Day 195, Sunday 4 March 2018.
I went riding with a large group of Auckland Ulyssians today. On Kopuku Road in the northern Waikato we encountered roadworks with a couple of km of deep gravel, which is not a pleasant experience for a group of mostly touring bikes. We all made it to the other end, where we regrouped. The Tail-end Charlie limped in; his rear tyre was very flat.
I had a puncture repair kit in my tank bag. While I got this out, others examined the tyre. There was quite a large hole in it, several mm across. No wonder it had gone down so quickly.
My repair kit is very compact, but includes several useful tools. First we used a reamer tool, which looks like a corkscrew, to clean the edges of the puncture. There’s a rubber solution which assists in this. Then we threaded a strip of rubber plug to a hook tool, which is like a large needle, and pushed this into the hole in the tyre until half of the plug was inside the tyre. We twisted the hook a quarter turn and pulled it slowly out, leaving the plug embedded in the hole. As the hole was large, we repeated this with a second plug. We used a small blade in the kit to cut off the excess plug material on the outside of the tyre.
The kit comes with three small CO2 canisters which are capable of inflating a tyre, but as they aren’t reusable and another rider had a small electric pump, we used that to inflate the tyre. The pump wasn’t very powerful, so it took quite a few minutes to bring the pressure up to 30 psi which we deemed suitable for riding slowly to the nearest petrol station. In the meantime, I suggested that the rest of the ride continue on its way, which I and the rider with the pump stay with the TEC and ride with him to make sure he got safely home. Five riders stayed, which was more than we needed.
The tyre held its pressure, but this type of repair is only temporary and there was a chance the tyre would fail in the near future. We rode carefully to a petrol station about 20 km away, where we had access to a commercial air pump. The tyre might have lost a little pressure but was still able to be ridden on. We topped it up, and some riders went to join the main ride again, while the rest continued to a place where the TEC could leave the bike safely overnight, and where there was an air pump available in case the tyre deflated over time, so he could ride it to a motorcycle tyre shop for a full repair in the morning. We then dropped him home.
Perhaps not the best ride, but an interesting one.
Distance travelled: 188 km. Total distance so far: 25,708 km
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