Counting your Blessings Before they Hatch

So I was cycling back from the papershop this morning, just thinking that really I ought to take more time to be grateful for things: it was a mild day, we’d had a glorious weekend, and here I was living in an area with roads so quiet that they are admired by people right across the internet when badumm … badumm… badum… I was alerted to the fact that not all was well with my back wheel. It was, in fact, flat. And not just gone-a-bit-soft flat, but making-horrible-noises flat in a way that suggested I wasn’t going to be riding on it anywhere without damaging the wheel until I’d at least managed to get some air in the tyre. With the pump I had not brought. Which was sitting at home alongside the mobile phone which I had also not brought. Because I was after all, only popping out for a paper, along our lovely quiet – nay, deserted – country roads. All five miles of them.


My route back from the papershop goes through two farm yards and past several cottages, all of which managed to appear completely deserted. At the farm where I had been rescued before, not a soul stirred – and besides, turning up twice in the same farm with a flat tyre looked more than a little incompetent. I might have asked for help if someone had been around, but there was no way I’d go knocking on anyone’s door. At the next farm, the only thing moving was a cat and while cats can ride bicycles, they’re not much cop at fixing flats. The trudge of shame continued, made only less marginally shameful by the fact that there was nobody to witness it but some sheep all of which stopped eating to watch me go by identical expressions on their faces: ‘seriously, woman, not even a pump? Not even your mobile? What kind of a cyclist do you call yourself?’

So there’s a lesson there, I suppose, apart from the obvious one about the difference between puncture-resistant and puncture-proof tyres: from certain angles, it’s very hard to tell the difference between counting your blessings, and tempting fate. Especially when it comes to that most vengeful of all furies, the puncture fairy.

And now I’ve got to find out just how hard it is to get a Schwalbe Marathon Plus on and off my wheel…


12 Responses to Counting your Blessings Before they Hatch

  1. Paul says:

    At least the puncture fairy is not in league with the weather gods.

  2. disgruntled says:

    don’t give them ideas…

  3. misspiggy says:

    …’from certain angles, it’s very hard to tell the difference between counting your blessings, and tempting fate.’ This is what I wish to have embroidered on a cushion.

  4. Bob says:

    Been a long time since I’ve had a flat. *knocks on wood*.
    Once upon a time, as a naive youth, I miscalculated just precisely how much air a bicycle tire (OK, “tyre” is if makes you happy) could really hold.
    I was feeling rather smug after having sorted out that whole pumping up from the service station procedure when, not very far into my journey home, my rear wheel let off an ungawdly BANG. Seems old bike tires don’t take kindly to being overinflated.
    A pump wouldn’t have helped, even if I had had one. Mobile phones hadn’t been invented.
    It was only a mile or so back home, trudging next to a lame bike.

  5. commuterjohn says:

    Not that difficult to get off but some are hard to get back on, first timers are well advised to have two cable ties handy so when you nearly get your tyre on put a tie either side of it to prevent it running around the rim.
    Thorns through the side wall of a tyre at this time of year are the usual culprit for a flat.
    There is not a lot to say about not taking a pump or phone is there………..

  6. disgruntled says:

    @Misspiggy – I’ll take two please…
    @Bob – now you’re tempting fate.
    @john – I know. I carried a pump around for ages after the last batch of flats and then got a bit complacent

  7. welshcyclist says:

    5 miles on a bike is nothing, but 5 miles pushing a bike with a flat tyre is no joke. Get the pump attached to the bike! That’s the best advice I can give, and good luck fixing the puncture.

  8. Richard Masoner says:

    If you don’t mind trashing the tires, your rims can probably survive 5 miles of riding on a flat tire as long as you take it easy and completely avoid any kind of bump.

    Supposedly, you can also stuff dry grass into your tires. The one time I attempted that, though, I couldn’t mount the tire on the rim.

  9. disgruntled says:

    Cheers – good to know, although our roads are so potholed that avoiding bumps would be a challenge. Also ‘dry’ grass? does not compute after the weather we’ve had!

  10. John Gibson says:

    When I was young, I noticed that I had picked up a drawing pin in the front tyre. I rode around for many months without any deflation.
    Then one day I came out of school and there were some other boys around the bike sheds, and I saw that the tyre had finely gone down, and the drawing pin was gone. I told the other boys how long I had cycled with the pin in the tyre and that I would now have to mend it, when one of the boys told me he had taken the pin out, thinking that it would some how help me.
    Ps Very nice video by the way.

  11. disgruntled says:

    it’s too cute, isn’t it?

  12. […] OK, so when you buy Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres (because the whole internet tells you to) you know that their only downside is getting them on and off the bike – but that’s OK because they’re Schwalbe Marathon Pluses and (as the whole internet knows) you don’t need to ever take them off the bike because they don’t puncture. Until suddenly they do… […]

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