So, in yesterday’s catalogue of winter cycling woes, I omitted the fact that it is still hedgecutting (and hence puncture) season. This was something of an oversight as I had sat at my desk for most of the afternoon and watched the neighbouring farmer in his tractor giving the hedge along our road a thorough short back and sides. Unfortunately, I had then completely forgotten this until the other half reminded me of it just as I was heading out on the Brompton, and wished me luck.
By that point, it was fully dark but I could see in my front light that there was a fair amount of hedgecutting debris scattered across the road. But there was nothing for it but to head off anyway and hope that I’d be fine. Yeah, I don’t know why I thought that might work either. I got as far as the river before the thumpety thump of a flat tyre had made itself unignorable and with it being the back wheel – the unholy trinity of a Marathon Plus, a tiny wheel, and a hub gear – there was nothing for it but to ring for help and a lift into town – and get the Brompton dropped off at the bike shop for a new inner tube (and no, I’m not going to fit it myself or even pretend I might want to learn how).
This morning revealed the scale of the problem, with the road completely carpeted with bastard big thorns. I do have some sympathy for the local farmers who seem to have every bit of mechanised kit they need *except* anything that might sweep up their hedgecutting debris; the last time I had a moan, they ended up sweeping the road by hand. But I do need to be able to get around reliably and I know from bitter experience that even Marathon Plus tyres are not proof against hedge cuttings. The answer is probably to just stop flailing the hedges and lay them instead (which has many other benefits, not least for wildlife) but I can’t see that happening any time soon.
So, there was nothing for it but to take matters into my own hands.
Fortunately it was a sunny, if extremely cold, morning, so I swept myself a somewhat safer passage down as far as the farmyard (it seemed a bit too pointed to keep going right through their yard; maybe next year).