What to do with a dodgy tube?

October 2, 2012 at 21:11 | Posted in bicycles | 2 Comments
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My rear tyre kept going flat. Just slowly, but obviously enough that I was putting much more air into it than the one on the front. Then, on Wednesday, I got my bike out of the garage to go to work and it had gone really very soft.

A puncture. I’d been putting it off, but now I had to do it. Luckily I had a bit of spare time, so I quickly felt around the outside of the tyre. I quickly found a large bit of splintered glass embedded in the rubber. ‘That’s probably what is was.’, I thought, and rather than taking the wheel off (no quick-release on the fixie) I just levered the tyre off at the point and pulled a bit of the tube out to patch the hole. If the hole was there it was too small to see, and I couldn’t feel any sharp edge inside the tyre either , so the splinter seemingly hadn’t got through the kevlar puncture protection layer. Whatever – I had a new tube, so I whip the wheel off, replace the tube, get it all back together and off we go – all done and dusted in less than ten minutes.

This weekend, I had a spare moment, so thought I’d patch up the old tube. Put some air in, put it in a bowl of water and go around to find the hole. Nothing obvious at first, but then it was quite a slow puncture. Put some more air in to stretch it a little, and go around more carefully. That tell-tale stream of bubbles remains obstinately absent.

Put more air in to really stretch it father than recommended, and go around really carefully, and inch at a time, pulling it as I go.

Nothing.

All very strange. A very very very slow puncture? Dodgy valve? Who knows. It’s now been inflated in the garage for two or three days, with no apparent air leakage.

So now I’m debating what to do with the tube. Of the options below, which would you recommend?

  1. It’s obviously fine. Pack it up in your seat bag as your spare.
  2. It’s obviously dodgy. Chop it up and use it to pad out that new rear light fitting that’s too big to fit securely on the seat stays.
  3. It might be dodgy. Buy a new spare, but keep it for emergency use.
  4. Give it to a friend as a gift.
  5. Eeeeygh, I can’t believe you tested a used inner tube in your kitchen sink. That’s so unhygienic.
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