Punctuated by Punctures

Last week was my reading week from university, which I spent at my mum’s house. We visited my brother and my mum’s sister, went to a circuits training session (goodness me, my arms are puny!) and I got a fair amount of work done as well as snuggling my cats, petting the dog and helping my stepdad locate and recapture a cow which had escaped from the farm next door.

The week before, I’d been late to university most days so when I started back this Monday morning I decided I would set off early and make certain I was on time for a change.

Well, that didn’t work out well. I got about ten minutes down the canal towpath, just before an exit from the path, and had a puncture. A passing man lent me his bike pump (actually, he pumped the tire for me) but it was clear I had no hope – it went flat again straight away. So I pushed my bike to the conveniently-nearby train station, locked it up and caught the train. I was only fifteen minutes late, amazingly.

In the afternoon I took my bike to Halfords, and left it with them overnight to get the inner tube and back brake cable replaced. The brake’s needed doing for ages, so it seemed like a good opportunity. On Tuesday afternoon I went back to collect it. Naturally it wasn’t ready yet, but the girl on the desk assured me it would only be half an hour or so. I kicked around the shop looking at things and eventually was able to set off with my new inner tube just in time to get home for my Skype date with KT before leaving for my writing group.

Except that when I was about 500m from home, the same tire went flat again. It was a different section of the canal, but just as rapid and just as complete. I heaved a sigh, pushed my bike to the train station near my flat, and went back to Halfords. The manager on the desk saw me and his expression said exactly the same as I was feeling!

He got the girl from earlier to replace the inner tube for me again, and we chatted while she did it. I asked her to advise me on new bike lights, since it seemed I might as well get everything sorted in one go, and once it was all ready I set off for home again.

This time I got back without a puncture, but too late to get to the writing group. Frustrating, but that’s how life goes.

And then this morning I got up and went down to my bike to set off for uni for my regular study day. The back tire was flat again.

At this point all I could do was laugh! My poor crippled bike and I caught the train again and limped into Halfords for the fourth time in three days. The same manager was working, although not the girl, and he sent the wheel off up to the mechanic who very kindly replaced both the inner tube and the tire – I assume on the basis that one tire was probably cheaper than a constant stream of inner tubes!

Fingers crossed the new tire seems to have done the trick. I suspect the front one is likely to do precisely the same thing soon enough, so I am planning on replacing that tire once I can afford it. It’s a bit odd adjusting to budgeting on a monthly basis rather than a termly one!

It was fairly fortunate that due to the puncture I had to cancel the appointment I had at university, because it meant I had plenty of time to get to the hospital for my blood donor session. Except that the blood donation centre is not at the hospital! The woman in the reception of the blood transplant building gave me directions to the centre in the city, which I had passed a few times without realising it. I arrived early there too, so spent a bit of time in the library looking at the temporary exhibition.

Today was the first time I’d given blood since I became vegan, so I was relieved that my iron count was high enough. I’m also looking into becoming a platelet donor, although I might well not weigh enough. I’m not sure why my weight affects my platelets but them’s the rules!

In the mood for getting jobs done, I went off to NatWest to tell them that I’m still a student and get my student account extended for another three years. I was surprised to hear that I couldn’t do that – apparently you can only have a student account for five years in total, so I could extend it for six months more. The railcard I’ve had through the bank account for free expires in three weeks so I will have to buy a new one, and learn to live without an overdraft once the graduate account overdraft dries up in two years. I suppose it had to happen eventually!

And one final thing: I’m taking part in NaNoWriMo this year, so most of my writing energy is going towards my novel rather than my blogs. I didn’t get anything written yesterday but I’m confident I’ll catch back up soon enough. Wish me luck!

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5 thoughts on “Punctuated by Punctures

    • You can register but you don’t have to! If you register, and you update your wordcount on your profile, then when you reach your target you can get discounts on software, a certificate, various other things which vary each year. There’s actually a special programme for young people called the Young Writers’ Programme which I’ve used with my tutoring student, which you might want to look into for the children. I’d recommend it, it’s a great way to motivate!

  1. You could always move your account to a different bank.

    Re bikes & tyres – if you don’t fancy having a pump with you, I have some CO2 cartridges that will reinflate a tyre (I also use them for scuba diving) – although it won’t fix the puncture for you sadly. Let me know if you’re interested.

    Sounds like whoever was replacing the inner tube should have checked the inside of the tyre for glass/nail etc.

    It may also be worth you looking into spending more on getting a tyre that’s more resistant to punctures, especially if you’re often going to be cycling down paths like that. Costs a bit more, but probably pays for itself the first time you don’t have to replace an inner tube. (Of course, you never know when that will be…)

    • I do carry a pump with me now! I thought it was in my panniers already, it should have been. Thanks for the offer though.

      I’ve heard about the puncture-resistant tyres, and I’m considering it, but I think this was a freak run of incidents and hopefully won’t happen again. It’s the first time I’ve ever had a puncture on that wheel, and I’ve only had one on the front one – I think I’ve had the bike for at least seven years and used it frequently for four of them.

      On the bank account front I realised yesterday that I’d been reading my rail card completely wrong and it doesn’t expire until next November. Considering that the interest-free overdraft lasts another two years and the railcard was the main issue for me, I don’t think there’s any point moving just yet but I’ll keep an eye out.

      Good to hear from you by the way!

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