When a tyre gets that first puncture…

In a recent foray into the world of punctures I counted several scenarios but missed perhaps the most annoying, which is to open the garage or shed door to find a bike with a flat tyre instead of the fully-inflated one left the previous evening.

More distressing, however, is the first puncture in a tyre of a type that has previously been impervious. When this happens, I invariably experience a pang of loss – the loss of faith. Somehow, for as long as a tyre keeps punctures at bay, I can convince myself that it will continue to do so ad infinitum and that it is, in fact, invulnerable.

The – er – puncturing of this cherished belief is an important moment every time it happens, for the tyre in question, and that includes every example of the model, can never subsequently be trusted the way it was before its lapse and there are only so many tyres on the market.

There is, of course, one way around the problem. It’s especially worth pursuing in the case of a tyre that is held in high esteem and it is to conclude that the puncture is of the sort that can happen to any tyre including one that is invulnerable to “normal” flats. Just such a puncture was recently found to have afflicted one of my Bontrager All Weather RXLs.

This is a tyre that I really need to believe is immune to regular punctures, for if, with its thick, heavy tread, firm ride and grim black finish, it cannot keep out flints, then what can?

Unbelievably, considering the size of the holes in the tyre and tube, the puncture was only noted when I opened the garage door in the morning and went to wheel the bike out for a ride. Not wanting to waste time making a repair, I simply swapped wheels and spent the day worried that the RXL’s weren’t the tyre I had hoped they would be.

Luckily, once I got the chance to fix it, the perforation was quickly traced to the sidewall, which had been sliced clean through. The tread had held firm and, still untainted by the admission of a sharp object, was – and is  – still worth believing in. The holed tyre is, however, fit only for the bin.

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