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Trail Tips - Inner Tubes

Part Two

Welcome to the second post of a series of blog posts offering great tips on what to take with you on the trail and how it could save your ride.

Inner Tubes 

Well of course an inner tube has its main purpose but if I put ‘use as an inner tube’ this will be a pretty short blog entry, so some of these may be a little far-fetched but I need to make up the word count, bear with me, if nothing else you might get a little laugh out of it. 

Use as a sling after accident

Some people say if you are not riding to your limits you are not doing it right, well I ride to my limit, my credit limit. I ask myself before I hit that sketchy line if I crash could I afford the time off work 99% of the time it is no. Depending on how many energy drinks I have had previously I sometimes hit the line anyway. Luckily I have yet to break anything but I think that is due to my incredibly strong bones. For people not blessed with the bones of a rhino an inner tube makes a great sling for a broken arm or dislocated shoulder.

Use as an inner tube

Well it had to be included here so I will get it out of the way early an inner tube makes a fantastic replacement for a punctured inner tube. Smaller tubes can be stretched and used on different wheel sizes so a 650b will be fine on a 29er wheel, you can even use a 26 inch tube.

Use as a catapult to dislodge a drone from a tree

This is a rich rider’s problem at the moment but prices will soon come down and we can all feel the disappointment of the whirring sound that was following you suddenly sounding like a stone under a lawnmower then silence. I am of course referring to losing your auto following drone in a tree, with the use of a humble inner tube however and a projectile you can dislodge that drone just like the slingshot David used on Goliath. I would use this as a last resort because I can’t see the drone taking a pine cone full force and coming off too well.

Chainstay protector

This is a great use for a damaged inner tube, although it is still cheaper than buying an actual chain stay protector. You can wrap the entire tube around for maximum protection or use a cut up piece and to hold it in place use a few zip ties for a quiet chain slap free ride.

Flotation device for you or the bike

Want to practice your backflips but can’t find a foam pit nearby? Well just seek out a pond or lake pop an inner tube or two inside the spokes on the back wheel and inflate, that way when you land you won’t need a team of frog men to retrieve your bike. Of course submerging your bike in water over and over is not going to end well so reserve this method as a back-up if you ever transport your bike on a ferry or something.

Use as a mudguard

Remember those zip ties I told you to pack? If not go check out Blog 1 to see why you should, anyway back to the mudguard. If you turn up to a trail and realise that it is a full on mud pit (does not sound plausible but anyone who has grown up around moors or mountains know that they have their own weather systems up there) use an inner tube to save mainly your face and eyes from the onslaught of wet soil getting thrown rearward by your front tyre. Simply zip tie one end onto the forks crown then stretch the tube and attach the lower to the forks brace. If you are having trouble visualising it put inner tube mudguard into your favourite search engine and thank me later.

Use as a belt

Wardrobe malfunctions are always funny unless you are the one having them. I still fondly remember from my school days the time we had swimming in P.E and my friend who could easily have played for the Chicago Bulls in terms of height brought a hand towel to dry off by mistake instead of a regular towel, it may as well have been a handkerchief, funny for us but not so much for him. Avoid being that guy by fashioning a belt out of an inner tube to keep your shorts up should your button/elastic fail.

Gladiator style sandals

Ever crashed so hard you lost a shoe? According to the internet (known for being 100% accurate and factual of course) bad accidents that result in a loss of shoes is a sign the unfortunate victim died, in which case you are better off using the inner tube to tie their legs together zombies and all. Of course those of us who know better may find ourselves shoeless either through losing it to a trail dog or just the forest floor only to be discovered years later by e-bike riders mocking our primitive bikes and our use of shoelaces and velcro. Easy solution Gladiator sandals, wrap those feet up like the Romans did they were full of great ideas! Those of you with large feet may need a 29er tube.

Resistance band

We all know we should do them but it seems like such an effort right? Well yes, but it is majorly beneficial especially as you get older to have a good stretch and warm down before heading home especially if there is a long drive ahead. Use an inner tube as a resistance band it makes it easier and it helps with recovery time so go on stretch out those tired calves.

Clip in without cleats

For those of you who ride clipped in (personally I take the Sam Hill approach flat pedals for everything) you may have had the misfortune of losing a cleat bolt or even an entire cleat, or a spring failure in the pedal, see flats don’t look so bad now do they? Anyway just use an inner tube to strap your feet to the pedal. Slightly dangerous yes, but the stretch allows some give and it is totally hipster you could sell it to them as pedal straps for the new age man.

Scare away badgers

If you partake in night rides chances are you are going to encounter a badger especially in the summer months. Now as someone who has been on the receiving end of an angry badger, take it from me they are relentless. I did not employ this technique so I cannot guarantee the effectiveness of this but if it comes to it give it a go and let me know how it went. Inflate and then release air from an inner tube and the hissing might startle it enough to leave you alone, you could even use it as a fake snake unless it is a honey badger they will take on anything and in that case you may as well submit and await your fate but they usually don’t stray too far from Africa so you should be fine. If the first two fail try deflating it the odd fish smell that inner tubes seem to emit might even be enough, just watch out for the infamous big cat if you are riding the moors.