A hole-y trinity

Yesterday after I’d ridden to town and back I had a bit of an explore of the canal path travelling south towards the Haywoods. It was a little smoother than the section I rode a week or two ago, but still rather rutted and muddy, and covered in any number of twigs. The problem with riding such tricky paths is you’re so busy trying to keep the bike straight and upright you’ve got no time left to admire the view.

And the view is lovely. I stopped at a bridge to attend to nature and noticed the railway was nearby, so I lit up a cigarette and waited for a train to come past.  

I got going again and having negotiated a couple of dog walkers came upon a father and son who were pushing a pair of mountain bikes. “First time on his new bike and he’s got a puncture” said the father. Better get used to it kid! I would have offered to help but I don’t carry a pump fitting for Schraeder valves and could see they didn’t have a pump of their own. Anyway, they seemed quite content walking. 

I pressed on until I got to a bridge that was particularly interesting, designed to allow the horses towing the canal boats in the old days to swap sides:

  
I saw a couple of cyclists heading towards me so waited for a bit, and got a photo as a train came past. If only it could have been the recently refurbished Flying Scotsman, sadly it was just another Virgin pendolino.

  
So you see you really can get very close to the railway line here. It’s the west coast main line from Liverpool to London Euston. Worth knowing for future steam train spotting…

The two cyclists came past, riding bikes that were obviously much better designed for the trail than my three-speed, full suspension mountain bikes made by some big brand I can’t recall, Cannondale quite possibly. The took a moment at the top of the bridge before heading off, and since I’d had enough for the day I headed back behind them. Before too long I caught them up, by the side of the trail obviously attending to some mechanical mishap. “Got everything you need?” I asked, but they said they were OK, just a puncture. Another puncture, hmmm…

Well I rode back, passing the lad and his dad, and reflected that for once I wasn’t the one having to bugger about with a puncture. I spoke too soon. As I came off the canal path and was about to head for the Co-op in Baswich I spotted something stuck to the tread of my front tyre, stopped to pull it off and was horrified to reveal a thorn stuck in the tyre. As you can imagine a certain degree of swearing ensued. It wasn’t a sudden loss of pressure so I headed home by the shortest route, and got back ok with the tyre still holding.

As it turns out, the bit I pulled out probably didn’t cause a puncture, but the other thorn I pulled out of the tyre when I got home quite definitely did! Off with the tube, on with a patch, it really is quite tedious when it’s your fifth puncture of the year. I’m averaging one every 40 miles so far. 

Still, with a little ride today I’ll be past 200 miles for the year, and despite my week off ill I’m back in credit on the schedule.

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