Old Tube Hacks

I hate changing flats. It's no secret; I complain long and loud every time I have to break out the tire levers. And while other riders can have a bad tube swapped and patched in a flash, it never fails to take me 20+ minutes to get everything rolling again.

Luckily, I don't get flats often, but that's a double-edged sword. On the one hand, "yay more time for riding!" - on the other hand, that peaceful, problem-free time is always juuuust long enough that I forget everything I've learned from last time and my next tube-swap is just as error-prone and aggravating as ever.

But there is another upside! Once the new tube is in, and the old tube has already been patched to pieces, you've got yourself one of the most handy bike hack tools around - the used (but hardly useless) tube! In today's post we'll run through the best uses for all that old rubber you've got laying around - let's get creative!

Bar Padding

Hands complaining about rough rides on hard bars? Got big mitts that need a little more to hang on to? Just toss an old tube under the tape and you'll be ready to roll!

All you need for this hack is an old tube or two, a pair of scissors, and some bar tape! Snip your tube so it's a long strip, then tuck and wrap right over your bare bars like you're applying bar tape. Once you've done both sides, wrap the bars normally with your "finishing" tape and you've got some perfectly padded grips!

It's a great solution for thin cloth or leather bar tape, so you can still rock the classic look, but with modern comfort.

Load Securing

I love my cargo net, but if you left home without one, a spare tube makes a great bungee/tie-down in a pinch!

Cut strips to whatever lengths you need, or just wrap the whole tube over the load and rack, and double it back rubber band style until everything's tight! Boom, instant stretchy straps!

Frame Protection

Chain slap beating up your frame? Bullhorns or drops bashing your top tube? Roommate's bike dinging up your paint? Cover up problem spots with a quick tube wrap and you've got instant paint protection in the coolest accessory color around: black!

A small strip, cut, wrapped, and secured with electrical tape doesn't look out of place and it really softens those impacts that can leave you dinged up and depressed. 

That one's especially valuable if you'd have metal on metal contact there, for instance with bullhorns and track grips.

And there's plenty more to be done with spare tubes now that you've got an eye towards their versatility! So stop letting that rubber go to waste.

What's your favorite (re)use for old tubes? Let us know in the comments, ride happy, and we'll see you out there!