I’ve been pretty lucky with punctures lately – none in the last few months – none since getting the Dahon. But tonight, the puncture devil was feeling particularly spiteful…
5:30 in Manchester, about 3 degrees outside and persistent rain. 1 mile into a fairly short 2.5 mile commute to Piccadilly, I felt the rear end of the bike go mushy, which on a Dahon, feels like you’ve just snapped your frame. By the time I’d pulled into the side of the road, in shall we say a none too genteel part of the city, the back tyre was completely flat. The rain was getting heavier and as I unpacked my tools and spare tube. The streetlighting was out so it was pretty dark, making it tricky to locate the offending article in the tyre. Plus everything was covered in black brake block juice and oil.
Of course it was the first time I’d had the rear wheel off the Dahon and it proved a bit of a faff, as the Neos derailleur didn’t behave like a normal mech, where you can spring back the top jockey wheel to ease wheel removal. You basically have to grasp the chain and yank it away from the cassette and axle as you’re removing the wheel. The only easy way to do it is by turning the bike over – a massive pet hate of mine.
Eventually got the rear tyre blown back up and the rear wheel replaced. By this time the throbbing pain in my fingers, due to the icy rain, had turned to numbness and I was pleased to get on my way. I must have run over something that had fell back out onto the road but the tyre was staying up… wait a minute… what’s that mushy feeling at the back of the bike?
Oh yes, there was still something in the tyre and it had killed my second (and last) tube. Still about a mile from the station, with the rain getting harder and my fingers feeling like I could snap them off, I decided to walk to the station and try to fix my two pierced tubes on the platform.
One of those nights when you seriously wonder why you bother, and it takes a lot to get me to that stage. Might get some slime for my tyres – in keeping with the low maintenence commuter role of the bike. Certainly don’t want a repeat performance of this evening in a hurry!