4 Cool Ways to Recycle Used Bicycle Tubes

It’s a grim reality that not all damaged bike tube can be patched back to life. Sometimes, tires get too worn or damaged to even be of any good use at all. Now that does not mean that old bike tubes will go to the junkyard at this point. Given a little bit of ingenuity, however, you can give old tires a new life.

Bike tubes have a lot of use, given the versatility of its material, being very easy to cut and fashioned into different shapes for a variety of purposes. If you want to try it out yourself, here are a few neat ideas that you can certainly use.

Build a Ride Case to Protect Your Stuff

An old tube can be pretty much anything. So long as there are ample amounts of material left in it, you can fashion it into just about any object. One simple and really useful item that you can create with old bike tubes is a purse that you can put your valuables in and secure them., Smaller tubes can be very useful for creating slimmer storage for tools.

Here’s how you can get one done.

  1. Cut the tube open and lay it flat on the table, after which you measure and cut out what you need for the purse. It helps to use references, like the object that you intend to store in it.
  2. Fold the resulting sheet in a way that one of the sides is a little longer so as to create the flap. Make sure the tube’s inner surface faces out, and then sew the sides.
  3. Once done, turn the whole thing inside out.
  4. Add Velcro strips or snaps for closure.
  5. You can then add your own personal touches, but this is pretty much it.

A Fashionable Rubber Belt

Who says recycling can’t be fashionable? Indeed it is, and in the case of used bike tires, you can make yourself a belt that will easily go with your riding gear. For this one, however, you will need a little bit more creativity and aesthetic sense. Naturally, this is most suitable for more serious or experienced craftspeople, especially those with a good sense of fashion and design.

Want to go for it, regardless? Here’s a quick tutorial for a four-piece braid belt:

  1. Slice the tube into four uniform strands.
  2. Attach the strands around the middle of a pre-made or purchased buckle.
  3. Braid the strands starting from the ends attached to the buckle.
  4. Bind the strands at the end with a few stitches.

Tube Holder

Need to keep that spare tube neatly tucked inside your pocket or the seat post for easy repairs? Well, old tubes can be used in place of more fragile rubber bands. Simply cut a long, narrow strip off of a used tube and use it to hold your untarnished spare tube in place. The tube’s material will not snap as easily as any elastic band, thus saving you the risk of accidents from suddenly unravelling spare tubes and the potential injuries and embarrassment that may ensue.

Home-made “Super Floss”

Stretching is very important, and we all know that. However, there are just some areas in our legs that are very hard to reach and get mobilised. A floss can easily provide a fix for that problem, but this can be quite expensive. A great alternative to this is one made from used bike tubes. While it can be a little shorter than one that you can buy from the market, it is still good enough and works all the same. All credits to this one goes to Mobility WOD’s Kelly Starrett, and you can check out his YouTube videos if you are looking to learn how to use this tool.

Making one is as easy as following these two steps:

  1. Cut the stem off.
  2. Split the inner tube into two.

There are so much more things that you can do with all those used bike tubes lying in your garage. Bringing life to all that junk would require some imagination, ingenuity, and a lot of exploration and experimentation. Go ahead, do yourself and nature a favour, and give it a try.

Paula R. Buckland

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