Coasts and Cols Tour - Day 9 - 'A Series Of Unfortunate Events'

It was always going to be a struggle to do my intended mileage today. 257 kilometres is a big day out on a fully loaded tourer. Little did I realise quite how difficult it would be...

The day started out well, and I picked up the Canal Midi towpath with ease, and set about clocking through 135 kilometres along its length; enjoying the flatness, for a change.

Things started to go a bit pear shaped when I noticed that I was losing pressure from the rear tubeless tyre, which seemed to be from a bulge in the sidewall opposite the valve. Eventually, the pressure loss was enough that I decided it was best to stop, and put a tube in. Puncture one of the trip.

40 kilometres later, and the front tyre seemed to develop an almost identical problem. Second puncture - now no more spare tubes.

10 kilometres further on, and on one gravel strewn section of towpath, the front tyre, now without any kind of tubeless sealing capabilities, fell victim to a cut. Because I had used both of my tubes, the only option was to patch it. Puncture three.

Thankfully the route then took me off the gravel towpath and onto the roads. I began to make decent progress. Then, BANG... the instant stomach wrenching sound of the sidewall on the rear tyre exploding. The sidewall bulge had given way. The inner tube within it was slit, and unrepairable; the only possible solution was to fit my spare tubeless tyre and sealant, and hope I could get it to seat with a handpump. I couldn't.

Not really sure what to do next, I began walking towards the nearest town, but it was 25 kilometres away. I started trying to flag down cars for a lift, and after about 30 minutes, one kind French gardener stopped.

I loaded my bike in the back of his van, and he drove me to the nearest bike shop. Enroute, the front tyre bulge also suddenly exploded in the back of the van; it gave both of us quite a start!

At the shop, I bought a new front tyre, four spare tubes, and used their compressor to seat the new rear tubeless tyre I'd fitted at the side of the road.

Eventually, back on the road again, I managed to do another 50 kilometres before sunset. I fell short of the day's target by 60 kilometres though; I'll need to do some route alterations, to allow me to get back on track.

An eventful day. Hopefully tomorrow is a more straightforward one!


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