I woke up in my little field near Lercara this morning, only to discover that my bicycle's back tyre was completely flat. Eek! No idea how this happened: but since the tyre was fine all day yesterday, I can only assume that it got punctured by some sharp plant or rock, as I was wheeling it through the field yesterday evening. Worse still: when I attempted to change the tyre before setting off, I realised that I was unable to do so — despite having a pump and a spare inner tube, I had no tyre levers, and no spanner that was the correct size for undoing the back bolts (and yes, unfortunately the back tyre is bolts, not quick-release). Talk about a horrible start to the day — flat tyre in the hills of Mafialand, and no means of fixing it. What was I to do?
Thankfully, I managed to survive the flat tyre ordeal without too much heartbreak. The puncture must have been quite small: because I was able to pump the back tyre up again (without changing the tube), and to ride the short distance to the town of Lercara. Once in Lercara, I found a hardware store where I managed to purchase the spanner that I needed for undoing the back wheel — I had a set of flip-out allen keys and spanners, but none of them were the right size — as well as a set of tyre levers, and an additional spare inner tube.
It was a funny business, doing this bit of shopping in Lercara. I went to three different shops: and in the first two, the guys had the spanner that I needed, but it was their only one of that size, and they refused to sell it to me (claiming that they needed it, and that they couldn't get themselves another); while in the third, the guy didn't have the spanner that I needed, but he drove off and found a friend who had it, which he then procured and was nice enough to sell to me. The main thing was, that in the end, I got hold of all the bits and pieces that I needed.
Since the punctured tyre was holding up so well, I decided to pump it up again without changing it. The semi-flat tyre continued to survive for the rest of the morning's ride, until I made it to the town of Prizzi, where I finally changed the inner tube, and threw the old punctured one in the rubbish bin. So now, I've got a nice new inner tube in my back wheel, and I'm all set to continue the journey. Plus, I was lucky enough to be able to buy everything that I was missing in my puncture repair arsenal; which means that if I get another flat on this journey, I'll be properly prepared for it and won't need any more tools. Hopefully, however, that's the first and the last flat tyre for Sicily.