I had initially planned to cycle some way on the road and some way along the Nantes-Brest Canal which I was still unsure if I could cycle along or not. The canal and towpath ran right along the edge of the campsite and there was even a gate directly onto it. So, rather than even contemplate the road route, I plumped for the, surely, more scenic, canal route.
Not far along it though, the tarmac began to break up and the surface became very jagged and rough. "Hello", I thought to myself "these are perfect puncture conditions are they not?". You already know what's coming, don't you?! Not 30 minutes later, after stopping to take a photo, as I pulled away, the front of the bike felt really unstable and was wobbling like crazy, I glanced down and lo and behold, the tyre was completely flat. That was suspiciously fast.
After examining the front tyre, bit by bit, looking for the entry point I could see nothing so, with front panniers and tyre off in a flash (without the use of tyre levers I hasten to add now that I know the proper tricks of the trade ;) I discovered that it was not in fact a puncture but that the tyre had split ever so slightly at the join of the inner tube rubber itself. A Park Super Patch applied in seconds and with the tyre (again with no levers ;) and wheel back on, I was just about to head off when I heard a voice in French presumably asking if everything was ok. I turned to discover a fully laden cycle tourist! After a moment or two we both realised we spoke English so my puncture mime was put on hold. He asked where I was from, presumably not having noticed my flag and was surprised to learn that my flag was actually English! Guess where he was from? Switzerland!
As it turns out, I may have been a little harsh on the French in my flags post, as this Swiss chap also didn't know the English flag and was only familiar with the Union Jack. So, after another brief explanation, he eventually departed a little wiser but not before we had stood on the towpath and chatted for almost an hour. I thought my tour was already quite impressive, distance wise, but this fella was already 11,000km + into his and was already planning his next jaunt in South America. It made my recently achieved 3,000km seem paltry in comparison! Still, there is a long way to go yet :)
Oh, and just so you are aware, all you fellow stats fanatics, I am not including today's little problem as a "puncture" in the significance count, as it was clearly not a puncture but a manufacturing defect. So technically, I am still punc...actually I am not gonna say it!
|A light shower as I left camp and headed out along the canal towpath.|
|You see what we have to endure to bring you these reports from the road?!|
|It's agony at times. Sheer agony I tell you.|
|That tall tree reminds me of Brian May's hair - before it turned white!|
|Just one of the many beautiful lock-keeper's cottages along the canal.|