I know I’m tempting fate but I am really amazed by how few punctures I have these days. I’ve been keeping count and in the past 12 months I have only had to change one inner tube, which is a record for me.

OK, I’m not in any danger of breaking any mileage records but in a year that’s got to be more than 50 rides, none less than an hour.

You can relax, this isn’t the slow build-up to plug a particular tyre; my modest annual mileage was achieved on four different brands so by my reckoning the majority of modern clinchers are all pretty good.

All those years ago when I first started riding you needed tubulars if you wanted to race or just to ride fast. For those, unlike me, with loads of money, it was fine. The more you spent on your tubs, the less likely you were to puncture. And to add to the expense, the idea was to keep a stock of these things in a darkened cellar to mature.

My only spares were strapped under the saddle and as I rode the cheapest tyres available – nicknamed ‘wobblers’ – I remember one particularly bad week when three flats not only bankrupted me but also saw me banished to the garage to spend my evenings busy with the tub cement.

Robert Garbutt is editor of Cycling Weekly

  • Ken Evans

    “I remember one particularly bad week when three flats
    not only bankrupted me but also saw me banished to the garage
    to spend my evenings busy with the tub cement”

    Fixing punctures in tubs isn’t difficult.
    Just a bit messy, and time consuming.
    Repairing a tub, doesn’t cost much more than fixing an inner tube.

    As of 2010, tubs still ride much better than even top wire-ons.

  • Simon

    Punctures are a complete lottery. We can only do all we can to avoid them – correct pressure, checking tyres for damage or embedded objects at the end of a ride etc, you know the routine. But in the end you could have your best new rubber on and then ride over a sliver of flint at the end of your driveway. These days though I’m glad to say that punctures are low on my list of concerns while riding. I’ve ridden more than 3,500km on my current bike without having a flat – although I could go out tomorrow and have one pop. If that happens I’ll merely shrug my shoulders, fix the flat, and then not give it another thought.

  • Les Crook

    Last year I had your share then!

    It seemed everytime I went out for a ride and sometimes just when commuting I would have a flat. True the tyres were a bit worn but three flats in one hour and a half ride really is taking the mick.

    So far this year not one puncture even off-road.