A puncture should have the decency to to deflate the inner tube quickly and visibly thus alerting the rider to the fact that it is, indeed, punctured.
I despise the sneaky, insidious, slooooooooooow puncture.
It's not a 'real' puncture.
It's more like rubber-tube-incontinence.
If you 'Google' that combination of words you will have a bad time and serve you right BTW.
Barry the Bike first displayed frontal deflation on Saturday:
'It's only flat at the bottom!'
I hate that.
I am unusually prepared for this circumstance because I got the inner tubes on a 3fer2 deal at Halfords.
One on the front, one on the back, one in the bag.
So, the easiest way to deal with this situation is to remove the front wheel, open one side of the tyre, remove the tube, establish position and cause of puncture, replace punctured tube with spare, close tyre, and inflate to 55psi.
Not forgetting to repair the now 'spare' inner tube, just in case....
In attempting to remove the front wheel I torn one of the front brake blocks from its mounting.
The reasons for this were:
That I assumed the tyre was completely deflated.
That the residual inflation was enough to make removing the wheel without either releasing the brake adjustment or, removing one of the brake blocks, well, impossible without tearing one of the brake blocks out it seems.
(Removing a brake block is by far the easiest way of dealing with this situation.)
I am devastated by this development.
Not only because I now have to refit the block into its shoe, but I find the brake blocks are in an appallingly worn condition and need replacing.
Try finding cycle brake blocks with leather inserts.
The chrome steel wheel rim and its companion leather insert brake blocks are an endangered bred.
And 'good riddance' say I.
Leather inset brake blocks make little difference to the odds of a potential 'F%&K! NO BRAKES!' situation whist engaged in the suicidal practice of riding a bicycle with chrome steel wheel rims in the rain.
I know this, I learned this lesson in childhood.
I also learned something every young male learns about the need to avoid sudden heavy impacts to the groin area and just how easily I could be reduced to tears.
Meanwhile, back at the puncture...
I examined the tyre carefully, looking for any obvious cause of the puncture.
I didn't find any.
I opened up the tyre wall.
It was difficult.
The tyre was not completely deflated.
On the underside of the tube the chrome rim is in poor condition displaying heavy surface rusting and loose flakes of chromium plate.
I wanted to deal with the condition of the rims during the initial restoration, but I was unsure about finding replacement rim tapes should I snap one.
At this stage I notice that the tube is still partially inflated.
I wish I'd noticed before I'd wrestled the side of the tyre open, before I'd torn the brake block out of its shoe, before I removed the wheel.
Close up the tyre, inflate, refit front wheel.
It took two days for the tube to deflate.
I covered around 30 miles during that time with the tube holding good pressure and no front brake.
This morning the tyre was flat.
I removed the tube.
The debris in the casing is worrying:
I cleaned it out and removed as much loose chrome and rust as I could without damaging the rim tape.
I located the, very small, puncture using a kitchen sink full of bloody cold water.
Having found the puncture I was able to locate the approximate area on the casing where the likely cause may still lurk.
I carefully felt around the inside of the casing and I think I touched what might have been a very small thorn, but I may have imagined it.
I repaired the puncture:
The patch is complete over-kill for the size of the hole in the tube, but at least I've got a guaranteed 'hit'.
Everything refitted I turned my attention to the Interwebs trying to source suitable brake blocks.
I gave up and used a blunt screwdriver to ease the old brake block back into its shoe.
I took Barry out for an early evening suburban drift-about ride, turning onto the prom just short of the pier.
The sunset was on fire.
The sea was a flat turquoise.
The breezes cooler now.
All's well that ends well.