Yesterday was the occasion of my first bike ride for 9 days, probably the longest I have been off the bike for about three years! The break was caused by my being involved in a house painting ‘frenzy’, doing the dining room, stairs and landing. I had originally planned to have a couple of days painting then a break for a bike ride but once I got started it seemed to make more sense to carry on rather than keep taking breaks. I could then start to ride properly and in a more relaxed frame of mind earlier than if I had kept stopping and starting. At the outset I hadnt relished the thought of over a week of painting with no breaks but it soon went. Another contributing factor was the weather, it not being so good. It was bad enough not give me too many regrets for not riding anyway.
So yesterday dawned a nice bright sunny but cold day with not too much wind, perfect for a ride so my decision was justified.
I set off on my 5 hills and 50 miles ride to get a good workout. I need to be sure to be in pretty good shape by the weekend as I am leading the Team MK ride for the second time. Once I got going and my legs turning it was fine. The only setback was a puncture after hill three and before hill four. I managed to mend the puncture as there was a convenient puddle by the side of the road, left after the recent rain, to assist in puncture location.
After that I decided to head for home in what I thought was more direct route in case I got another puncture. I am always wary after mending a puncture If I dont find the cause, either a thorn, nail or piece of glass in the tyre casing. However I couldn’t see anything so I just hoped it would stay up.
I took a route avoiding hill five up to Astwood after having climbed hill four up into Cranfield. Surprisingly the short cut only saved me about 2 miles so I might just as well have carried on.
After a closer inspection of the tyre today I still couldn’t see any cause of the puncture so maybe it was just a piece of grit that penetrated the tyre and then got forced out again. After the recent rains maybe something got washed into the road, as often happens. As I would be riding nearer to the road side than cars usually drive the road doesnt get cleared of roadside debris so quickly by vehicle wheels. I know when I was younger and riding around the Chiltern Hills it was a very common problem as the local stone was flint and if you got a bit of flint grit in your tyre it would cut straight into it. They didnt use flint for making knives back in the Stone Age for nothing !
At the end of the summer in 2010 I rode a Sportive in the Chiltern’s the day after a rain storm and I recall passing many guys mending punctures on that day. So many that I lost count but I knew what the problem was.
I am hoping to go on Team MK ride tomorrow (Wednesday) for more miles but at the moment in the fading light of a late winters afternoon it’s not looking to promising. It was raining but now I see flecks of snow in the rain so maybe it was just as well I got the ride in yesterday.