05 July 2011

The puncture from hell

Any cyclist has had many a puncture at least once in their live. But what happened in our last 2-day mini-tour almost made me run out of patience. Lucy's bike wears Continental Ultra Sport tyres, which although are not awful when they're brand new (as they usually come with low-end bikes off-the-peg), they tend to wear off quickly and get punctures every 20 km after 1000 km or so. This is a short summary of events that happened when we were only 10 km away from our final destination, King's Lynn:

1. Front flat tyre
2. We removed the tyre, inspected it for foreign objects, we found nothing
3. Put a new inner tube and put tyre back on
4. Realised that the valve is too short for Lucy's rims (they're kinda fancy aero tall rims)
5. Take inner tube back out to only realise that the rim tape had moved from its natural place and the hole along the rim is not longer visible
6. Unsuccessfully tried to move the rim tape so that the holes on both the tape and the rim matched
7. Given the heat (even in the shade) and the fact that we needed to get back home at a reasonable time, I decided to cut a new whole on the rim tape using the swiss knife
8. Put a new inner tube with longer valve in. Put tyre back on.
9. Sh*t, tyre lever breaks! First time this has happened to me! Strange...maybe blame it to the hot English weather?
10. Inflate the wheel with mini-pump, doing well, up to 70 psi, boooom! Valve has blown up. This is the very first time it has happened to me at only 70 psi!
11. Only have one other inner tube that would fit those rims, the original one that actually had the flat.
12. Get glue and patches out, fix it, leave it to dry for 5 min
13. Put inner tube back in, tyre back on with only two remaining tyre levers, and inflate to 60 psi fearing that the valve would blow up again and we will run out of options!

We thought this was bad enough, but no...

14. Monday morning we realised that also the back tyre was completely flat! Luckily, it held up on the previous day and we did not even notice! Phew...

Continental Gatorskins ordered!

So, make sure your inner tubes fit your rims, and always carry patches as well as inner tubes! And get reliable tyres to make life easier!


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