A couple of weeks ago, on one of the coldest days of the year, I got a puncture. Not so Lucky Saddle.
The first thing I thought? Shit bollocks shit. I can’t do punctures.
Now this will annoy my other half, who constantly tells me that after years of cycling to and from work, I should, by now, be able to change a tyre roadside.
Well I can’t. I’ve tried, but getting those ridiculously tight tyres off the rims is impossible. I compare the struggle with me trying to get into those big suck it all in pants – you can visualise it can’t you?? (sorry, it doesn’t make for a pretty picture).
So on that freezing cold morning, I decided to take on the challenge. I flipped the bike over looking like a true professional cyclist, until I almost knocked myself out with the front wheel in the process. I reached for my ‘tools’ in my bag, because I am always super prepared for these situations, one tyre leaver (not a full set), an air canister with no adapter, a hairbrush and a pair of emergency pants in place of where the spare inner tube should be. Shit. Even wonder-women wouldn’t be able to fix this situation, but at least I had clean pants.
So I dithered a bit and realised I didn’t have any other options but to call the boss. He kindly collected me. A frozen pathetic amateur cyclist stood by the roadside looking slightly embarrassed and feeling like a fake as the car pulled over.
Luckily by my work we have Cycle Surgery (although lethal at lunchtimes!!), who fixed the puncture. The reason for the puncture? A huge chunk of glass wedged in the tyre, which had worked its way through the metal protective grid. My trusty Schwalbe Marathon tyres had served me well, 4 years of cycling and around 5,000+ miles, but now they were looking how I felt, worn, tired and well used. In fact, the whole bike was in poor condition, with barely there brakes. It was time to spend some money….
First purchase, new tyres. I wanted the same tyres again, as they had proven their effectiveness, but I couldn’t find anywhere with my size in stock, so I hesitantly purchased the Continental Four Seasons. And do you know what? It was the best buy I have made in months; I couldn’t recommend them enough, even better than the Schwalbes. I have been using them for around 3 weeks now, and my commuting times have improved massively – reaching 15/16mph average speed most rides, when I used to reach 13/14mph. Ok – it doesn’t sound much, but every second counts in the morning when trying to get my butt out of bed and to be sat at my desk ready for 8.30am, it’s the difference of getting some lippy on! And (touch wood) I haven’t had a puncture yet.
I won’t get technical, because I don’t have the technical know-how, but if you need some tyres that give you a bit grip on wet roads yet don’t feel like treacle sticking the road and allow you to reach and attain a decent speed then the Continental Four Seasons are ideal. They also look pretty nice on the bike too; the tread doesn’t look as geeky as my old tyres, although they don’t have the same reflective strip that the Schwalbes had, effective in the dark winter months.
Tip. When you go to buy any tyres, make sure you shop around and check if your local bike store price-match. I got the 25inch size tyres from Cycle Surgery who price-matched Wiggle where the tyres were on sale for £30.99 (compared to £55), a grand saving of £48.02 – that’s the equivalent of 6 bottles of Sauvignon Blanc or 2 bottles of Tanqueray Gin! See… every penny does count! And then the lovely chaps at Cycle Surgery put them on free of charge for me! Which in a way was a bit of a shame, because I was going to perfect my tyre changing skills… honestly! …..
Let’s hope that someone finally invents a puncture free and tubeless tyre before my next puncture or that Lucky Saddle’s next puncture is right outside the bike shop 🙂