Technical Tips" in the November
News made me think about punctures past
As schoolkids towards the end of the war, everything was in short supply, but four of us cobbled together some bikes and decided to go camping in Mobberley.
We lived in Hazel Grove at that time and, because food was rationed we had to carry everything we needed, my brother punctured at Dean Row and we dipped his tube in a pond in a field opposite the Unicorn and as we looked for the leak, passers by offered help such as "stuff the tyre with grass" and "have you got condensed milk in you supplies-yes-well pour in into the tube through the valve and let in run around the tube that will seal it" If you haven't tried it then don't, my brother walked to Mobberley
Probably with the same crowd we set off after school one Friday night for the Youth Hostel at Rudyard, another puncture near Macclesfield, this was too big for our small patches so we tried to make a three wheeled tandem by hooking the forks onto a rear spindle, that failed and, after convincing a farmer that we were fireproof we spent the night in his hay loft until the shops reopened on Saturday.
Soon after I started work my family moved to Mobberley and I rode to Mirrlees each day but as winter approached I decided to seek work closer to home, I rode to Broadheath and got a job at Churchills but I took a wrong turning on the way home and got lost somewhere near Dunham and then punctured. I had no tools but I got the tyre off with two old type pennies and mended the tube with a postage stamp, I could not test it, so stuff it in the tyre and pump it up. It held and stayed there for agesYears later, riding from Wilmslow to Knutsford to work I punctured again in Mobberley by now I carried more spares and, after feeling round the tyre, I fitted a spare tube and started to pump it up, a big black pudding like bulge appeared where the wire had corroded away from the tyre and it exploded before I could open the valve, in temper I threw the old tyre up the field, I had another tube and a folder. After completing the job I thought it wasn't fair on the farmer and climbed a gate and rescued the tyre from the wet grass and cowsh. Note the extra kit I carried by then. Riding back from Clulow Cross after a downhill comp a group of us met Frank Graham near Macclesfield. He was helping two lads and he was looking for a leak in their tube, after some time they told him they only had a soft tyre and had asked to borrow his pump. Frank refitted the tyre and pumped it up but found the chain in a figure of eight that had him beat. Between us we found a link extractor and Frank sorted out the chain but he reconnected it outside the seat stay, by the time he had got it all fixed he had oil and filth up to his elbows. We all emptied our bags and found biscuits, a hip flask of brandy, some "wet wipes" and a white Mars bar for hammering cotter pins and we all sat on a wall and discussed this wonderful life. On a weekend trip to Bodfari my front wheel was damaged when the bike came off the roof rack, but that's another story.
To be continued