With the temperature close to 10 °C (50 °F), the weather forecasts devoid of rain, and my agenda empty, today was a good day for a bike ride. There was a rather strong southwesterly wind, so I arranged the route for headwinds first and tailwinds later. Since there’s only so many places one can find southwest of Leiden, I was pretty much going to redo my dune ride from four weeks ago. That’s fine, because I had a lot of fun with that one. I had a bit more time today, so I decided to extend the trip from Wassenaar to Scheveningen and cycle back through the dunes from there.



The blue trail is the ride I did last time, and the purple trail is today’s extended edition. The part within Leiden was also different this time around, but not enough that I felt like redrawing the picture. Starting at the B, I went from Leiden to Wassenaar and Scheveningen, then up north to Katwijk and back to Leiden.

Things were fine exactly to the point where I moved onto the new (purple) part, at the northern edge of Wassenaar. I’d stopped to check the map and make sure I was taking the right turn, and when I pushed off again, my bike felt all wobbly. The cause was quickly identified: a flat front tire. Just my luck!

Fortunately, I had brought a repair kit, unlike the last two times I went for a long ride, so in a way I really was lucky. I flipped my bike upside down and freed the inner tire from the outer. Next task: to find the puncture. But how to do that without a bucket of water to run the tire through? After doing nothing for a couple of minutes except sort of hoping the problem would magically fix itself, a friendly passer-by suggested that I might be able to hear the air hissing out if I inflated the tire a bit more. Sure enough, that worked and I found a tiny puncture.

And another one.

And a third.

Strangely enough, the outer tire looked fine. I examined it inside and out and couldn’t find anything that might have punctured the inner tire once, let alone three times. Anyway, having found the holes, it wasn’t much more work to repair the tire. But would the repairs hold?

I still wanted to do the entire ride, so I just took my chances and went for it. I made it through Wassenaar without the tire going flat again. On to Scheveningen and the trip’s half-way point… still nothing. By then I’d stopped worrying, leaving more room in my head to enjoy the ride. And enjoy I did! Scheveningen and especially Wassenaar are very wealthy towns, and the road I followed apparently is a favourite place for people to build their villas.

After the half-way point at Scheveningen I went into the dunes, following a bike trail that meanders all the way up to the town of Katwijk. The wind was still blowing strongly from the southwest, pushing me along hard. After suffering headwinds for the first twenty kilometres (12 mi), I was looking forward to that! It’s too bad that going fast also means the fun is over pretty quickly. Still, it was great while it lasted.

I went for a snack in Katwijk and walked around on the beach for a while, where the wind was even stronger than in the dunes. A couple of birds were enjoying the wind too, as well as the two fries I accidentally dropped. Oh well, good for them.

On the way back to Leiden my legs were beginning to hurt, and by the time I got home I was ready to just lie down and not move for a couple of hours. I guess that was to be expected after 43.6 km (27.1 mi). Unfortunately, I couldn’t quite go straight to bed. For one thing, it was only 6pm, which is really a bit too early. For another, I had to repair my front tire again. One of the patches had come partially loose, probably when I hit a bump in the road about a kilometre before I got home. That was annoying, but of course not all that bad, as it could have happened earlier just as easily. I just replaced the patch, taking extra care to seal it properly this time. Let’s hope the tire is still full tomorrow.

2 thoughts on “Tiresome”

  1. Sounds like a beautiful ride. Where are the photos?? :) Sorry about the tire. That just reminded me that I’m going to have to learn how to repair my own bike problems. I guess where there’s a will, there’s a way. I’m smart and capable. It was just so much easier to rely on someone who already knew how to take care of it. Ah well, more opportunity for growth!

    I can’t wait for the weather to become more suitable for biking here. We’ve got another big snow storm due in tonight. Looks like I’ve got a little longer to wait!

    Anyway … Hope the repairs to your tire hold!!

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