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My kingdom for a tube

Sunday morning, the wife’s away and I’ve promised to take my son to Bracknell Forrest, so just time for a quick run around my local loop encompassing Box Hill. There I was flying down the descent before Heart Rate Hill, all going well but as I take the corner at the bottom the back end goes loose – punctured!

I pull up, whip the wheel off and find a snakebite that’s gone right through the tube and caused a mirror hole on the other side. I remember I’m down to my last patch so go for the spare tube. Pop it in and pump it up, all sweet so far, then just as I take the pump off the valve, hissssssssss! The valve screw snaps off. Blimey, never seen that before. I won’t repeat what I said at the time…

I pray to the God of mountain biking or indeed any passing god who’ll listen, “Please let me have two patches”. I’m seven miles from home, no wife to pick me up and really in trouble if I have to walk back in these shoes. I rummage in my pack. Hurrah! Two patches. I’m saved!

I patch up the tube, put it on, pump it up and just as I take the pump off the valve, hissssssssss! No, no, no, no, the valve screw has broken again! No more patches, no more tubes, stuffing the broken bit of valve into an inflated tube and screwing that cap on really tight doesn’t work (I was pretty desperate), but God works in mysterious ways…

Just then I hear a rustle in the tress, the sound of excited laughter, and whoosh, out of nowhere, one, two, four guys on mountain bikes. “GUYS!” I shout as loudly as I can, “Have you got a spare tube?” I’ve never seen any of them before, but they stop and one of them gives me a tube. I offer to pay for it but he refuses to accept any cash. We chat briefly. They’re from a club called Dirt Devils (www.dirt-devils.fsnet.co.uk) and regularly ride these parts. Then, as fast as they arrived, they’re off.

Once again alone I carefully reinflate my tyre, ride up Heart Rate Hill and then, taking no risks, onto the road and back home. A lucky escape and a testimony to the fellowship of mountain bikes everywhere.

Whoever that guy was, thanks, thanks, thanks, you really saved me. I’ll try to get to the Leith Hill ride on 8th June with a replacement tube, tea and cake is on me at the top!

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