How many Wheelers does it take to mend a puncture?

The weather forecast threatened lots of rain and strong winds, so naturally WhatsApp was buzzing with messages as everyone tried to avoid being the person to admit it would be mad to go out. Dean resisted rising to the bait of Ian’s schoolboy taunts about him and wind and sensibly maintained radio silence, but others declared their intention to brave the elements.  So it was that three of us met at Union Corner and rode up to meet another three at the other place.

By this time the rain had well and truly set in, and the wind was merrily gusting at unreasonable speeds from the west, so the obvious choice of destination was Miss Molly’s. After a brief discussion about the most appropriate route we set off on the most direct version via Bolenowe. The riding was difficult and at times downright unpleasant, but the rain began to ease and spirits began to rise only to be dashed when Phil1 declared he was suffering a slow deflation event. Once it had been clarified that it was actually his front wheel that was the problem, we all gathered in a usefully sited driveway in the lee of a wall/hedge to lend our support as Phil struggled with removing the tyre with wet and frozen fingers. Such were the conditions that normal protocol was dispensed with and several actually helped physically with the tyre change rather than just offering verbal encouragement/criticism.

And so we resumed our ride with significantly lower core temperatures, looking forward to the shelter of our cafe stop. Fortunately when we arrived at Miss Molly’s the table immediately adjacent to the wood-burner was free, so we commandeered it and proceeded to adorn the stove with various items of soggy cycling apparel. Less fortunately, the thermal output of said stove was well below the optimal level needed to prevent hypothermia and dry the clothing draped over it, despite giving the distinct impression that it was going at full blast. Still, the food and beverages were good – just as well as we needed a second coffee/tea so that we could stay long enough for the shivering to stop.

But stop it did (eventually), and we set off for the journey home with muscles that refused to respond as they should. But it had stopped raining and eventually we warmed up and rode along the cycle track below Carn Brea, then up past St Euny church along Church Coombe to Four Lanes, then Stithians and home. The ride along Hillhead Road was fast, assisted as we were by the wind which we seemed to have battled against for the whole day up to that point, and the ride finished with smiles all round.

Just over 52km for me.

Photo © PhilS

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