Just when you thought you had seen all of the possible uses for bicycle inner tubes destined for the trash, Jonathan from Belgium writes to us with a great hack. Not only is the repurposing aspect cool, Jonathan also talks about the "Bike Kitchen" concept which is super duper cool. Food, beverages, repairs all in one place, now that's what I call community! Text and photos below credited to Jonathan.
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You can often find me at the Bike Kitchen Ghent (Belgium). For those who don't know the bike kitchen concept, it is a place where people can drop by with a bike that needs some TLC (Tender Love and Care). It is visited by locals of all ages that want to repair their own bike but don't have all the knowledge and/or materials to do it completely by themselves.
All the needed tools are available, accompanied by some basic parts like brake shoes, cables and tube repair kits. On top of the hardware, you can get some help and instructions from experienced bike hackers. Of course we also provide a local brew beer and freshly made dinner. All the material, assistance, food and drinks are provided at 'free contribution', you just pay whatever you want to (or can) pay. Bike Kitchen Ghent is run completely by volunteers.
Usually we're only open on Thusday evenings, but recently we organised an entire weekend where we did a lot of bike-improvement. During that weekend we found a way to recycle old inner tubes that are beyond repair. We started with some antique chairs with a woven materials that we found lying around in disrepair. The old, worn-out seating was removed and replaced by woven inner tubes. It takes around 7 or 8 to repair one chair. When you take care to really tighten the tubes, and knot them together the on the underside, the chairs are surprisingly comfortable.
The first chair is already finished, next to it we have a broken chair that we'll first need to repair before we turn it into a sparkling new inner-tube-chair. The chairs and tires were destined for the local landfill but have now been recycled into usable objects.
Notice how the girl is sitting on the first inner-tube-chair while she's making the second one.
More cool photos are available via the kitchen Facebook page.