Last week, we ran a QT offering a few suggestions for what you might do with your old tubes after a puncture. We asked readers to add their own creative uses for this most versatile piece of worn-out equipment to the Comments below the Newsletter version of the article. Several did, and a few more emailed us with their own novel uses. I promised I’d run a follow-up. Here it is. Enjoy! —J.M.
Zvi Wolf wrote:
I used a section of tube to make a chain slap protector for the right chainstay of my MTB. You can use small pieces to protect your bike and prevent movement when mounting things to the frame or seat post. Another thing I’ve used old tubes for is to hold non-locking file cabinets closed when moving them. The uses are pretty much endless.
Greg Titus wrote:
I used to patch tubes, but, like Richard M., don’t anymore. Just not worth the bother. But back in the days when I did patch, I’d put the patched tube on the wheel and carry a new one for my spare. That way the patched tube proved its reliability (some I’d use for over a year), and I’d always have a new reliable spare on the bike. Using a patched tube for your spare when you haven’t ridden on it is taking an obvious risk…you’re testing it at a time when it’s critical that it has to work and you don’t really know if it will or not. A new spare tube is much more reliable.
I still patch tubes using glueless patches, which for me can hold up for the life of the tube which is around 5 to 8 years. I’m not going to spend $9 on a tube every time I get a flat, what a waste of resources. I’ve had as many as 15 glueless patches on a tube.
Anyway, uses for old tubes, those ofyou that have CF bikes can wrap an old tube tightly around the chainstay to prevent chain slap from damaging the CF stay. If you have problems with loose bottles or stainless steel bottles that rattle too much, simply wrap the portion of the bottle that contacts the cage with an old tube, no more possible ejections and no more noise. You can cut an old tube and use it as a tire liner to reduce flats. Those with fenders can make a rubber end flap and glue it on the end of the fender. If you’re into knitting or crocheting (not sure which is the correct term since I don’t do either) you could save up a bunch of tubes and make yourself a doormat, or have someone who knows how to make one! The doormat comes out looking pretty good, too. I had a friend into crocheting, I think it is, and she made one and it looks better than the ones you find at home improvement places, and the durability is quite high.
Harald Portig wrote:
I have passed a chain that I use to lock up my bike through an old tube. In this way the links of the chain will not ding the paint.
Coach David Ertl wrote:
If you plant trees and stake them up, tubes are great for wrapping around the stem to stabilize it and doesn’t harm the tree trunk. I recently planted a tree and fortunately got a flat soon after to use for my tree. From now on I’m going to keep a stash of tubes on hand so I don’t need to wait for the next flat to plant a tree.
Mark “Killa” Barrilleaux wrote:
Here’s a photo of a slightly different, less practical use for old inner tubes – displaying my Lone Star State pride.
I have used an old MTB tube to make “Tires” for my desk chair to keep it from wearing out or scratching our laminated flooring. The chair has 5 spokes and on each spoke there are two plastic wheels that dirt and sand can embed into and cause scratches, I cut ten sections about 1/2 inch wide. They look sort of like rubber bands. Then I used a little Elmer’s rubber cement on each wheel to keep the sections from coming off. The chair rolling quieter is another benefit.
The company Alchemy Goods makes products out of recycled inner tubes. I have a belt from them that I like. You can donate your old tubes to Alchemy in several ways, including dropping them at any REI bike shop. Here’s a link to the company site: www.alchemygoods.com/pages/recycling
Bill Kaufner wrote:
Cut a tube into a 5-inch piece. Place garlic pieces inside. Press down and roll back and forth on your kitchen counter or cutting board. Garlic skin gets peeled off. This use replicates kitchen store garlic peel tubes.
Dan Cogan wrote:
A 4- to 6-inch length of old tube is excellent for unscrewing a stuck filter from a camera lens. I keep a tube scrap in each of my camera bags.
John Tonetti wrote:
I cut up old inner tubes and put them over CO2 cartridges. It keeps them from rattling, and also keeps your fingers from freezing when you’re using them.
As always, if you’re so moved, keep the conversation going in the Comments section below the Newsletter version of this article.
If you have an idea for a QT, fire away. We’re always looking for good info we can share with fellow roadies. We would love to hear from you with any suggestions you have. Contact us by clicking Quick Tips Ideas.
—John Marsh & The RBR Team