Monday, January 7, 2013

What To Do with Old Bicycle Tubes? DIY Elastics

A few months ago I slow leak in my bike tire that I put off changing for ages. I'd just pump it up every other time that I went out. Then finally, it was time to change the tube, so I reluctantly popped the rear wheel off & brought it into my kitchen to change. It took less time than I expected (it'd been ages--I never seem to get flats these days, knock on wood) to put in a new tube. I would have patched it, but the leak was a gash at the edge of the valve stem. So what to do with the otherwise in perfect condition but unpatchable tube?

I realized, after it had been sitting in our kitchen junk drawer for a month or two, that cutting a thin section crosswise through the tube made a great hair elastic. The rubber is grippy but doesn't pull my hair out when I remove the elastic. Though very strong--I haven't had one break yet, which I can't say for any of the hair elastics I've ever paid for in stores--the rubber is easy to cut with any household scissors. I found if I cut it one millimetre wider, the elastic didn't stretch as much as I liked & it was hard to wrap twice around my ponytail. (about 3 millimetres wide is my preference.)

Here's the tutorial in a sentence: get an old bike tube, cut across with scissors & try different widths until you find the stretchiness you like. 

If you don't have long hair, you might still have a need for small elastics--they could be useful for bundling stuff up, packing away your Christmas decorations, attaching plants to stakes when gardening, connecting cabinet knobs to keep toddlers or pets out of lower cabinets... I'm sure you'll think of something.

What do you do with your old bike tubes? Got any brilliant ideas or know of any awesome tutorials online? Share them in the comments below!

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