Saturday’s accident on the MUni left me with 7 stitches in a swollen chin, and I can’t get my fencing mask on, so I had to cancel tonight’s fencing lesson.
Fortunately, the stitches aren’t in the way of my helmet strap, so I decided to go for an evening ride on the 28.
Oh how pleasant, ghosting alongside the sparkling Trent, the wavelets glistening with the reflected light of the yacht club and marina… a fox appears suddenly from the bushes on the river bank and darts across my path… the low lights from over the river throw my pale shadow far across the flat field… somewhere, a duck quacks, a fish splashes… or perhaps vice versa…
The gates to the Water Sports Centre close at dusk, and by now it’s pitch black, but they’re open. I’m soon on the long tarmac straight that runs parallel to the main rowing lake. A gentle breeze speeds me onwards, snug and warm in my windproof top (now rinsed clean of blood stains!) and the calls of the rowers float across the water to me. Faint lights in the distance betray the presence of the slender shells which bear these fellow athletes across the dark bosom of the mere. An occasional jogger or cyclist passes in the gloom, nodding in curt surprise at my chosen vehicle.
And soon I reach the end of the lake and make the long turn around the end, gradually facing into the wind which suddenly seems stronger… and BANG! A carelessly abandoned stick trips my speeding wheel. After 3.2 miles I find myself suddenly afoot.
Never one to waste the opportunities that life throws before me, I decide to pump up my tyre a bit. It has been feeling a bit soft for the last couple of miles. Hmmm. The more I pump, the more it goes down. Pump pump hiss, pump pump hissssss, pump pump pump pump hissssssssssssssssssssss.
The sound appears to be coming from the valve. It’s one of those Presta valves, and I’ve never been quite sure how they work. I fiddle disconsolately, then decide to remove the tube to have a better look.
Aha! Or, ho hum! The base of the valve has torn away, leaving a ghastly crescent smile in the tube. Time to walk home. I’ve ridden 3.2 miles. By cutting the corners, I’m sure I can reduce that to 3.
Funny how the wind is colder and faster when you’re walking 3 miles carrying a unicycle.
Moral? Carry a spare tube. It needn’t be one more thing in your Camelbak - you can strap it to the seat tube, like bicyclists do. Another lesson learned.