I don’t think this blog will be updated that often; I suppose it’s a bit like keeping a diary. Some people religiously make daily entries, I write when I feel like it!
Having successfully (and actually unintentionally) converted a friend into becoming a biker, and sympathising over the time he got a puncture, it was finally my turn. (Actually I say sympathising. He tells a different story. You can read all about it here.)
Pootling along the M4 on my way home on a Friday evening (it was dark), I was just passing Junction 4 when I suddenly felt the steering go a bit odd. Almost like the handlebars were loose. Slowed down, moved into lane 1. Tugged left and right, up and down on the handlebars. Nope. All solid there.
Hmm, puncture? Can’t be the front tyre. Weaved gently left and right. The Pan seemed a bit sluggish. Rear tyre? Can’t be that. Last time I had a rear puncture I had to keep changing down and giving loads of power in order to keep moving. Oh wait, that was on the Yamaha. Better stop then. Damn, no hard shoulder anywhere. Keep going for a bit.
A mile or so later…
Ah, a hard shoulder. Fairly wide, let’s stop here and have a look. Stop bike. Side stand down.
Climb off. Forget to unplug headphones, gloves and airline. Helmet tugged back to the bike whilst body walking to the rear.
Return to centre of bike. Unplug headphones. Unplug gloves. Can’t get airline out.
Take gloves off. Disconnect wiring from gloves. Remove airline.
Right. Check front tyre. Nope, all fine there. Can’t be the back one though.
Oh yes it can. Damn, completely flat. Let’s feel it to see if there’s a nail. Oh wait, better put the bike on its centre stand first. Back to centre of bike. Lower centre stand.
The bike is suddenly very heavy.
Remove torch from rear pannier, switch on and lay on road surface next to bike pointing rearwards. At least oncoming traffic will now see the bright LED’s and notice me.
Back to the rear wheel. Feel surface.
Burn hand on very hot tyre. It’s completely flat.
Carefully feel the tyre surface all over for the nail. No nail. Maybe it’s the valve.
Open rear pannier and get tyre pump. Unscrew dust cap, fit pump. Jump up and down on pump.
Ninety eight, ninety nine, damn my leg’s aching, One hundred. Check pressure. Up to 30 psi. Must have been the valve then.
Disconnect pump. Get torch from road surface, shine on tyre surface whilst rotating wheel. Ah. Not a nail. A shard of glass from someone’s headlight. Or maybe that should read ex-headlight. “Your headlight is deceased. It is no more. It is an ex-headlight”. Open other pannier. Remove toolkit, take out pliers. Remove shard. Pssssssssssss.
Open front glove compartment and remove tyre repair kit.
Call my wife. “I may be a bit late, dear.”
(Shouting) “I said I may be a bit late, I’ve got a puncture.”
Stick finger in other ear. It seems to help. Make myself understood over the traffic noise.
Return to rear wheel. A friendly white van driver pulls up in front of me. “Need a hand mate?” Considered falling flat on my back from surprise but discarded this idea. Nevertheless grateful, I thank him but tell him I’m ok. He drives off. Whoever you were, thanks very much for stopping.
Plug the tyre. Forget how to remove the tool properly. The plug disappears through the hole. Bugger.
Insert another plug, this time correctly. Once again jump up and down on pump.
Ninety eight, ninety nine, damn my leg’s aching, one hundred. Check pressure. Ooh, 30 psi. Check patch. Seems ok. Jump up and down on pump again. 40 psi. Disconnect pump. No hiss. Excellent.
Pack up tools and close panniers.
Put on helmet and gloves.
Take bike off centre stand. Damn, forgot the torch.
Put bike on side stand. Collect torch. Can’t be bothered to put it back in the pannier. Drop it into my pocket. Ride off carefully.
Junction 6. Where was Junction 5? Never even saw it from concentrating too hard. Sod it, let’s relax a bit and stick some Jethro Tull on the stereo. “Aqualung my friend, don’t you start away uneasy. You poor old sod, you see, it’s only me.” (Plays air guitar in imagination).
Junction 7 approaching. Better check although everything still feels ok. Pull over on the hard shoulder, check rear tyre. Still air in that thar rubber. Ride off carefully again.
Junction 10… Still feels ok.
Junction 11… Uh-oh. Bike feels “squirmy” again. Get to top of exit ramp traffic light (red). Lean over and check. Yep, tyre flat again. Sod it. Light turns green. In gear, pull away gently. Only a mile to go now. At 10 mph I carefully traversed some of the back roads, stopping once in a while. Nope, tyre hasn’t burst into flames yet.
Finally pulled in to driveway. Of course maneuvering a 300+ kg bike with a flat tyre is a no-no. Had to get my wife to help me push it in to the garage.
The plug seemed to have completely disappeared. Removed the rear wheel and will be off to the local bike tyre place tomorrow for a replacement. I expect if they have a tyre in this size it will probably be Bridgestone. Still, this Avon has 18052 miles on it so shouldn’t really complain.
Hey ho. Such is life.