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Advice for a cyclist friend: Always carry a puncture kit

After a small test ride [1] a few weeks ago, I decided to take my new old bicycle for a longer ride. The whole idea was to see if there are things that need more urgent attention than the others. Also, my other two companions were on a hybrid (KHS Ultrasport that is closer to a 29er hardtail) and a 26 Fuji Nevada hardtail. My Schwinn of Theseus was closer to the steeds of my fellowmen.

Ravish joined me in front of our office and Soham joined me near his home, 5 kms farther down the road. We decide to ride till our familiar Kolar CCD, have our breakfast and head back before lunch.

Soham was at his peak. He rode his Fuji like there was some tailwind assisting him. For the next 20 odd kilometers, I had a hard time keeping up with Soham. We stopped at some condiment store. I did not have enough food before leaving home. I had a Fuse bar in my jersey pocket that I shared with Soham. Ravish seemed exhausted. He had some water and we moved on. This time it was Ravish who seemed to have caught a tailwind. Not before long, our sequences were reversed and I was riding between Ravish and Soham. My guess is that we were at least 500m to a kilometers apart.

Once I was at Narsapura CCD (it’s technically not Kolar), I decided to check Strava. That’s when I saw a message from Soham – “My rear tyre is punctured…”

He should have called either of us. It’s easy to miss the “ping” of an arrived message while riding. Just when we were about to backtrack and find him, he asked us not to come. He hitched an expensive 1.5 km ride (100 rupees) on an auto rickshaw and met us at the CCD.

Soham had never repaired his own puncture. He did not even carry a spare tube or a puncture kit. He carried a hand pump though! Ravish sat down and showed him how to repair a puncture. I lent him a patch of Park Tool GP-2. I have never used them myself. I’ll ask Soham after a few weeks to know how does it hold.

Ravish helping Soham out with his flat.

After a filling (and surprisingly expensive) breakfast, we headed back.

For some reason, I felt very good on my way back. The highway has a gentle elevation almost till Hoskote. The first few kilometers from Narsapura are the steepest. My hands were sweaty and the worn out grips weren’t helping much. They need immediate replacement. The rear hub slipped ever so slightly under torque. I don’t know if that can be corrected with a tune-up. The front hub is nearly busted but surprisingly did not give me much trouble. In spite of all these, I was in a great mood and rode without taking a break till Hoskote-Whitefield Road junction.

Ravish and Soham were together, a kilometer behind me – or so I thought. I found a nice shade and some makeshift benches in front of a closed shop.


Ravish reached in a couple of minutes. There was no sign of Soham. After few more minutes, I called him up. He was about 8 kilometers away. He finally reached the shade after 35 minutes. His legs had given up. He could barely do 15 kmph. He had exhausted himself and took a break under a bus-stop shade beside the highway. He took another one on the bench I was sitting. After another 30 mins or so we continued on.

Soham later told me that he couldn’t ride the last three kilometers and pushed his cycle instead.

Ravish had hit a wall by the time we reached his house. Before ending our rides, we had some tender coconut water.

I came home, ate dumplings and Manchow soup, and slept for three hours. Of all the countless Kolar CCD trips I had made, this was the best one.

Small expenses add up [2]
Look! A brand new drivetrain [3]