I had to replace a bike tube last week so I thought Iâ€™d share my story. I grabbed my mountain bike one morning and the front tire was flat. I filled it with air and went for a ride but the next morning the tire was flat again. After checking the tire I found an old Â¾ inch nail stuck straight in it. It was a typical slow leak but I was pretty darn happy the tube survived during the ride and who knows how long the nail was in there until the tube finally had problems. Anywaysâ€¦.
Over the years Iâ€™ve gotten into the habit of keeping a stack of six spare tubes in my garage and one in my Camelbak. Whenever I get a flat, Iâ€™d use the oldest spare tube in my Camelbak. Later Iâ€™d buy a new tube and add it the end of the stack of spare tubes in the garage. Iâ€™d grab the oldest tube in the stack and put it in my Camelbak.
I donâ€™t keep a record and knock on wood, but with this little rotation, I only go through 1 or 2 spare tubes a year and sometimes none. The tubes are the same weight but they just seem tougher having sat around a few years in my garage than brand new bike tubes. My thought process is that a garage, unfinished basement, etc is humid and goes through daily heat cycles, hot during the day and cold at night with varying degrees depending on the season. Iâ€™m no engineer but if you put a rubber tire through a heat cycle, the tougher it gets and the less likely it would break. A little humidity would keep the rubber from drying out and cracking.
I remember watching an old episode of the Tour De France or something and Discovery Teamâ€™s French mechanic said he stored the teamâ€™s bike tubes in his basement for seven years. The tubes looked half inflated or less but it was hard to tell. He claimed this process would keep them from going flat. I don't know the physics to this but it seems to work. Anyone else try something like this?