Two Letters Re: Survival Bikes

Mr. JWR:
A suggestion for the old bike tubes when they need to be replaced; cut out the stem and slit them along the inside of the tube curve, all the way around.  Lay it inside the wheel and nestle the new tube inside it.  You now have an additional rubber layer between the new tube and the puncture threats of the road. – Adventane

Dear Mr. Rawles,
I have “lurked” for several months on your site and have learned a great deal from it. Regarding Banjo’s article about survival bikes, he did not mention these solid rubber inner tubes, like these:

Bell No-Mor Flats Bike Inner Tube, 26-x 1.75-Inch to 1.95-Inch

They are available at Wal-Mart online and I have found them in store locally. They should be available at good bike specialty shops as well. I have used them on my garage sale purchase mountain bike for the last 5 or 6 years.

They take a good bit of effort to install but follow the instructions and use a plastic bike “tire iron” and they will pop right on.
I learned of them from a now deceased friend who rode in an area of very abrasive sandy soil which “ate” regular inflatable tubes. He swore by them and he was right. Check them out.
I hope some of your readers find this of use. – John from Texas

JWR Replies: Foam-filled tires and solid rubber tires have been previously discussed in SurvivalBlog. They do indeed have some utility, particularly in situations where you don’t have access to a bike shop. (For example because of living in a remote location or because of economic disruption.) However, the rolling resistance of these tires is high. This makes riding tiresome, especially over long distances. So my advice is yes, do buy a pair of them, but put them on a spare set of rims. That way your can switch back and forth, and enjoy the best of both worlds.