Friday Nov 02, 2007

Brompton psssssss

I had my first puncture on the Brompton last week. Riding back from Kingston, just what a great idea that is, drive in with Sue and my daughter who plan to go shopping, something I can't stand but I'm required for the first half hour. So do my bit of looking at things (alas no success the only one that was acceptable was out of budget, way out of budget) I go back to the car get the Brompton and cycle home. Leaving them to shop, best for everyone.

Anyway I digress. On the way back, fortunately really near home, I hear I click, click, click from the front wheel and stop to see I have a drawing pin stuck in it. Two options. Leave the pin in and you may get home, but may destroy the tyre, take it out and you are less likely to get home but the tyre should be ok. I went with option two and raced home fast enough to be home before it was a problem.

Then since I've not really fixed punctures for years, new tubes are cheap and the number of punctures I get small so I just replace them. I went straight on to the web and ordered a pair of tubes (the folly of this is well known to other cyclists. 2 tubes £4.501 each, post+packing £2.00 but free for orders over £50, well I do need some lights for the kids bikes (that is actually true) and I new bag to go on my winter bike (for some definition of need also true) suffice to say I did not pay postage and packing and still kept the bill in two digits, just).

A few days later they arrive and in the evening I fit the new tube. First the Brompton does not have quick release wheels. I'm struggling to recall the last bike I owned, not that I own the Brompton, that did not have QR, but the Brompton does not. No problem there but then there are lots of fiddly washers and bits attached to the axle to loose. Then replacing the wheel there is no QR on the brake so you must no pump up the tyre before fitting the wheel. It was like being back in the '70s, something I always try to avoid, when I mucked around with old bikes.

I certainly would not want all that hassle at the side of the road.

So my plan for any future puncture is to simply fold the bike and call a cab.

1I suspect that they are so expensive as they are low volume products. That is not many are sold as opposed to them not holding much air, which is also true.

Friday Nov 17, 2006

Terrible journey home

Two hours forty five minutes to get home. A new low. The rain was terrible but having a puncture before I could even get on the bike was worse. Since I could not find the thing that caused the puncture I put on the spare I carry. That got me only 2 miles before the tire popped off the rim. I was able to stop before the tube punctured so I put the original tyre back and hoped for the best.

Less than a mile further that tyre apparently came off as well this time puncturing the tube. On my last tube now and still 18 miles to go. I was very careful about fitting the tyre to be sure the tyre was properly mounted. From here things started to look up and I was making progress and things were looking good. About half a mile from Ottershaw the tyre let go with a pop. 7 miles from home and now walking. Walked to Ottershaw and hid in the bus shelter and decided to put the original tube back on in the hope it would get me home. The tyre's steel bead had come off for about 10 cm which explained everything....

The original punctured tube only had a slow puncture so I pumped it has hard as I dared without risking the another blow out, resolving to get the train in Addlestone if required and putting more air in the tyre when needed.

Got home on this tube, cold and wet. Ordered new tyres and tubes on-line for next week.

Update 19/11/2006: I was not in the best of mind when I wrote this and forgot the key point. That was this: "Don't ever throw away a punctured tube until you get home!". Had I done so with the first tube I would have been walking all the way home or trying to hop on various trains to get there.



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