Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The P Word!

I set off home at about 5pm but I didn't get very far. Had all the usual clothing and bike faff, lights on, out the door and a few pedal revolutions and I decide that the saddle was too low. I thought it had slipped this morning but now I was sure. I stopped under one of the remaining working lights in the car park to adjust it and as I was looking down at the saddle QR I heard the heart sinking noise of air leaking out one of the tyres - arse!

It took me a while to decide if it was a leak or not, neither of the tyres seemed to be getting softer and I was stood next to a drain, so I moved up a bit just in case it was the drain, nope! I rolled back into my building and into the bike cupboard. It was definitely coming from my tyre and I pinned it down to the rear.

I took it out and moved the wheel round listening but then spotted this stuck in the tyre:

It was in sharp side down (naturally) and had cut right through the tyre, I prised it out and the remaining air in the tyre came with it, ho hum.

So tyre levers out, tyre off rim (came off easily, hurrah), spare tube out, multitool out, mini pump out. The tyre was cut right through so I used the knife on the multi tool to cut a section off the old tube to try to protect the new one a little. New tube in, tyre back on (managed to get it on with my thumbs only, hurrah again). Starts pumping air in. 15 minutes later no appreciable difference in the tyre and I remember why I hate mini pumps.

Someone offers me a lift home, which was very thoughtful but no idea who it was so declined. Someone else who I do know offers me use of the electric pump he has in his car but I have presta not schraeder valves so no go. He also offers me a lift home but it would be well out of his way so I decline, if I have to I'll ring Jez.

Another 10 minutes of pumping and I think there is a smidge of air in the tyre, I phone Jez. He's happy to come get me but does mention that if I've been at it that long then perhaps there is a problem with the pump - d'oh, why didn't I think of that.

Luckily there is one other bike in the cupboard with incidentally exactly the same mini pump as mine, I borrow it. I don't hold out much hope but its quite obvious after a few strokes that it is pushing air into the tyre. I get the tyre up to a fairly decent pressure (go me - mini pumps still suck though). I phone Jez back and suggest he meets me just outside Warton, it'll take me about as long to cycle there as it will take him to drive there.

I did think about cycling all the way home but: I have a pump that is useless, no spare tube and a cut rear tyre, not sensible. It was after 6pm (about an hour after I'd originally set off) when I finally left site, the temperature was dropping and it was frosting up. I cycled through the little park and just comprended as I approached it that the large puddle was actually starting to freeze, nothing I could do but ride over it and hear the ice crunch.

I got to Warton just as Jez did, perfect timing.

I have a feeling that piece of glass is part of the debris from the crash I had to cycle past the other week, my own fault for not checking my tyres. I used to do it religiously when I was commuting several times a week and I need to start doing it again, particularly on a bike I rely on as transport. I also need:

Another pump
Another tyre/tyres (Vredestein don't make the S-Licks anymore, boo)
Spare tubes
Some tyre boot material in the pannier
A headtorch when commuting (used to carry one all the time)
To start checking my tyres for debris, lubing my chain, generally looking after the Spesh.

I was very lucky it didn't happen on the pitch black section of the Marsh Road!

More expense! I almost pulled the trigger on a new Forerunner 305 today, I've been looking for it fairly systematically over the last few days but I still haven't found it. One more try tonight then I think I'm going to buy another one (no big deal if we end up with two, Jez keeps muttering about using it again as its technically his).


  1. Mini pumps are rubbish aren't they, I keep meaning to get a CO2 thing, this might just spur me into doing it, "P's" come in 3's!

  2. I have a frame pump for the roadie and that's pretty good but it won't fit in the Spesh frame. I have a few friends with the Mountain Morph pump and that is the business, think its going to be one of them. Not looked at CO2 stuff, will investigate.

  3. I have a mountain morph and it is fab! Since you are on panniers and have the room get one! I also have CO2 essential for road bikes, but I always carry it. I wouldn't use it all the time, enviroment and all that, but if its dark and I'm somewhere in the middle of nowhere the ease and speed it offers it essential! I have this one

  4. Ooh, more stuff! Think its going to be the Mountain Morph for the panniers and probably Schwalbe Marathon Race tyres for the bike but the CO2 thing looks useful as you say for those fast fixes.