While riding with my husband last week, about half-way into our ride, he had a puncture. He urged me to ride on ahead while he changed the inner tube. I said I would wait. This was his first puncture since buying the Bontrager wheels in early May. He had everything he needed in his saddle pouch to effect the change but he couldn’t loosen the washer on the valve. It seemed to be threaded.

We had stopped near a house where the owner was pottering about in the garden so we asked if we could borrow some pliers. Despite our best endeavours, we still couldn’t budge the washer. There was nothing else for it, I would have to cycle home and drive the car back to pick up my husband. Lucky I hadn’t ridden on without him!

I rode home quickly, jumped in the car and drove back. My husband has many virtues, but patience is not one of them. He had been waiting about 75 minutes. Fortunately, he was waiting near a fountain where many cyclists stop to refill their bidons, so he’d had plenty of company and some further assistance but no one could shift the washer.

I drove my husband and his bike to my LBS where it took two pairs of pliers and considerable brute force to finally remove the washer. This is why I always ride with money, credit card and mobile phone. Sometimes, however well prepared you are, nothing and no one but your LBS has the right tools.

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