Thorn in my Side

In the last week or so, autumn hasn’t just arrived, it’s taken its boots off and got itself comfortable, ready to stay awhile. This morning I was treated to a display of mist, first clearing and then reassembling to wipe out the valley below, before the sun finally burned through, and the wind has an edge to it didn’t have even a couple of days ago. The swallows are assembling for the off, the leaves are gradually turning, the nights are drawing in, and farmers everywhere have woken up and thought ‘today looks like an excellent day to go hedgecutting.’

For cyclists, this means only one thing: bastard big thorns. Indeed, on Saturday, as we were preparing to meet the others for my anniversaire, Back on my Bike discovered that she had fallen victim to the hedge trimmings scattering the road outside town. As she efficiently sorted that out, I had a quick look at my own bike and discovered I too had picked up a thorn, which was thoroughly embedded in my front tyre.

This leaves me with something of a dilemma. On the one hand, a thorn in a tyre is bad news and tends to be detrimental to its airtightness. On the other hand, taking off a newish Marathon Plus just as a precaution seems to miss the point of having puncture resistant tyres as they’re a giant pain in the neck to get on and off, and I’ve now ridden at least 80 miles in the tyre-plus-thorn combo with no apparent loss of air pressure. Back on the original hand, however, simply ignoring what is likely to be an imminent puncture seems likely to come back and haunt me, probably at the furthest point from civilisation, well out of mobile signal range, and on a day when the wind is blowing the rain sideways in all directions, and I’ll have nobody to blame but myself.

So far I’ve done the obvious thing, which is to ignore it and hope it goes away while offering up obeisance to the P****** Fairy to turn aside her wrath (this may have worked too well, as it was someone else who got the second puncture during Saturday’s festivities). I suppose I could at least put my pump back in my bag and purchase a spare inner tube, for when the inevitable comes. Because now that hedgecutting season is in full swing, a flat is really only a matter of time, whatever the current thorn in my tyre decides to do.

6 Responses to Thorn in my Side

  1. Thorns….. try Sliming your tyres, well your inner tubes – you can either buy inner tubes with it already in…or pump it in yourself. We swear by it in Shropshire (rather than swearing at the thorns). I just wish our farmers would hedge cut in late September…round here they like to do it in peak summer cycling season

    • disgruntled says:

      Ah, the one time I tried slime it didn’t work (at least for massive blackthorns).

      They’re not supposed to cut the hedges until the birds have stopped nesting, so after July at least

  2. Charles says:

    I admire the cyclist who does not take a pump with them, shows superb optimism.

    At the risk of sounding very old you used to be able to get solid inner tubes made or rubber that went inside your tyres. They were very effective against the thorns of Africa, which as I am sure you know, look like natural caltrops and always land with one point upwards. The ride is not as good, but you can always ride and you no longer have to carry a pump. Looking at para 1 I can see this advantage does not apply to you….

  3. […] And amazingly, for pretty much the first time in my life, this is exactly what I did (well, to be strictly honest, I’d already done one round of pump-up-the-tyre-and-hope-it-gets-you-home): after fending off several offers of help last night after a meeting of the Bigtown Cycle Campaign because it was a bit nippy and I wanted to get home, this afternoon I duly took off the front tyre (with much swearing and ominous bending of tyre levers) and investigated the embedded thorn. […]

  4. […] or not, some things haven’t changed however – a year ago I was busy ignoring a slow puncture and we came back on Sunday to find my own bike has a slow puncture in its back tyre that I’m […]

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