Puncture 101: Beating The Dreaded 'Three Cornered Jack'

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Devils thorns, bindis, three cornered jacks … they are the scourge of many a cyclist right around the country.

Recently while spending time road-testing a new bike in the outback surrounds of Broken Hill in Far Western New South Wales, we picked up puncture after puncture during the first hour of the first ride.

With around 2700 pumps in the arms, out of tubes and low in patience, a trip to the local bike store was in order.

There we met proud and jovial local Ricky Cooper who, as a long time enthusiast and qualified bike mechanic, must be Australia’s #1 puncture professional.

“The cycling is damn good around here,” he told us. “Particularly the mountain bike scene and events such as The Poker Run” - literally a wild-card race around outback Silverton where each competitor receives a random card on each lap - the first or closest to 21 being the winner.

Proud of his store and with down to earth, nothing’s a problem, good old-fashioned service, Ricky was wary to offer any negative comments about Broken Hill’s puncture problem.

“Tubes keep this old bike shop going,” he said with a laugh. “I hate to see someone buy a bike from me then hang it in the shed and not use it.”

Offering a cup of tea and putting the kettle on, Ricky continued.

“Over the years we’ve worked a way around the punctures,” he said. “Bring your bike in and I’ll show you how.”

Postscript: Since visiting Ricky’s shop and having him puncture proof the bike, I’ve ridden over all manner of surfaces, through the scrub, over thorns and into anything … with no problems at all.

Town & Country Bicycles is located at 411 Argent St Broken Hill. A visit is highly recommended for those passing through or visiting the iconic mining town.

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