Day 58: Causapscal to Cambellton (81km)
Uh-oh. That doesn’t look good. I was doing my morning check on Monty. Brakes fines, rims fine, tyre beading bulging out of rim. Uh-oh.
I had treated myself to double coffee this morning. The large dose of caffeine coursing through my veins fuelled my anxiety as I Googled my options. I’ve had a tyre explode on me before. It had looked like this, I had nonchalantly ignored it and carried on cycling to work, until one day – BANG!
How far would this bulge survive? I was hoping 80km. I cycled as fast and carefully as possible. Long sections of construction did not help my nerves as Monty bounced on the dust and rubble. I tried to enjoy the scenic views, pushing to the back of my mind the constant worry that my front tyre was going to EXPLODE ANY SECOND.
The scenery was very beautiful as the 132 followed alongside the Matapedia River. The river is renowned for its salmon fishing. Men in beige waded in the shallow, rocky water. The sun came out, illuminating the edges of the angular hills. Forest stretched in all directions. The road was quiet. It reminded me of being in BC.
A black bear is running in the road right in front of me. I screech on the brakes as the bears jumps past. The bear!? The bear?! I swivel round to look, but the bear has already disappeared into the overgrowth.
My heart rate had rocketed. I had chucked out my bear spray yesterday because I thought – thought! – I am no longer in bear country. My nerves, worn by the worry of an exploding tyre, were now frazzled.
Soon enough I reached the bridge that would lead me to a new province: New Brunswick. I was closing in on the bike shop and (fingers crossed) the tyre had not yet exploded. I was counting down the distance to Campbellton not in kilometres, not in jelly beans consumed but in the number of hours it would take me to walk from here to Campbellton if my tyre exploded. 5 hours, 4 hours… I felt happier once I realised that Monty and I could walk to town before nightfall.
Thankfully we reached town without any loud bangs. I wheeled into bike shop #1. Alas no suitable tyre. I wheeled into bike shop #2. They had a tyre that was the right size. The mechanic grinned at me in a camp yet gormless way (an odd combo, I know).
“It’s a good tyre,” he said, emitting an aura of cluelessness.
It costs $20. That is about £12. Call me a bike snob but I do not trust a tyre that costs less than the socks I am wearing (yes, I do happen to be wearing very nice socks). It costs less than the pizza I ate in Rimouski.
This man had apparently never seen a touring bike. My concern piqued when he asked “did [Roberts, Monty’s frame builder] create that handlebar?”
The tyre is awful. Bits of different length rubber poke out the edge. “It’s a good tyre,” the mechanic enthused again.
It is a shit* tyre, my instinct said. Lo and behold, the online review later confirmed that it is indeed a shit tyre. On the plus it need only last until I get to Charlottetown where a better bike shop can sell me a better tyre.
If all else fails I shall buy a pizza and strap that on the rim.
*pardon my use of language but there are few adjectives suitable for this tyre.
Why is the tyre about to explode?
Most tyres don’t explode if they are pumped up properly and aren’t really old and worn out. My Schwalbe marathon plus tyre appeared to have a manufacturing defect that has made it bulge. The tyre has however travelled 10,000km with a touring load so I would still recommend these tyres.