“It was at this moment that he knew…”

Linford Christie was once the Olympic 100m winner for Great Britain, and prided himself on his quick starts. He used to say that he wanted to go “on the B of the Bang”. The quote even inspired a sculpture for the Commonwealth Games in Manchester.

Well tonight I was riding in to town for coffee with my fiancée when I heard a sound like an air rifle going off, or a car backfire. It was at this moment – right at the B of the bang – that I knew I’d fucked up.

Having not ridden Crichton for a week I though the tyres might need a top up before I set off, and looked for the recommended pressures. Max 85 psi, min 65 psi. It turns out I have forgotten how to read numbers. It actually reads min 35 max 65. As is inevitable in these situations, the tyre blew precisely half way between my house and my destination. 

I tried walking it home but it wasn’t happening, the tyre (the rear, obviously, which is a real pain with hub gears) was caught up in the frame and I knew I didn’t fancy carrying the heavy end of the bike half a mile home. Nothing for it but a repair in the field. And of course it would start spotting with rain…

In the explosion my rear brake had also been ripped apart, possibly due to a corroded or fatigued bolt. I tied the brake arms out of the way (handy having those laces in the bag), swapped the tube and carried on into town on one gear and one brake. I was about half an hour late in the end. Well that’s one mistake I won’t make twice.

Anyway the bike’s all fixed up with new brakes now, and I swapped out the spare tube – which had two patches on it – for a brand new one. Obviously, it was only after I’d put the tyre on I realised I’d put it on the wrong way round, so I had to get it off again and start over. What an evening.

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