Houston – we have a problem.

So an early morning start becokoned this morning. The dog dragged his weary bum out of bed to greet me just fter 6am and then decided to go back to sleep. I got my stuff together, packed a few snacks, filled the drinks bottles, girded my loins and rode out into the morning light.

I had planned a 70mile ride with around 6000ft of climbing taking me through the Wye Valley and back down through the Forest of Dean. The ride started off well with light winds but a deep chill which soon found its way into my feet. I had dressed for spring weather (whatever that is these days!) so hoped it would warm up later.

A ride through the lanes and low hills around Shirenewton and a climb through Chepstow Woods brought me to the Tintern. So far so good, I was riding well and enjoying it. I stopped for a quick drink in Redbrook before continuing on to Monmouth along the A466 (a splendid road following the River Wye). A long steady climb took me up to Staunton on the edge of the Forest of Dean. A quick descent down through the forest and through Parkend (where the Dean Forest Preservation Railway started out 40 years ago) saw me eating up the miles. I was over 40 of the 70 miles into the ride with the worst of the climbing behind me when disaster struck.

A rear tyre puncture stopped me in my tracks. Ok so no biggy, I had all the tools for a repair or if necessary inner tube swap out and time was on my side. I set to work and it didnt take long before I was all set to inflate the tyre and be on my way again. I managed to inflate the tyre most of the way when the pump broke and immediately let all the air out of the tyre again. I tried again but a quick inspection of the pump confirmed the worst, it was beyond help. And suddenly so was I. The phone showed no signal. I cursed my luck and did what I knew in my heart I would have to do.


Luckily I only had to walk a mile before getting a signal. I phoned my other half and explained the situation. She immediately said she would pick me up bless her (thanks!). I settled down to wait and pondered my bad luck and the failure of my pump. I couldnt believe it. I hadnt even used it in anger before and it was only 6 months old and failed on the first use. What was worse was that I was on the back straight of the ride and felt good. Still, there would be another time for me to attempt it again. Sue turned up only half an hour later and I gratefully put the bike in the car, got a cuddle off the daughter and a kiss off the dog.

Back home, I loaded the ride from my gps into Strava. 41 miles and 4000ft of climb. Still a decent ride but makes me want to go back and do it again.

This time with a better pump

About Saddlebags and Backpacks - a brewer's outdoor adventures

I am a keen hiker, camper, cyclist and general all round gear addict..... I also manage to be a professional brewer in my non-spare time :->
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13 Responses to Houston – we have a problem.

  1. Richie says:

    That’s pretty rough but sometimes comes with the territory.
    Still, 40 miles is a good ride in anyone’s books.
    I’m planning a two day ride this Monday and just route planning this evening. I’m planning a wild-camp near Speach house before day 2 so I’ll make sure I check my pump and spare tube after reading your blog!
    Summer is on it’s way so I’m sure you’ll have another warmer opportunity to finish the ride.

    • backpackbrewer says:

      Hi Richie, yep rode near there today Lovely area for cycling. Watch out for the loose grit on the roads as thats what did me in, a piece of glass hidden in road detritus 😦

      hope the ride and camp goes well πŸ™‚

  2. Bob Andrews says:

    Having had three punctures – thorns and also a pump which broke I have filled the inner tubes with slime.

  3. Robin says:

    That’s a bummer. Lucky International Rescue was available. Thunderbirds are go! FAB

  4. Ian Barton says:

    It’s well known that all punctures happen:

    – In rear tyres
    – In the rain
    – Both your spare tubes will have leaks
    – Either your pump will have the wrong end for the valves, or be broken
    – You have left the tool kit attached to your other bike, so have to remove and replace the tyres without using tyre levers.

    That’s just life:)

  5. PhilR says:

    Oh No, gutted. As you say on the positive side you did the main part of the ride. Similar thing happened to me last year, my wife also came and rescued me. However I had to wait till she finsihed work and it was a roasting hot day……. I got sun burned!! 😦

  6. Bob Andrews says:

    Not sure about slime and racing tubes. Suggest a google

    • backpackbrewer says:

      I am getting better tyres for one!

      Also I have been advised to change tyres between summer and winter too

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