101 Uses for Bike Tubes

Rubber is an amazing material. It can stretch and mold itself to different shapes. You can block airflow with it. You can also use it for resistance training, or to protect the paint on your bike.
A bike tube can support an enormous amount of weight and stress. There really are dozens of uses for this magical stuff that often gets thrown away.
The most valuable thing about bike tubes is that they're free. Walk into any bike shop and ask for 'dead tubes' and chances are the person will joyfully give you as many as you want.

Tie Downs

BoundBikes bamboo trailer

Whether your load is large or small. Whether you carry stuff with a cargo bike or on a trailer. A few bike tubes are incredibly effective at keeping your posessions held firmly in place while you coast down that hill on your bike.

Mattress bike move

Even when the weather is less then ideal, bike tubes along with a good quality tarp will do a great job keeping your cargo in place. They're waterproof and don't lose tension when the conditions change.

Get a Grip

Bike Tube Handle

'Alwyn' over at GCN Tech shares his solution to creating a home-made chain whip for repairing his bike. He used a piece of bike tube to provide a cushiony handle with plenty of grip.

Chair Webbing

Tube Web Chair

With a little creativity you can build yourself a nice looking chair simply by weaving bike tubes across each other and securing them to any chair frame.

Opening Jar Lids

Opening stubborn jar lids

We've all had that one stubborn pickle jar or container lid that refuses to unscrew. If your hands are wet then the situation is even harder. Some people will try to gently bang the edge of the lid on a counter, but if the force is wrong then the jar can break. Instead, you can keep a large piece of bike tube for these purposes. Or if you don't use large-diameter mountain bike wheels then you can wrap a thin length of bike tube around the lid edge to give yourself that extra grip, and pull the lid free.

Hanging Stuff

Opening stubborn jar lids

Over the years I've learned that having tools kept in a visible place (as opposed to hidden inside a toolbox) makes it easier to find the one that I need. However there's only so much shelf space and something as large as a dremel tool wont hang on the wall so easily. So I used two strips of bike tube to hang it from the underside of a shelf. If you want to attach a tube to a flat surface (without knotting it) then it helps to use a washer so the tube doesn't pull out around the screw head.

Protect from Scuffing

Scratch resistant foot

I threw this little holder tool together one afternoon to help me work on an electrical project. It's similar to a product called the 'Helping Hand' device. Since my work surface was somebody's old wooden dresser I didn't want the steel bottom to leave scratches. So a piece of tube stretched over the two 'feet' took care of that.

Protecting Fingers

Tire swing

If you've ever been worried about kids getting fingers caught in the links of a tire swing chain then here is a simple solution. All you have to do is run the chain through a length of bicycle tube and fingers will instantly be protected.

Tie Loose Ends

Graden hose organizer

If large extension cords or garden hoses are getting out of control, then a bike tube is a great solution for keeping everything in it's place. You can tie one end of the coil then stretch it across and tie the other end so there's no extra length of the bike tube to get caught on anything.

Stopping Drafts

Door draft cushion

Many people will put a cushion or towel in front of a drafty door to keep the cold air out. But this has to be pushed back in place whenever someone goes through the door. On the other hand, a bike tube can be used to great effect to permanently solve this problem.

Wood door draft cushion

If your door is made out of wood, then you can use small screws to put a strip of bike tube around the perimeter and stop heat from leaking out. If you don't want to put holes in your door, you can use double-sided tape as Hugh Scott shows in this instructables page.

Metal Door draft cushion

On the other hand, if your door is made of metal, then you can use magnets to hold your tubey weatherstripping in place. For higher effectiveness, cut the tube a little longer then the door, seal one end with staples and fill it with enough sand to fill about 1/3 of the tube. The sand will hold the tube against the floor. Seal the other end and then stick the tube in place with your magnets.

Tool Organizer

Tool holder

Keep all your tools, scrapers, screwdrivers, etc nicely organized with this innovative kit. This 7 step guide will show you how to make it.

Bike Tube Belt


If you have a sewing machine, you can make an amazing belt with just an old bike tube and a metal clasp. Instructables gives you instructions on how to make this.

Bike Frame Protection

Bike frame wrap

It often happens that you're in a hurry and you lean your bike against the bike rack only to have it slide, leaving a big scratch in your paint. An easy way to keep your bike in good condition is to wrap the critical parts of the frame (especially the top tube) with bike tubes. Use electrical or duct tape to hold the tubes in place. Or you could even use thin strips of bike tube to tie down the ends.


Messenger bag

If you do decide to purchase products, then you can find a wealth of things created out of bike tubes from bags to clothing. A company called The Spotted Door offers carrying options made from recycled bike tubes.

Colorful bracelet from bike tubes

Urban Lace Jewelry creates stunning accessories from recycled bike parts.

A number of independant crafts people have made all kinds of things from repurposed stuff. Here are a few.
Kendra Newman Pintarest has a great many other sources. Looking further on the web, you can find ideas here or look at this instructables

More Ideas

This video offers a whole host of ideas from removing a stripped bolt to resistance training.