62/303 3/3/2013 the stop being agressive ride

A visit to The Focus Photography show meant that the only opportunity to ride today was late in the afternoon; this meant that the ride would end in darkness. Some forward planning was needed and I remembered to put my lights on charge whilst out. I met Ian down in the valley and we started back towards the Alps via the canal. It was dusk about this time and the temperature really started to drop although the route back is mostly uphill so that kept us warm. Due to the recent dry weather we thought it might be worth exploring the trail that goes over the tunnel, this is across a field and last time I had tried it it was in the process of being ploughed. Luckily foot traffic and the dry spell had made for a hard baked route over the furrows and it was relatively easy (if uphill into a head wind is ever easy) and made the subsequent downhill the other side all the more sweet. It was full on darkness by the time we passed the Crown Pub and denying ourselves a libation we wobbled up the bridleway hill to the road. It was riding up this road I noticed the bike was very wallowy at the rear. As this is something I feared about a rear suspension single pivot bike I was almost happy wheb it turned out to be a puncture! Weirdly Ian got one almost to the second despite him having anti-puncture slime filled tubes. We decided to get to the top of the hill where there is a filed gateway next to a house to fix the flats as this would be off the road and safer.
Replacing a tube is always a bit of a faff but doing it in the dark makes it a 100 times worse. Finding the thorns and making sure they are out of the tyre carcass is very difficult when you can see and have to do everything by feel. We had lights but modern lights are so bright it’s a balancing act to direct them where you are looking and not blind yourself. These lights attracted the attention of a large dog in the garden of the house next to the gate, closely followed by it’s female owner, the conversation went thusly and was conducted from either side of a high thick hedge so neither party could actually see the other
Woman “ what are you doing”
Ian “ we’re two cyclists fixing a puncture”
Woman “pardon”
Ian, raising his voice so that she may be able to hear better repeated his first sentence,
Woman, shouting at the top of her voice “ well there’s no need to be so aggressive about it, serves you right getting a puncture, we have allsorts of problems with crime up here”
The woman’s ranting then went on while we struggled to pump up tyres (not helped by my valve core which kept unscrewing and dumping all the pumped in air straight back out. I can see her point, not many cyclists are out after dark fixing punctures but her attitude was to immediately jump to the wrong conclusions and no attempt to placate her worked so in the end we just ignored her ranting , got the job done and left without retaliating in kind, it really wasn’t worth it.
So lessons learnt, don’t ride the canal after black thorn hedge trimming and however easy going and innocent you are someone will always think the worst of you
ride 18
15 miles
total 352

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