TubeFob: Handy Bicycle Inner Tube Luggage Tie




Introduction: TubeFob: Handy Bicycle Inner Tube Luggage Tie

TubeFob: Handy Bicycle Inner Tube Luggage Tie

This is how I carry a strip of inner tube that can be used to tie down groceries etc. to the luggage rack of my bike. As fellow makers will appreciate, this stuff has many other uses.
Why not add inner tube to your Every Day Carry alongside paracord and duct tape!

Over the winter, on my rides home, I made a habit of buying more groceries than my rucksack would hold. Standing in the cold, digging through my bag, I could never find any cord or bungee. One time, I used my belt, but I have not yet resorted to my bootlaces! This stopped being fun . . .

Introducing TubeFob

Never again will you be without a strong, stretchy and grippy solution to secure your bicycle luggage!

Step 1: Tools and Materials


  • Old bicycle inner tube
  • Paracord (or similar)
  • Keychain attachments: split rings; carabiner
  • Keychain gadgets (optional)
  • Bike bits: e.g. chain links (optional)
  • Scissors
  • Lighter (optional)

Step 2: Scavenge/Hunt for Inner Tubes

I have a big bag full of old inner tubes (they seem to breed).

Or you can go for a bike ride and pick them up off the road.
I have found many on my bike rides.
This is both picking up litter and recycling!

Or you could ask at a local bike shop.

Step 3: Slice and Wash the Tubes

1. Unscrew the valve cap and valve and add them to your spares box (waste not want not).

2. Cut off the valve section and discard.

3. Cut a few ranger bands (rings) and save.

4. Slit down the length of the tube along one of the seams.

5. Throw the tubes into the washing machine with your bike cleaning cloths (not your clothes).
This will remove all the powder and restore the rubber to shiny and grippy, like new.

Step 4: Cut the Tubes Into Strips

When dry, cut the tubes into strips about 1 - 1.5 inches wide.
Use the seams as a guide.
Long decorating scissors work great for this.
I usually get 2 normal width and 1 more a bit thinner (YMMV, depends on the tube).

Step 5: Get Knotty

The centre is just a cord loop with a big knot.
You can make it as long as you like.
Use the lighter to melt the cord ends, so they do not fray.

Make a simple overhand knot or get ambitious with a monkey's fist or lanyard knot.
Check out Stormdrane
or Tying It All Together
for inspiration.
WARNING: Knot tying can be addictive.

Step 6: Assemble

I find that the best length for the inner tube strip is around 3 feet.
This makes a fairly compact fob but stretches to about 6 feet in use.

Wrap one strip of inner tube around the knotted cord loop, stretching slightly as you go.
Add a ranger band to secure.

Add a split ring or carabiner.

Step 7: Customise and Personalise!

Think of ideas for things to add to the TubeFob keychain or place in the centre.

TIP: You can make items keychain-compatible by taping a paper clip to them.

Alternatiely, you can store the inner tube around something you always carry, e.g. pump, tyre levers, puncture repair kit etc.

Step 8: How to Use

The strips usually hold with one overhand knot.
When tension is applied, the rubber grips itself.
For best results, as you tie, stretch the strips up to twice their length.

Thank you for your interest and encouragement.
Johan J Shaw's Blog
Johan J Shaw's YouTube

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    9 years ago on Introduction

    I once made a VERY long and VERY sturdy rubberband (closed loop) from a bike-tire.
    Simply cut the tube ONLY along the seam and not 90° to it as you did to remove the valve. To start just poke a pointed scissor into it and go from there. Just discard/save for another project the band with the valve in it. :)
    This way you end up with a 28" long closed rubber-loop you dont need to knot since you never cut the tube in half (only the long way).

    But if you washed them (as you explained perfectly) they stick quite well and you can also "close" the cut rubber and re-form a closed loop this way.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for the comment. I was going for compact and handy (there-when-you-need-it factor) with this. I can't believe I have never made one like you describe. That would be great for daily use and strong. Ha, will be making this soon. Cheers!


    8 years ago

    Kayakers will love this. Great idea.


    9 years ago on Step 7

    Hi JohanJShaw,
    Thanks for sharing and for the inspiration.
    I've used inner tubes for luggage tie for some time now. But it's for my small scooter, so i never thought of fancying it like you do. just chuck it in the under-seat compartment. I always thought it doesnt look too tidy down there, but never got the need to pursue it creatively like you did..



    9 years ago on Introduction

    This is great except this little excerpt: "2. Cut off the valve section and discard."
    Why would you throw away a perfectly good valve section? Save it for another project.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    You are so right. Apologies for using the d-word on Instructables! Thanks!