a puncture is decisive
A puncture is decisive; it neatly answers the question of whether to stop
versus whether to carry on.
I’m indecisive, and lean towards carrying on at the expense of stopping;
riding optimistically past superbly placed benches, picturesque cafes,
patches of shade in the midday sun and patches of sun at the end of the
day, improbable scenes well worth photographing, bus shelters delightful
enough to take a nap in.
For this reason I like realising that the new noise I can hear is fast
escaping air passing my forks once every rotation, followed by the
roughness of the road becoming apparent. Nothing for it, where shall I sit?
Nothing slows you down like stopping; which is why I like it. A puncture
early one midsummer evening in Scotland resulted in me finding my favourite
campsite for over 1000 kilometres. The campsite was one that I would have
ridden straight past in the knowledge that daylight was plentiful had I not
recently realised how good it was to take in the mountains from a seated
position on the ground.
It consisted of an empty field surrounded by distant peaks with a stream
running through it and a single toilet block. One toilet, one sink, one
wooden slatted thing to stand on in front of the sink, and a clouded
mirror. The door frames were painted green and peeling, the walls inside
painted pink and peeling. The floor cold stone, the water from the hot tap
hot. The low evening light hit the pink walls like a flood light while the
stream sounded outside.
I didn’t find the farmer that evening on my walk but he found me in the
morning – the only tent in his field. He drove his tractor over just to say
hello and that I certainly didn’t owe him any money. He had white hair and
a red face and his trousers were held up by braces with a repeat pattern of
different tractors on.
Jane Stables 11/12
The author apologised for the absence of a photograph to accompany this tale. I hope you’ll agree it doesn’t need one? The words take you there without assistance.