I decided that I'd try to fix it, though I doubted that I'd be able to. I had no option really though. It would have been the end of the holiday if the scooter was out of action. But it was a fine evening, and still light. And I'd only had two pints of strong beer.
I jacked the machine up using a length of driftwood as a lever and a rock as a support. The wheels were fastened on with deeply recessed 13mm studs. A socket wouldn't go in. Years ago I searched high and low for a set of box spanners ("Nobody uses them nowadays mate") and finally found one. The 13mm box spanner went into the hole but I couldn't turn it. The bar just bent. I found that I could fit a larger box spanner over the other end of the 13mm one and put a stronger bar through that box spanner, and I just managed to loosen the studs. I then found that the rims were split, the halves held together with 5mm hex drive machine screws. These were immovable. Eventually I found that applying torque with an allen key and tapping the key with a hammer for ages broke the seal. It took a long time but I got the screws out. They had been coated with a loctite-like substance.
Not knowing what I was going to find and still wondering about the alleged foam I prised the two halves of the rims apart. The tyre was stuck to one half. I was then able to pull out the inner tube. There was no foam. I inflated the inner tube and soon found a pinhole. This was inconveniently next to a seam. With a torch and my ultra-close-up glasses I searched the tyre for the cause of the pinhole. It turned out to be a thorn. The only way I could remove it was to push it through from the outside using the back end of a darning needle.
I got the puncture repair kit from my bike saddle bag. It had never been opened. I begun to feel optimistic, for the first time. Maybe I would be successful.
I marked the pinhole and sanded the area to roughen it. I broke the seal on the tube of rubber glue and squeezed it. There seemed to be some air in it. Eventually I realised that the tube contained only air. There was no trace of glue whatsoever. My optimism evaporated.
In order to travel the next day to find a shop that sold rubber glue I would have to reassemble the wheel so that I could get the scooter into the trailer. I was so annoyed. I was an hour and a half into the job.
I had a vague idea that I had another puncture repair kit somewhere, despite there being no logical reason why I should have. Nevertheless I started searching in the back on the van. Within seconds I found a very old and battered, but unopened, puncture repair kit. This had a tube labelled 'rubber glue' that actually contained rubber glue.
I patched the pinhole and put a second bigger patch over the first one. This was the first time I'd repaired a puncture since 1963. I rubbed the chalk over the area and was able to reassemble the wheel and fit it on the scooter with no trouble. I cautiously inflated the tyre to 20psi rather than the normal 30psi.
The next day it was still OK. The holiday continued.
There's nothing I can do about the empty tube of glue, but I'll be onto the vendor of the scooter. I'll be wanting my money back for the 'foam'.
The inner tube turned out to be a 12.5 x 4.00 size; rather a rare beast it seems. It's sold by the disability industry, which is a rip-off industry if ever there was one, at £19. Seems far too expensive to me compared to more common sizes.