Roger had the good idea to pull together a spin on St. Patrick’s Day morning, so we met up in Moynan’s carpark at 9.30. We were a small group but well matched. Our route was c.54kms, Newtown>Portroe>Ballina>O’Brien’s Bridge, Daly’s Cross>Birdhill>Nenagh.
We passed a large group of Lower Ormond cyclists on our way, very friendly as always. The fun started at the bridge in Ballina, when we noticed Paul was no longer with us. Being good chaps, we rode (or climbed all the way back) through Ballina to find Paul at the top of the climb giving on to the Portroe Road. Paul had punctured.
Like a well-drilled team of mechanics at Formula 1, we immediately set to work. Gerry knew all the rules, so he supervised the operation. Roger guffed, Mike used his strong thumbs and hands on the tyre, while Paul dealt with the inner tube and pumped.
I really don’t know what went wrong. We were very careful in checking both the tyre and the fitting of the inner tube, avoiding pinches and kinks. Paul diligently used the hand-pump. Pump, pump, pump – nothing. More pump, pump and pump – more nothing. Damn it!
It was at this point that a fair Damsel came to the aid of 4 men in distress. Ann (who owned the house back of us) came over to check out our progress, and we got talking. It turned out Ann was a leisure cyclist, and, blessed luck, had a Floor Pump. We were in business. Mike was pumping away when there was a sharp, loud report. Yikes! Sniper! Mike jumped back suddenly as if he’d been hit. Then cautiously approached the wheel again. A few more little pumps and then another shot. That was the replacement tube done for.
We carefully checked the inner tube on removing it, found a tear, and put is aside. We carefully put in another tube, and pumped again. More gunfire. This was getting like JFK and the Grassy Knoll. Found another tear, but further along the tube this time. Now, it’s just vaguely possible that we were surrounded by so much torn rubber that we might have replaced one inner tube with one we previously tore, but it’s highly unlikely. I mean, how stupid could we be?
And finally, on the third (and last spare tube) attempt, we successfully completed the wheel repair. But we’d lost a LOT of time. I think Roger was on the point of inviting us back to Ann’s house for tea and scones, but we were pressed for time. And I think Ann was very impressed by our puncture skills as we bid adieu.
We stopped in O’Brien’s Bridge for coffee, and the first try out of our new (and hilariously received) Coffee-Stop Rule. Pay for yourself? Went by the wayside. I didn’t object too much as I wasn’t paying – I think that was Mike and Paul. And the 20 minute rule? A qualified success. 20 minutes for the first round of coffee, and then another 20 minutes for the second round of coffee. That was either a double success or a total failure, depending how you look at it. Suffice to say, I think we’ll have difficulty making that rule stick.
So, having left Nenagh at 9.30am, and cycled 65kms, we got back to Nenagh about 2.00pm. Go figure!