I was out training around Stokenchurch and Marlow; and after several hill intervals, I was looking for a reason to take a breather.
On a quiet country lane near Frieth, I saw a cyclist walking along the road, not looking terribly happy. I stopped to ask if there was a problem. He replied a double puncture, and he was walking home to Marlow. That’s a fair walk when you’ve got cycling shoes, and even though it was a nice day – it was not something I’d want to have to do myself. I offered to give an inner tube to fix the puncture. I thought it would be a pinch puncture (a common cause of double punctures) but on removing the tube, I found it was actually a puncture patch not quite working. We threw the old tube away and put in the new one. The tyre was up an running in a few minutes (one of quickest punctures I’ve repaired). Peter (the chap with a puncture) was grateful to get his bike going again. He had just started cycling a few months ago, and was a bit inexperienced. But, enjoying getting out a few times a week.
- My top tip is to always carry two spare inner tubes. Forget about a puncture repair kit. If you can buy new inner tubes for £2 a go, it’s really not worth the hassle of repairing – especially when there’s no guarantee they will work when you need it. (also if it was raining or cold, who wants to fix a puncture by side of road?)
- The other advice I’d give to newbie cyclists is – you don’t have to spend a lot of money on cycling, but money on good puncture resistance tyres is very worthwhile. Peter’s tyres looked pretty cheap (though very easy to remove from rim)
Just a few weeks ago, I was very grateful when a couple stopped to help me put on a tyre in Grassington (I’d had a double puncture and was really unable to fix it third time. So today it was nice to be able to return the favour to a fellow cyclist.
The good thing about buying 10 inner tubes for £20, is that it feels quite easy to give a few inner tubes away on the very rare occasions you see a stranded cyclist.
There are a huge range of cyclists on the road these days, and it’s nice there is a certain camaraderie amongst cyclists. It’s not a big deal to stop and offer a little help for a cyclist stranded by the road, but it gives a rare opportunity to offer a little help. If you saw a car broken down, I would just drive on. But, a cyclist walking by the side of the road will always grab my attention.
Perhaps it’s also believing in Karma. You help a cyclist – because if you were in that situation, you would appreciate a bit of help yourself.
Apart from my good deed for the month, the other great excitement was setting a power meter reading for my favourite climb on Stokenchurch A40. I’ve been testing my time on this climb for the past 5 years (5% constant gradient. length, 2.5km, height gain 118m).
It’s a very rough guide to form. (with much effort I reduced pb time from 5.08 to 4.52 in past two years) Though times can vary by 20-30 seconds depending on the wind direction / temp e.t.c. This was first time I could record my power reading (average power for climb: 439 watts for 4.59. (watt /kg 7.0)
Next time I go up, I will have a power meter reading to compare! Though I promise this blog, won’t become full of my power meter readings and other statos.