Virtue (sort of) Rewarded

Are you bored of puncture stories yet? I know I am. But bear with me, for hopefully we’re almost done.

Having been persuaded yesterday of the virtues of Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres, I had seriously considered ordering a replacement one online, but in the end I decided that a slight markup on bike parts (about a fiver, all told) is a small price to pay to ensure that there’s a decent bike shop around when you need one. And besides, it was a glorious day for a jaunt into town on the bike. We’re fortunate that Bigtown is actually quite well served by bike shops. There’s a H**fords, a Raleigh shop, a mainly mountain-bike emporium and the one I go to, a wonderful old tucked-away shop named after (or perhaps founded by) Kirkpatrick Macmillan, inventor of the bicycle and the world’s first scofflaw pavement cyclist. This shop used to have a tiny handwritten sign in the window announcing it was for sale and I always used to worry that one day I would find it closed down for good (it was temporarily shut for much of the week as it was) before I’d had a chance to really get much benefit from it. But it’s been taken over by the same lad who’s been selling secondhand bikes from his parents’ farm and he seems to be making a go of it. And besides, not only did he have a tyre in stock and was able to work out the size needed (not a given, when you’re me), but he fitted it for me too, along with a brand new inner tube. And threw in some spare patches for my puncture repair kit so I wouldn’t have to buy a whole new one.

I was hoping that a new tyre, plus spare inner tube, plus extra patches, would be sufficient to appease the bike gods, but no. No sooner had I paid and thanked him, and wheeled my bike out of the shop, than I got that sinking feeling and looked down at my front tyre, the one I hadn’t had replaced…


…and I realised I should have been more cautious around that hedge-cutting tractor on the way in. Still, there are worse places to get a puncture, and I even got it repaired for free. And surely, surely, surely five punctures is enough for the season now? Or do I have to make some sort of sacrifice to the bicycle gods to ensure a trouble-free ride?


15 Responses to Virtue (sort of) Rewarded

  1. martinsj2 says:

    It can get worse. I had NINE punctures between June and August of this year. I had similar frustrations and eventually settled on a pair of Armadillos. They flatted the first day I rode on them. To be fair, it was on a rocky dirt road, but they should have been able to handle it. They’ve done fine since that rough start. Good luck!

  2. Andy in Germany says:

    Er… it’s probably too late to say this, but perhaps putting the Marathon tyre on the front would help. From experience that’s the one more prone to punctures. I even managed to puncture the front tyre on the Bakfiets, and I was assured in Amsterdam that this never happened…

    @martinsj2 Nine? Ow. I used to have lots in the UK during hedge trimming season, (One a day while communing)

    • martinsj2 says:

      Yes and interestingly, eight of them were on the back wheel. One was due to the beginner mistake of not keeping the tire properly inflated. The rest were either God’s will or the inferiority of the Specialized Burough tires.

    • welshcyclist says:

      Do you think the front tyre is more prone to puncture than the rear? My experience is the exact opposite, I think it’s a case of “digruntled’s” bike gods keeping us all guessing.

      • disgruntled says:

        My back tyre is far more worn, which may have an impact…

      • Andy in Germany says:

        Perhaps I create in a sort of quantum front-tire puncturing anomaly.

        Mind you, I’m not complaining as the front is far easier to remove than the back, especially on the Xtracycle…

  3. Anonymous says:

    Good for you bike shop, and well done for supporting them.

    Read this and weep – (link removed)

  4. disgruntled says:

    Andy – Up till today it was 3 on the back (including a pinch flat) and one on the front, and it was the back one that was most worn so, like the adopted Scot I am becoming, I decided to get a few more miles out of the front one… I may come to regret this
    Anon – that’s kind of a spammy pseudo blog you’ve linked to, so I’ve edited out the link, but for those who were curious, it’s basically saying go to your bike shop and try out bikes then buy them cheaper online. Charming

  5. WOL says:

    You raise an interesting question. I know that the occasional sacrifice of half a pair of socks appeases the laundry gods, but what sort of sacrifice would propitiate the bicycle gods? Would a burnt offering of back numbers of bicycle magazines do it? Or perhaps you’re going at this from the wrong end. Maybe its the hedge gods who are expressing their displeasure by sowing BBT’s in your path. Where’s an augur when you need one!

  6. Dom says:

    It’s an interesting, but little known fact, that the plants these Bastard Big Thorns come from have evolved the thorns, and their uncanny ability to find rubber pneumatic tyres, as a defence mechanism against the tractors sent to trim them on a yearly basis. The sad side effect is, of course, many of these thorns finding the much weaker and easy to puncture bicycle tire. On the plus side at least they went down the thorn route and not the triffid route.

  7. disgruntled says:

    Dom – on the plus side, budget cuts do at least mean less hedge-cutting round here. Which may mean that pretty soon our roads will only be wide enough for bicycle traffic (well, I can dream)
    WOL- it might be the hedge gods. I did cut back a couple of hedges fairly drastically earlier this year … little did I think what force I was unleashing

  8. welshcyclist says:

    When I first started cycling about 5-6 years ago I had a horrendous time with punctures, a combination of cheap tyres, wrong tyre pressures, and not studying the road ahead.

  9. WOL says:

    Perhaps if you libated the hedge in question with a bottle of stout, or some other suitable beverage?

  10. […] another. Evidently, L.A. isn’t the only city where the roads are falling apart. Sometimes, a sacrifice to the biking gods may be in order. Ivan Basso wants his first bike back. Italian police raid the home of Lance […]

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