.

I knew then that I had another puncture – two in total – and resigned myself to no ride. We found a bench on the Gruffy and sat there eating the cereal bars and drinking the tea. It was pleasant and at least Andy got a ride out of it, although he admitted that he'd considered an 'abort' text earlier on.

Andy rode home and I walked the bike down Church Way and home where I fixed the puncture. I was right, there was another puncture, but now, as I write this, it's fixed and I have a strong temptation to give the bike a bit of clean – Andy will be pleased about that, having mentioned this morning that his own bike was looking a little too clean for his liking.

But then, oh no! Another puncture! It was as if a thorn or something went through the inner tube and out the other side. I've fixed it, resorting this time to a bowl of water to detect it's location. That's three punctures! All on the back wheel. What a day!

Once again a wonderful day. Shame we didn't get a ride.

PS: Excellent to see Morrissey having a go at Kate Middleton this week. Despite the fact that foie gras is not allowed to be produced in the UK – the process is inhumane –it turns out that Middleton is a fan of the disgusting product and that Fortnum & Mason still sells it, having found a supplier outside of the UK. Good, work, Mozza. Click here for more.

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