Once more I was victim to the sound of air escaping from one of my tyres. Well, I was not actually there to hear it, but when I got to the bike locker at work at around ten past five yesterday afternoon, the first thing I saw was the rear rim squarely on the ground. Bugger!
I toyed with the idea of simply pumping the tyre and riding for as far as I could get, getting off, pumping again, then continuing, but really all I would be doing is delaying the inevitable. So I knuckled down and set about changing the tube.
I had some company on and off as colleagues that I have never seen before came trooping through the garage to collect their bikes and head for home. Most of them ignored me completely. I suppose the sight of someone struggling with their rear wheel is an everyday occurrence that deserves no attention. Silly me to think that asking if I needed help was simply a common courtesy.
There was one bloke who sparked up a conversation. “Do yu ‘ave a spare toob?” he asked with a very thick French accent. I replied in French, thinking I was doing him a favour, that I had a tube, but thank you very much for asking. He replied, once again in English, that he had had several punctures this season and so knew the frustration I was feeling upon discovering this at the end of a long work day. The conversation continued in this vein, him speaking in very broken English and me replying in near perfect French, for about five minutes. He then decided that he had to get home and left me to complete the task of squeezing the tube into the tyre and tim without ripping a new hole in it.
By five twenty I was on my way at last. Annoyed at having to change the tube, but nonetheless quite pleased that with the practice I have been getting my time has come down considerably. I did notice when tightening the wheel nuts that using an adjustable spanner vastly reduces the life span of said nuts by burring over the edges. So, note to self, when I go to the hardware store pick up a real spanner the right size for the nut and also perhaps a couple of new nuts, you know, just in case.