I’m floating on air

I know I’m tempting fate but I am really amazed by how few punctures I have these days. I’ve been keeping count and in the past 12 months I have only had to change one inner tube, which is a record for me.

OK, I’m not in any danger of breaking any mileage records but in a year that’s got to be more than 50 rides, none less than an hour.

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You can relax, this isn’t the slow build-up to plug a particular tyre; my modest annual mileage was achieved on four different brands so by my reckoning the majority of modern clinchers are all pretty good.

All those years ago when I first started riding you needed tubulars if you wanted to race or just to ride fast. For those, unlike me, with loads of money, it was fine. The more you spent on your tubs, the less likely you were to puncture. And to add to the expense, the idea was to keep a stock of these things in a darkened cellar to mature.

My only spares were strapped under the saddle and as I rode the cheapest tyres available – nicknamed ‘wobblers’ – I remember one particularly bad week when three flats not only bankrupted me but also saw me banished to the garage to spend my evenings busy with the tub cement.

Robert Garbutt is editor of Cycling Weekly