About a year and a half ago I wrote about mountain bikers’ carbon footprints (er, carbon tracks) and a press release from Performance Bike got me thinking about Green MTB once again. For most of us mountain biking wouldn’t be quite as appealing without beautiful, natural places to ride so we really have a vested interest in doing our part to protect the environment. Anyway, here’s a snippet from my first Green MTB post:
Assuming you drive an average of 15 miles each way to the trail and you go riding twice a week thats more than 3,000 miles of driving per year just to ride your mountain bike! I personally dont get to ride quite that often but when I do I generally take day trips of up to 100 miles from my home so 3,000 annual miles isnt much of a stretch for me. Anyway, 3,000 miles of driving releases over 1 ton of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere which you will promptly breathe back in when you finally get on the trail.
I went on to offer 3 tips for reducing carbon emissions associated with driving to trailheads and the good news is that the price of gas and IMBA’s Ride Center concept are helping with #1 and #3 respectively.
Performance Bike has identified another source of pollution associated with biking and it’s one I hadn’t thought of before: used inner tubes (and tires). It’s estimated that 14 tons of discarded bike tubes end up in landfills in the SF Bay Area alone each year – that’s a lot of used rubber! This weekend Performance is offering $5 gift cards to anyone who brings in old tubes to Bay Area stores where the tubes will be recycled and used in Alchemy Goods messenger bags and accessories. Unfortunately gel-filled and thorn resistant tubes can’t be recycled – just one more reason to go tubeless!
Performance Bike seems to be pretty committed to the environment in other ways as well and is offering $20 gift cards to Bay Area commuters to encourage biking to work. Back in 2006 Performance became the first national sports retailer to use 100% wind power for its stores. Nice.
Even if you aren’t in the Bay Area you can still find creative ways to re-use mountain bike tires and tubes. I use old tubes for chain stay guards and I’ve even seen MTB tires turned into bean bag chairs. The same properties that make rubber bad for the environment also make it super durable and almost infinitely reusable.
What are some other ways you’ve found to keep mountain biking green?
Thats great that people are willing to take them back..There is also another company http://www.splaff.com that will take your tubes.
What really makes me mad however is the discarded tubes on the trails that people leave after they repair their tire. WHY don’t they take them with them as dispose of them responsibly. WHY dirty the environment.
I saw the idea in a BMX catalog but I take my old tires and master links and make them into belts. They take some breaking in but its a green way to make a statement.
Pedro’s makes stuff (bags, etc) out of old tubes as well, though I don’t know of a way to “contribute to their cause.” Haven’t thought about the contribution portion before now, even though I do own one of their under saddle bags made out of old tubes.
On another note, slices of old tubes make wicked strong rubber bands. (too bad they’re so limited in length, but even that is flexible if you get creative with the angle you cut the tube.)
Bike Rack Cushion: If your bike rack ‘rubs’ marks on your frame, you can use sliced sections of tube as a cushion where your frame makes contact with the rack.
I’m NOT a DOCTOR…DON’T LISTEN TO ME!!
Sling/Splint Wrap/Bandage Cover/Tourniquet*(WARNING!)- I carry at least one spare tube in my Camelbak on local rides and 2-3 when I’m riding long or unfamiliar trails. While their primary purpose is to keep me rolling…If you get hurt out on the trail, tubes can be an invaluable first aid implement!
Sling- Drape tube over neck shoulder and immobilize arm in standard sling fashion…once you’ve ‘sized’ it, either tie the excess in a knot to take up slack or cut the tube in half and tie it in a granny knot to size. You can also laterally cut the(side facing the rim) to flatten and widen the tube to provide more support under your forearm.
Splint Wrap- Immobilize a broken limb. Find 2 straight sticks(1″+ diam.), cut the tube to make it like a length of rope. Wrap the tube around the sticks on the broken limb and tie off – be sure not to go too tight as to cut off circulation. The tube is great because it flexes and stays tight as you are moving. If you cannot find two straight sticks, this is also a great reason why you brought your tire pump and shock pump…use them in place of the sticks.
Bandage Cover- Similar to splint…after you bandage your wound, if you need additional protection/pressure on the wound – cut the tube laterally and flatten…cut a rectangular section out(about 12-16″ long). Now make 2 ‘ties’ on each end(4 total)…by cutting rectangles out of each end, should look like this: ]u[ Place the ‘panel’ that you created(the “u” part in the ]u[ ) over the bandaged area…use the 4 ties to tie around arm, leg, etc behind bandaged area to hold it in place.
Tourniquet- LAST RESORT FOR GUSHING WOUND… put tube on heart side of gushing wound, use a stick/pump to wind the tube to tighten the tourniquet and stop the flow of blood. Remember this is very temporary just to keep from bleeding out in a life threatening situation – don’t forget to release the tourniquet gradually over time.
*Make sure to consult proper first aid instructions and don’t count on these SUGGESTIONS to save life or limb.
Also…most all of this first aid above will require a knife or scissors, so don’t forget to bring them(Swiss Army Knife is perfect and cheap) too.
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