The sun was shining, the weather was warm ish, the bike was sparkling clean & I was all kitted up in my new bib tights and cycling top ready for a good 30ish km ride with my mate Steve.
Now where I live is mainly flat & where Steve lives is mainly hills so I’d done a reccy the night before trying to find a 30km loop with some variant in gradient & managed to sort something that gave me enough of a challenged but not pushing Steve too much as he usually does the hills twice waiting for me to catch up!
So off we went, cycling along, me barking directions at Steve from behind (in-between panting) as he casually pedals along in front. I’d managed 2 hills (or as Steve calls them ‘steady inclines’) and knew we’d be turning right into a fairly long steady downhill section. This was my fast moment. My ‘down on my areobars’ speed section. The wind through my helmet, I was flying……until thud! I panicked thinking my whole chainset had fallen off until Steve shouted ‘your back tyre!) Flat! Flat as a pancake! So quickly & safety pulled over to the side.
No I might sound like a typical girl but really I’m just starting to get to know the cycling basics so I didn’t have any inner tubes or tyre levers or bike pump. I had my mobile phone…..if I was out on my own I’d call my Dad or Frankie to pick me up! I didn’t know how to change a tyre so why have the tools for it!
Steve, my knight in shiny Cycle shorts saved the day lending me one of his spare inner tubes & fixed the tyre. Off to ride another day! Only from then on my whole ride consisted of avoiding every stone & crack in the road that I could!
Coincidentally, me and Frankie had booked ourselves on a free TFGM basic bike maintenance course at the Urban Cycle Centre at Philips Park, Prestwich that very night. The course can be booked online & ours happened to be a women only course. They offer intermediate courses too. There were 5 of us on our course which lasted about 2hrs. The guy showed us the basic M check, how to lubricate the chain & most useful of all, how to change a flat tyre (and we got a free puncture repair kit).
When I went home I ordered some Schwalbe road inner tubes, some Park Tool tyre levers (both recommended brands by the guy who ran the course) & a track pump with gauge so I knew the PSI of the tyre when I was inflating it (all knew knowledge!) Once they arrived it was time to put my new bike knowledge to the test. After 4 attempts, 1 popped new inner tube, red hurt hands & a lot of huffing puffing & help from Frankie, we eventually got the new inner tube in & pumped to the right level. Took the bike out a few days later & the tyre seems pretty good to me. Now Frankie has tannus tyres on her bike so she doesn’t have this issue but I think solid tyres/tubeless/inner tubes is a debate for another time!
Now I have all my repair kit in a saddle bag just hoping I won’t ever get a puncture again!