Our CW5000 blogger Peter White reacquaints himself with the art of road-side puncture repairs.
When I raced as a Junior I remember going through a phase of having a run of punctures, race after race. I was riding on tubular tyres so I got quite good at using a needle and thread with all the repairs I was having to do. I don’t ever recall having a puncture on a training ride, just whilst racing.
I had my first ‘on the road’ puncture recently due to hitting a large pothole. Whilst changing the inner tube on a grass verge in rush hour on a busy road just outside Brighton, I managed to cut my knuckles somehow and had blood literally pouring from my hand.
I inflated the tyre and then thought I could see something still stuck in the tread. I had run my fingers around the inside to check but guessed I had missed something. So the tyre came off again for another check but nothing was there.
It was just caused by the damage from the impact of hitting the pothole. After putting the tyre back on I realised I had no way of inflating it as I had used the CO2 canister. Luckily I was sat opposite a Halfords so I wheeled my bike into the store with blood still dripping from my hand, to ask to borrow a pump.
They couldn’t have been more helpful and thought I had been in an accident. They took me out the back of the store to the staff rest room, let me clean myself up and handed me a first aid box to dress my wounds.
I don’t recall the roads being in such bad shape when I used to ride in the 80’s. I am constantly looking 20 feet in front of me when riding, looking out for any holes. It puts me off going out at certain times of the day as having to swerve a hole in the road at the last minute it can be really hazardous when the roads are busy.
I know where most of the bad ones are now on my regular routes but still have to be on my toes. We even managed to write off our car a couple of years ago after hitting a pothole at 30mph. I sometimes shudder to think what could happen If I hit one of these holes at speed on my bike.
Aside from the threat from potholes, the past few weeks of riding has been great with the change in the weather. The extra hours of daylight now the clocks have changed means I can get extra miles in at the end of the day. Being self-employed and running my own business means I’ve had to work pretty much all through the lockdowns so I’ve not had the luxury to ride whenever I wanted.
I had my best week recently, clocking up just over 200 miles and completing this month’s challenge. I should reach 2000 miles for the year by the end of the month.
I can really start to feel the difference in my fitness levels now, and think I will be competing in my first time trial in 35 years at the beginning of May. The last time I remember recording for a 10 mile time trial was 23 minutes. I’ll be happy with 28 or less right now as I’m turning 52 years old this weekend.