Bicycle-Touring Europe Thursday October-12th, 2013 Elbasan to Pogradec. 54 miles. Much of today was spent riding up through a valley, following a river, which has been nice. I always like to be near water, as most of my previous rides prove! Although I have been struggling with my leg, which is a real pain, literally!
Disappointingly I had my first puncture of the trip today! Just as I went around a bend and started to go uphill, it went bang! Well, that’s a pain, I thought! But hey ho, I can’t really complain. After all, I’ve done over 1800 miles! So nothing else to do apart from fixing it. As I could not find the puncture (through being inpatient), I replaced the inner tube with a new one! Sorted, now all I had to do was put the wheel back on the bike and load up.
I’d only turned the pedals a couple of turns when it went bang again! I’d checked the tyre and couldn’t find anything in it. That’s normally the first thing I do! There’s nothing worse than fixing a puncture and getting another one straight away! Oh wait, that’s what’s just happened! Surely I didn’t run over whatever gave me the puncture in the first place, did I? Again, I pulled over to fix the puncture! But this time, I did find the puncture. It was a great big hole which was too big to fix! So back to the original inner tube and to find that hole! Which after a bit more patience on my part, I did!
While I was pumping the tyre back up, I noticed a split in the tyre’s sidewall! And the inner tube was starting to bulge out! Well, at least I found the cause of my punctures! Luckily I always carry a spare tyre, so it wasn’t a major problem. Apart from removing the old tyre and inner tube, for the third time! But then, to top it all, the bloody pump broke! The plastic casing had become brittle over time and just snapped! But I managed to bodge it together with some gaffer tape. It didn’t work fully, but at least it allowed me to get enough air in the tyre to cycle on it. That little episode must have taken nearly two hours in total.
On My Way
I cycled on for another hour or so and left the valley. Now I was on a wide plateau with a vast mountain looming in the distance. I was hoping that wasn’t where I was heading! But as I cycled nearer, I could see the road winding its way up. Yep, it certainly was the way I was heading!
That mountain turned out to be a 1000 metre climb, with most of it at a 10% gradient! At the top of the climb, there was a hotel, and I did contemplate stopping. But in the end, I just had a beer, something I never do while cycling! But I felt I’d earned that one! Going down the other side was good fun! And it wasn’t too long after that that I stopped.
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