Saturday, 24 October 2015

How I went on a long walk

Yesterday was a bicycle themed day for me.

The back tyre on my bike has had a slow leak for a while.  I had a little time free yesterday morning and so I put some time in to fixing it.  I was very impressed with tyre slime last time I used it, so I put in the recommended half a bottle and blew the tyre up to the recommended pressure

The repair seemed to hold and at about 3pm I headed out for a ride.  On a whim I decided to go and explore the tracks to the south of my area, towards the Violet Town Road: I haven't yet explored them much either on foot or by bicycle.  This terrain turned out to be pretty rolling with a lot of decent rises and falls.  The roads were essentially bush tracks, mainly loose rock and dust with grass growing between the wheel tracks.  Some of the roads here are marked as not accessible in wet weather.
It surely made for some challenging riding!  On one climb I had to get off and push the bike uphill: the ground was too loose and the climb too high for me to get enough traction from the back wheel.  That said, the view from the top of a lot of the rises was a great payoff.

I got to the main road and went along it for a bit before turning back onto the bush tracks again.  I was about 16 kilometres (10 miles) from home at this point when disaster struck.  I was going up a climb when there was a bang! and a stinging sensation in my left calf.  Yep, the back tyre had blown out and ejected the tyre slime onto my leg.  There was a large rip in the tyre.  I'd been leaning back to put weight on the back tyre to help it gain traction, and it was a pretty rocky stretch of road, so I think I just hit a bit of sharp rock.  Damn.
I didn't really have anyone I could call, so there was nothing for it but to thank God I was wearing these -
 - and start walking.  Going by a shorter route, I figured I was about 14-15 kilometres (about 9 miles) from home.  I started out by pushing the bike, but decided that this was going to be much harder than it needed to be.  I found the biggest tree I could to hide it behind and left it there, so I could come back later and collect it.

I was much less annoyed by the need for a looooong walk home than you might think.  For one thing, because I was on the backroads, I could happily sing to myself all of the old marching songs I knew (I'd working my way through 'Scotland the Brave', 'Waltzing Matilda', 'Dixie' and 'Battle Hymn of the Republic' before I got tired of the sound of my own voice.  For another thing, it was still challenging terrain that I hadn't seen much of before. 

At one stage I saw a middling size mob of kangaroos out in a paddock.  This was the best photo I could manage with the zoom function on my phone:

The other thing I saw was something I'd been hearing a lot about on the news: crops that farmers have decided there won't be enough rain to finish, and which are being rolled up for stockfeed.

The walk took a little over two hours.  Once I'd had a chance to rest my feet and drink some water I hitched up the trailer and went back for the bike - happily it was still there!

I'll google up repairs for the back tyre, although my strong suspicion is that it'll be cheaper and easier to just replace the tyre altogether.  We'll see.  Certainly a jury-rigged repair can't make it worse.  It might leave me with another long walk, but based on this experience that might not be a bad thing either!

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