I caught the Manchester train in good time for my blood donation appointment but my bubble was burst when I noticed my back tyre was flat. On the platform, a guard noticed my plight and suggested PopUp Bikes might help. A great idea: I’d been trying to find a use for them for years and now they could fix the puncture and take care of the bike while I gave blood.

At the donor centre, my blood iron measured one point too low so I got kicked off the interval study. A result for them but a disappointment for me. Not indestructible after all!

Back at PopUp early, they wouldn’t fix the tube but didn’t have another to sell me. I had the mechanic install my spare, paying them about seven quid for the privilege. On the platform, I had time to fix the tube myself but couldn’t find the leak. That evening, in the sink of my hotel room in Barrow, I determined that the healthy-looking tube had no puncture. Odd. I decided that there must have been sand in the valve.

A couple of days later, on the 700 ride, the back wheel developed a slow puncture, late in the day. I made it into the camp site and sat down to install that un-punctured tube, only to discover that it didn’t fit the wheel. It says it’s a 20” but it’s much longer than the one in there and won’t install without folding on itself. I had to carefully repair a patch on a patch on a patch to re-use the tatty spare that I’d set off with.

I still don’t know what’s going on with that other tube. Did PopUp give me the wrong one back? Why doesn’t it fit? Which one was punctured on the train? Very curious.

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