I've been losing the battle in my war on punctures over the past few months – suffering at least one a fortnight. This, I hasten to add, is not a result of not pumping my tyres up enough (perhaps the most common cause), or that I don't remove the offending pieces of grit, glass or metal when I'm repairing the previous flat.
It also can't be said that I've scrimped on cheap tyres. Back in January last year – after suffering a similar string of punctures – I went to the bike shop and asked to buy the toughest pair of tyres they had. They sold me a set of Continental Gatorskins which have three layers of Kevlar between the outside rubber and inside lining. One website described them as "bullet-proof". But within weeks, I'd had punctures in both inners.
Eventually, I bought myself a pair of Specialized Armadillos, recommended by a number of friends. According to Specialized's website, these are: "The most reliable security you can get for your tires [sic]. Period." Just what I was looking for.
It turns out, however, that Specialized Armadillos aren't entirely immune to puncturing either. In fact, I now doubt that there are any tyres that can claim to be properly puncture-proof – not when they're ridden 23 miles across London every day.
So this month, I'm trying out an alternative strategy – using a plastic lining for the inside of my tyres, made by a company called Slime. I'm confident nothing can get through this thick plastic, although the plastic itself is so tough, it provides its own threat. Two days after I'd fitted it, the sharp end of the plastic lining managed to pierce an inner tube.
I've fitted the Slime more carefully this time, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Punctures at any time of the year are annoying, but in the winter, they're pure misery. I'm hoping I've already had my last.