Thursday, 14 January 2010

If you have to get a puncture, get one at Ealing Common

So off I cycled into the night last night. My colleagues' fears about the snow were completely unfounded and although it was damp on the road the temperature meant the snow melted away to nothing rather than turn into the sheet ice of recent weeks.

I was enjoying the lack of traffic (I worked late) and clear roads when I heard a suspicious sound.

Shh... Shh... Shh... Shh... Shh... Shh... Shh...

It got faster if I sped up and slower if I eased off.

I had a little ponder:
Hmmmmmm, perhaps a leaf stuck on the tyre? Maybe something else? Perhaps the wheel buckled on that last pothole and the rim's hitting the brake? Should I stop? Am only 15-20 minutes from home, I could chance it. No, I'll stop.

I pulled over outside Ealing Common station and good job too. The sound was the escaping air from a puncture. A chunk of glass was clearly visible in my front tyre even in the relative darkness. Fabulously, Ealing Common has a 'foyer' of sorts, it's warm, dry, well-lit and big enough that a cyclist carrying out repairs is in nobody's way. I set to work. As the source of the problem was so obvious I took the extreme step of deciding not to take the wheel off. I released the brake and took the tyre off.

A well-meaning guy from the kebab shop looking into the station came and looked concerned while giving lots of advice. 'You should carry a spare inner tube!' Yes I always carry one but I actually have two with me. 'You should take the inner tube all the way out to find the hole!' I would normally but, actually, I already knew where the hole was. 'But do you have any patches?!' Ummmm yes.

All very well-meaning I'm sure. He even applauded when I got the tyre back on and pumped up.

A member of the station staff then gave me some tissues to wipe my hands with. Lovely.

Mr Weenie had offered to come and get me when I rang to tell him I'd be late because of my puncture fairy visitation but was audibly relieved when I rang to let him know that he could leave his pyjamas on and get the takeaway ordered.

It took me about 20 minutes all in to get repaired and back on the road. I was in a safe, dry, well-lit place with helpful staff if I'd needed anything.

If you're going to get a puncture it was a good place to get one I reckon.

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