At swim practice this morning, my coach wrote the usual type of workout on the board…warm ups, main, pull sets, etc with one tiny exception…ankle ties 6x50. By ankle ties, she meant a spent bike tube, cut into thirds or a bit smaller and knotted to look like this:
Basically, you slip the loop around your ankles and TRY to swim. It's a tough drill, but essentially the tie "removes" your legs from the drill and forces you to develop a more horizontal body position using core muscles OR it feels like you are swimming shaped like a "L". But like all good drills, it feels crazy awkward at first and then improves your swim.
(Note: Probably the only piece of Tri equipment in the history of time that didn’t cost big $$$.)
We all joked about what we could use the tubes for instead of pull sets-I’ll spare you the details.
I started seriously wondering during my pull sets (instead of focusing on form), how else could I re-purpose a spent bike tube? So, here’s what I did…I went online to get a few ideas and started playing around with scissors. I saw crocheted doormats, stitched pencil bags, messenger bags, earrings and soooo many awesome ideas that I just didn’t have the energy or desire to pursue. But, I did get some ideas that were at my crafty-ness level.
So below, you will find my minimal-effort, tube re-purposing ideas…just make sure you wash the tubes (they get pretty gross) and don’t use the kind that have slime or are thorn-resistant.
- PATCH IT-it’s not hard to do, but holds about 50% of the time, so may be worth a shot.
- Ponytail holders or rubber bands of any thickness. I like to cut a really long piece-maybe 10 inches long so I have enough to tie off and use on the end of a braid or loose-ish pony. I’m especially fond of the wrap look for the end of a braid or tie at the top and wrap in an X pattern around a super thick braid. Sort of bad-ass, dominatrix style. Just slip it through the ponytail so it doesn't fall out if it becomes loose.
- Hang a thin loop over the rear view mirror mount to hang my glasses on so I don’t end up sitting on them in my car. It happens.
- Use a long, knotted strip around your water bottle on the pool deck for more grip. Or use around any sunblock or spray bottle where you need more grip.
- Cut a stretch of about 12” and slide over the chains on a swing set. Or cut almost entire length for hand grips to cover or wrap around wheel barrel handles. Secure with Gorilla Glue and water-proof tape.
- Wash well and use a flattened piece as a jar opener.
- Take some long, thin strips and braid. Use the skinniest strips (think the size of stretchy thread or yarn) to secure the ends. Braid into a kick-ass Road ID bracelet.
- Remember those little rubbery-foamy things we used to slip over our pencils in grade school? I wrap a piece about two inches wide and apply it width-wise, scratch the ends a bit for a roughened surface and secure with Gorilla Glue or even easier, wrap a piece of cute Duck tape around it.
- Use a piece to hold the end of a loose helmet strap down then you can trim the ends...worked great on my daughter’s lacrosse helmet.
- Use around a slippery shampoo bottle-especially the little ones that we often bring in our gym bags or to the pool.
- Use a tiny piece around your dog’s tags as a silencer (for the tags, not the dog! LOL!)
- Chainstay protector and secure with a bit of waterproof tape
- Use as a bumper inside the vice grip in your garage to prevent scratching
- Use to secure a Tupperware lid instead of a rubber band that will snap in two seconds. I always bring a certain type of powdered creamer with me and put it into a tiny square plastic tub that I definitely do not want to open in my gym bag.
- Use appropriate lengths of cut tube over bike racks to prevent scratches
- Use a small piece around your CO2 cartridge to prevent frozen fingers. Like the pencil cover idea.
- Work out bands around a doorknob (like cheap-o thera-bands)
- ONLY IF DESPERATE, small bits of tube can be used as fire-starters…wrap a very small bit around some kindling and light. Super non-eco-friendly, but I said, only in an emergency. I've never tried this myself, but seems to work. Please be careful, but may save someone someday, so I had to include it.
- Make ankle ties for all your friends at swim-they will thank you. Not really.
Just please don’t pitch them in the bin/landfill.
UPCYCLE! Contact your local REI store. Many stores have partnered with Alchemy Goods & Green Guru to collect and upcycle tubes into some really amazing messenger bags, wallets, etc. (Awesome gift for the bike lover in your house-YOU or maybe your training bestie!) Check it out here.
(The closest REI to me is about two hours away, so I decided instead of just getting super upset when I have to dispose of a tube to do something about it. I am working with Alchemy Goods to get a program started locally, and so can you. They are really helpful and are very responsive!)
Basically, use an old tube anywhere that can protect, prevent scratches or insulate…so many possibilities. I just wouldn't use it directly on food. I’d love to hear about your favorite uses of old tubes.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle it Sirens!
Written by Andrea Rutsky, Siren Luminary
Follow Andrea on Instagram! @trailyogaaaahh