Thursday, November 29, 2007

A Tale of Two Tubes

With John sitting out this week's ride due to a nasty bout of man-flu (right on cue the week his new bike was delivered) Al and Jon's primary objective was a drier ride than the previous week. The weather at least was cooperating - after days of rain we had managed to pick a clear, cold, starlit night. The pair decided on a route up to Goodwood horse racing course, down to East Dean, around Goodwood estate and then home. The Jo(h)ns had blazed this trail before in the summer; it seemed appropriate to assess the feasibility of the route as a winter ride.

Early in the ride it became apparent that last week's activities had taken their toll on equipment: Although our kit had just about dried out Jon's front brakes were exibiting a nasty vibration and making an unhealthy "metal-on-metal" sound characteristic of worn out brake pads; Al's gears were playing up as the jocky wheels in the derailier were looking worn. However, we made good speed on our usual approach around the Goodwood motor circuit, past the Royal Oak and then up Chalkpit Lane to the Trundle (which afforded excellent views of Chichester at night). With conditions significantly less treacherous there were no 'offs' this week and we continued around the base of the Trundle for the first downhill towards the stands at Goodwood Racing Circuit. Given only one set of brakes Jon put the full light show on as he sped, out of control, on a white-knuckle downhill ride. As usual we cut across the grounds in front of the stands and down the road parallel to the final furlong markers. The route then required that we haul our bikes over some gates and stiles along a track leading to East Dean. Although the descent to East Dean is mainly track it is in fact a footpath not a bridle route; we emerged at the top of a grassy field in full view of the farmhouse. A stealthily cruise down the hill across the field in front of the farm was required, with lights dimmed. Jon nearly gave the game away getting stuck in his cleats and clattering to the ground inches from a live electric fence. Around the same time, and for the second time at this point on consecutive rides, Jon realised he had a puncture - perhaps it was the route getting it's own back for the indiscretion of using a footpath?

Nevertheless, a few quick pumps and the tyre was sufficiently inflated to get us to The Star and Garter. We tucked into pints of Arundel Brewery's Sussex Gold while Jon set about replacing his inner tube in front of the fire amid a paparazzi-like frenzy of photography from Al. The friendly staff seemed to react to Jon karting parts of his bicycle through their establishment as if was an every day occurrence! Some time later the tyre was replaced and beers were drunk. At this point, much to the amusement of Al, Jon realised with some irritation that he had committed a school boy error and inadvertently refitted his punctured inner tube rather than replace it with the new one still sat in pristine condition on the table in front of him. Finally with job done (twice) and another pint we went on our way up to Bubholts and East Dean Hill. It was not to be Jon's night - his new inner tube had somehow somehow queezed out of tyre requiring a colder maintenance stop beyond the comfort of the pub.

First Attempt

Second Attempt

Jon quickly put his wheel right and the pair struggled up the steep hill and then onto a bridleway which was essentially forestry tracks with loads, and loads of mud. The problem was compounded by the fact that there had been some deforestation activity and the track churned up by the logging vehicles. Although progress was slow this did not present a significant problem; we quickly overcame terrain difficulties and at times just let the back wheel slide through the mud. Until that was Al stalled and slid to a halt in front of Jon who promptly slid into him and his bike. In addition to throwing Jon into the mud the collision dislodged his batteries. Apologies and adjustments to lights ensued - Jon could barely disguise his frustration.

Finally we crossed Selhurstpark Road and a final wide expanse of mud (which proved to be the final straw for Jon as his bike got well and truly bogged down as he headed straight through the middle). Al skirted the mud before joining the the track proper around Goodwood estate which thankfully consisted of firmer stuff. Marginally drier than the previous week but much muddier we headed for a welcome hot shower. A 'Jon's Special' hot chilli was consumed watching more quality TV in the form of "I'm a Celebrity - Get Me Out of Here!". With Jon insisting that he would never tackle this ride again we remained undecided as to whether this was a truly acceptable winter route.

Route Map (click to enlarge):
Elevation Profile:

(Posted by: Jon)

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At 11:21 am, December 08, 2007, Blogger Maalie said...

Oh dear, what a saga. I'm not sure how I would cope with a puncture, I can't even get my wheels off. I suppose I could call the RAC.

At 11:21 am, December 08, 2007, Blogger lorenzothellama said...

Hey, that sounds fun! I love a bit of mud, but running through it, not cycling through it.


At 1:17 pm, December 09, 2007, Blogger Chris said...

I remember seeing my younger brother get tangled in an electric livestock fence years ago. It was quite humerous. It would have made for a great photo opportunity for your group as well as some good pub chat.

At 4:37 am, December 10, 2007, Blogger simon said...

puncture repairs! Geez I laughed!!

Did the disctraction of Pints of ale have anything to do with the error?? :o)

At 4:38 am, December 10, 2007, Blogger simon said...

PS Maalie:- Get your bike shop to put goop in your tyres....

then they self heal, and so the tyre don't go flat! :o)

At 6:27 am, December 10, 2007, Blogger TCA said...

Ahh, there is something special about changing your tube (albeit twice) in the shelter and hospitality of a good boozer. These quick fix solutions take away the hardship and where is the fun in that?.


At 6:30 am, December 10, 2007, Blogger TCA said...

The Star and Garter eh, any good?


At 7:48 am, December 10, 2007, Blogger TCA said...


S&G is more 'gastropub than 'local boozer' - the menu looked very tempting (local game grill of whole partridge, two pigeon breasts and veal sausage, for example).

Unfortunately it is also quite isolated so difficult to reach without negotiating steep, muddy hills and footpaths.


At 8:44 am, December 10, 2007, Blogger TCA said...


I agree with Simon - get some 'slime' in those tyres.

There are only two inevitable things about cycling: (1) you will eventually fall off; (2) you will eventually get a puncture.

Act now and save endless misery on a wet February afternoon whe you're rushing to get to Mabel's Pie Shop before last orders!



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