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Terrible journey home

November 17, 2006

Two hours forty five minutes to get home. A new low. The rain was terrible but having a puncture before I could even get on the bike was worse. Since I could not find the thing that caused the puncture I put on the spare I carry. That got me only 2 miles before the tire popped off the rim. I was able to stop before the tube punctured so I put the original tyre back and hoped for the best.

Less than a mile further that tyre apparently came off as well this time puncturing the tube. On my last tube now and still 18 miles to go. I was very careful about fitting the tyre to be sure the tyre was properly mounted. From here things started to look up and I was making progress and things were looking good. About half a mile from Ottershaw the tyre let go with a pop. 7 miles from home and now walking. Walked to Ottershaw and hid in the bus shelter and decided to put the original tube back on in the hope it would get me home. The tyre’s steel bead had come off for about 10 cm which explained everything….

The original punctured tube only had a slow puncture so I pumped it has hard as I dared without risking the another blow out, resolving to get the train in Addlestone if required and putting more air in the tyre when needed.

Got home on this tube, cold and wet. Ordered new tyres and tubes on-line for next week.

Update 19/11/2006: I was not in the best of mind when I wrote this and forgot the key point. That was this: “Don’t ever throw away a punctured tube until you get home!“. Had I done so with the first tube I would have been walking all the way home or trying to hop on various trains to get there.

Tags: topic:[cycling] topic:[commuting] topic:[very very wet]


From → Cycling

  1. Hey Chris… sounds like quite an ordeal. I wanted to ask… Have you tried one of those self-sealing tubes? And if so, would you care to comment if they work any better (at least reduce the chances of a blow out)?
    I too am begenning to get a bit sick of tire blowouts (nothing quite as bad as what you describe though) and am trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t.

  2. That sucks, Chris. I think on the whole I’ve been pretty lucky with not getting too many.
    The 2 worst experiences I’ve had were…
    One time in France, on a tour, having to create a “super-patch” by sticking 4 normal patches together, because for some reason the patches I applied had a hole blown straight through! As if it was a high pressure jet. After 3 hours of trying to fix those we finally got it right with the super-patch! Did I mention it was raining solidly?
    Even after later careful examination of the tyre I never did find the cause.
    Recently one Friday evening I was travelling over to a friends’ house, with a pannier full of beer (as you do!). I’m on the off-road cycle path despite my normal misgivings about being on a cycle path when *hiss* goes the rear… damn, it’s 11.30 at night, I’m on my way into town on the edge of the park, with poor lighting and drunks walking passed, and I have to try and find the puncture in the tube…
    It’s really hard to hear the hissing from a punctured tube in heavy traffic! I got to my friends house, beer all present and accounted for, only 20 minutes late – didn’t do too bad in the end! That was an unpleasant one though – the 3 hours in France were less nerve-wracking.

  3. This journey reminds me of one I took many years ago. I was cycling home with my friend and we had just gone over a hill – the only one in Cambridgeshire by a village called Barrington. We then discovered that the river had burst its banks and flooded both roads we could continue our journey. Not wanting to go over the hill again we cycled through the torrent. One of our cycle chains fell off and I remember the struggle trying to get through the torrent.

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