We’ve all felt it; going over a bump or through a corner and feeling that unmistakable bit of slop in the handling that sends your heart straight to your feet. Hoping you’re wrong, you bounce the tire as you roll along, confirming you’ve got a puncture.
But it’s not really flat – not yet, at least. Just softening. The question is, do you stop or do you try to keep going and hope its a slow enough leak to finish the ride? Barring that, can you at least get to a comfortable spot to change the tire, such as the little café near the turnaround point. Everyone who has ever changed a tire knows that changing a tire with a coffee at hand is a civilized way to go about such things.
Or, hypothetically, you realize that you’ve forgotten to bring the little tool that removes your valve extender and valve core, making it impossible to change your tire. Which means you are now committed to a race against your slow leak to get home.
Forget the contre la montre; the real race of truth is the race against the escape of air in your tire as you speed home at full gas in an attempt to avoid a long wobbly walk of shame in cycling shoes.
Spoiler alert: I made it home. Hypothetically.