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16 November, 2005

Think I got away with it, pt.1

Yesterday afternoon was sunny and I had the office to myself (my boss is on leave, and J. had rung in 'ill' (hung over)), so on the spur of the moment, I left early and went for a bike ride.  Each time I do that (go for fairly long impromptu rides, I mean, not leave the office early), I'm mildly concerned about not carrying a bike pump or puncture kit, just in case something happens.
Well, it did.  Twenty-seven miles (43 km) into a 46-mile ride, at the highest point of the Bentham-Slaidburn pass, I suddenly had a totally flat rear tyre*.

Nineteen miles (31 km) from home. I couldn't realistically walk; at 3½-4 mph it'd take about five hours. The alternative was to ride on, the flat tyre hopefully cushioning the wheel rim itself. That way, I could sustain a steady 10-12 mph – 3-4 times walking pace – whilst acknowledging that I'd probably do terminal damage to the tyre and maybe the wheel.

I'm not entirely proud to say that's what I did. It wasn't a pleasant ride, especially in traffic after dark, and I was continuously, if mildly, concerned that the tyre might rip and slide off at any moment. The base of the tyre valve seemed to project beyond the rim, so every rotation of the wheel jarred; I'm still in a bit of pain ~18 hours later.

Here's the miraculous bit: both the tyre and wheel survived perfectly, without even any marks. I wouldn't exactly recommend it, but if this posting has a point, it's to say that it is possible to ride a long distance on a flat tyre.

The moment I discovered the problem was doubly unlucky: my camera's primary memory card failed, so I only had one image to show.
I'm hoping that just one image on the main card is corrupted, and that if I find a different reader which doesn't insist on trying to access that image (as the camera does), I might be able to retrieve the rest. We'll see. Or not.

[Update 17/11/05: Managed it. I managed to copy the entire contents of the card, directory structure and all, to my hard disk, and have the images. The card itself seems dead, though: still unreadable, and even if I find out how to reformat it, I'm not sure I'd trust it again.]

*: I was going to say that was my third puncture in a week, but it was actually the same puncture, and the repair failed twice. I've now thrown that inner tube away. Plainly latex cement goes off, and becomes inadequate for sealing patches to tubes at 65 psi.

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