When It Goes Wrong

When it goes wrong, it goes wrong. A ride on the Ridgeway up near Wantage with Charli. Nice weather, few people around and a good route with good views, even in the hazy sunshine – potentially that’s all fine. My front gear was playing up. I was over-dressed so I ended up hot and struggling not to overheat on the steep bits. My suspension on the rear felt too soft, and to just round it all off nicely I punctured, despite using the generally excellent Panaracer puncture protection tyre liners.

Thorns are quite stunningly sharp and strong. I think I’m right in saying that bee stings are far more refined than anything we can make. Thorns are far more potent than you might imagine too – that one today went through the tyre and the kevlar lining and, of course, the inner tube too. And that’s a thick mountain bike tyre, not a road race tyre. The power of nature and all that … It makes the average bit of barbed wire look pretty feeble.

On the plus side, we did get to see seven hares. Last year, up near there, we met a police patrol; we chatted for a bit and they said they were looking for evidence of hare coursing. My brother says he sees evidence of lamping around where he lives. We are gradually moving away from treating wild animals as sport but it’s a slow process. I suppose we need to always remember the progress that we have made; at least hare coursing is illegal now.