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Wed, 12 Nov 2008

Comedy of punctures - 12:24
After work yesterday I again headed out to ride to Goulburn with the plan to ride back early this morning. I was still feeling a bit rough and coughing, I don't think from a cold, I suspect more from just pushing myself pretty hard at the Gravity 12 Hour race, I tend to forget, although it does not feel that hard at the time, doing an enduro event in a team does take its toll on my body. So I felt I was riding a little bit slower than I wanted to, however I was on track to get out there in just under 3 hours. I had to get to a dinner celebration and was cutting it close time wise anyway.

As I passed Collector my saddle bag snapped off again, I stopped to put the bag in my camelback pack and noticed my front tyre had a slow leak and was almost flat. I stopped longer to pump it up again and got back to riding. Around 12 KM later I noticed the front was almost flat again, now I was only 20 KM from Goulburn, however due to the stops and likely needing to stop more for more pumping I was running late for dinner and decided to call and ask to be picked up at the Federal Hwy turn off toward Canberra as I could get there pretty quickly. That arranged and fine I rode on, 2 minutes later my rear tyre got a puncture and went flat instantly. I stopped, changed the tube, extracted the wire that caused the puncture, pumped up and rode on.

I arrived at the place I would be picked up and while waiting changed my front tube as well and started patching the tubes that were flat (I carry two tubes and a patch kit on my road bike). With one tube fixed and starting the second tube I was picked up, threw everything in the car and got to Goulburn. It was only when we got there I realised I had left my pump lying on the verge off the side of the highway. Eep, fortunately I had pumped up both my tyres and fixed one tube. I hoped I would be able to pick up the pump from the verge in the morning, not get a flat in the first 12 KM of riding and make it home.

Getting to sleep fairly late after the rather fun dinner went very late I decided I would have to leave later than planned as only five and a half hours sleep would not help me in riding home. I got on the bike riding back by 7:35am, planning to make it home by 10:30am and to work by 10:45am. When I got to where I left the pump, I did find it, however a truck or something had been a long way onto the verge over night and flattened and shattered the pump. Oh fantastic, well I did not have any flats last week so I could hope I would make it home without any more.

Luck was not with me, within 2 KM my rear tyre went completely flat with another puncture. I was able to make it to a rest area and started asking some people stopped there if it was possible to get a lift to Canberra. I was incredibly lucky that one man there in a ute on the way to a work site in Canberra offered me a ride home. I ended up arriving around 9am and actually got to work at a reasonable sort of time.

I have always known flats are a little more likely on the Federal Highway than other places due to the amount of small stuff coming off cars and trucks that are on the road much more than on smaller roads. This time all three flats were caused by small (1 to 2 cm lengths) bits of steel wire most likely from the steel belting in car and truck tyres. I also knew my back tyre was more vulnerable due to being close to worn out and in need of replacement. Last week I was lucky to do the ride with no flats.

I will replace the back tyre and I think try putting Kevlar belts inside my road tyres under the tread so small bits of wire or glass are less likely to be able to get to the tube and buy a new pump of course. I am in debt and thankful to the person who gave me a lift to Canberra this morning and lucky to have been able to get a lift in such a way. I hope positive Karma goes out to him in some way soon for this generous gesture to me.

Lets hope my next trip remains puncture free.

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