I would describe myself as an intermediate London cyclist. I have a decent bicycle (thank you cycle to work scheme), a solid habit of riding it to work, a bit shy to take it to areas of London I don’t know well and I never cycle drunk (Students Against Drinking and Driving was a Nazi-like organisation in my high school and its never worn off).
I have learned a lot about bicycle maintenance over the years. How to assemble my new bike, how to align it to my body, how to reset the chain and gears, how to grease it up, when to take it for maintenance. Replacing brake pads. cool, no big deal.
Something I’ve done more than anything, however – is refill my tires. Who hasn’t? We all know the signs – you feel you’re working really hard and going very slow – put some damn air in your tires. The bike I have now is relatively new, about 5 months old, so I’ve only filled the tires twice. Both times at work, where we have a wonderful fancy powerful pump.
Today I noticed on the way home that my tires were low. Really low. So low I could feel the bicycle listing a little bit in the back as I went over grooves in the road. So I got out my hand pump when I got home and set about futiely trying to align the nozzle with the type of outlet thingy my new tires have. I heard a satisfying hiss, meaning I’d been able to pentrate the seal, madly began pumping and then noticed something terrible – my entire tire had gone completely flat. Not a spec of air.
Now this is where I will admit I did something stupid. I assumed I knew what had caused this mistake and tried the back tire – only to let all the air out of that tire as well.
I now have no options but to humbly wheel my bike to the nearest bike shop and beg for help. It doesn’t help my nearest bike shop is super posh and snobby and sells no bikes at less than 1500 quid. Oh how they will think I am stupid.
And I’m now going nowhere fast.