Yesterday I took my Specialized Rockhopper Disc ’08 mountain bike for a quick spin. In the end it turned out to be a little bit more than a fleeting outing around the forest.
As a former Scout, I try to adhere to the "be prepared" mantra. Cycling round the New Forest, especially on it’s gravel tracks, can be hard on bike and rider. Cycling alone, brings added responsibilities too. Do you carry a puncture repair kit, tools, and a pump with you? My Speacialized Sirrus Pro for 7 years yielded no punctures on it’s daily commute, on the relatively smooth West London streets. I did have a good tyre though. Specialized Armadillos. Heavy, but exceptionally puncture resistant.
No matter how prepared you are. Things can go wrong. A friend of mine used to regularly take his campervan abroad in the summer. Trekking down to Spain, he even took a spare clutch with him. However when the clutch did eventually give way, he found that his spare clutch was the wrong model! I found myself in a similar situation yesterday. I got my first flat in the forest. Luckily it happened less than a mile and a half from my home. I had a spare tube, pump and CO2 canister, what could go possibly wrong?
I thought that I would just inflate the tyre with my brand new CO2 cartridge, and cycle straight home. This is where I came unstuck. I installed the cartridge, in the pump thing. But I couldn’t get a good coupling on the front tyre valve. The cartridge released, but most of it escaped the tubes inners.
I tried using the manual pump but again couldn’t connect properly with the valve. So I gave up, and pushed the bike home. Along the way I admired and took some pictures of ponies, cattle and also some funguii that I would have missed if my tyre had been inflated.
Today, I fixed the puncture at home, and inflated the tyre using my stirrup pump. At least the bike is ready for another outing. I know how to connect my Combo2 pump, now the lever needs to be up to latch the valve, the opposite to my stirrup pump, again made by Specialized. Well, I know now. Next time I will be better prepared before I cycle out into the New Forest.
Essential Cycling Kit
- Helmet – goes without saying on these gravel tracks
- Pump – working!
- Puncture Repair Kit
- Tools – allen keys, spanners, screwdriver
- Mobile Phone – a good idea