Victoria Hawkins' week: Tyred out

I'm feeling much more confident now that I've got my own pump and old-fashioned tin with puncture repair stuff in my bicycle basket. I regard them as my lucky biking talismans.

I'm feeling much more confident now that I've got my own pump and old-fashioned tin with puncture repair stuff in my bicycle basket. I regard them as my lucky biking talismans. Fortunately, when Mr H finally allowed me to peer into his red plastic box marked Bicycle Stuff in the shed the other night, there were just the ten archaic puncture repair kit tins to choose from. Most were too rusty to open, at least three must have been pre-war, and I don't know which war, and there were four different sized pumps and about ten bits that go between the pump and the nipple (technical term for the bobbly bit where you put the air in).

Only on the very first official bike ride outing back in the spring I had a puncture. That time, we were stuck outside the Eels Foot Inn after a rather good, boozy lunch and if dear Mr B (our official 'young' old fogey friend, one of our Famous Four Bike Riders) hadn't been around, with his patented bicycle clipped-in trews (he uses elastic bands actually, which is not a pretty sight but they work) and fluorescent waistcoat for safety, the new flat tyre along with its slightly sore-undercarriaged owner would have been in the proverbial mire. The tyre itself was, as they say, as flat a pancake.

That time from within Mr B's multi saddle-bagged panniers came forth goodies worthy of a Monty Python sketch, fortunately minus the Superman outfits. First out came the specs and on they went, then there was the drawing on of the thin surgeon-like latex gloves with a distinct flourish. Then out came the allen keys, tyre levers, a file, French chalk, glue, patches and all kinds of other bicycle paraphernalia and hey presto, five minutes later the Famous Four were back on their saddles and off up the road, throwing up the dirt behind them.

So when we were invited out for sups the other night about a mile along the river wall, we decided to mount the trusty Ridgebacks - his being graphite black, sexy and multiply geared; mine, a sensible blue colour with a deep wicker basket, three gears and a bell. Going there was easy peasy. Coming home, some four and a bit hours later in the dark with the tide now well up, was interesting. Mr H's dynamo powered front light was like an arc lamp but mine only gave out a puny beam and I couldn't remember how to change gear. Anyway, good news is we made it back. No punctures and me in second gear all the way.


You may also want to watch:


Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter