The one thing that you want to be in good shape when you need it is your spare tube.
I just store mine in my bike pouch wrapped in a tie wrap. Or sometimes in the original box that the tube came in.
The thing about storing your tube in your bike pouch is that it’s sitting in there with pieces of metal and plastic for months, traveling thousands of miles and the millions of small back and forth motions that go along with that.
I learned a hard lesson about this when moving to college one year, and we piled stuff in the back of the truck. A bicycle pedal was propped up against the back of a piece of furniture (thankfully the back), and by the time we reached school just 80 miles later, the pedal had worn a hole clear through the back of the furniture. A similar thing may be happening inside your bike pouch.
The same thing’s happening, by the way, with the cables and ties on your bike as well. That’s for another post,
How long has your inner tube been sitting in your bike pouch wearing away with the miles?
We can do some things to make sure that tube is ready for action when it’s most needed.
Here are 8 Tips for Storing your Inner Tube
Wrap it in something protective, like an old sock. Our own Ray does this. I’d use something very lightweight, like a dress sock, or even a woman’s nylon sock.
Store it in a ziplock bag with baby or talcum powder. The talcum powder is a lubricant and will help prevent any of those rubbing issues. Plus, powder on the tube will make it much easier to get it into the tire when you’re changing a flat.
Store it in the original box. Tube manufacturers have already figured out how to package the tube in a very small space, and have conveniently put it in a box for you. Just leave it in there. You’ll gain a little bulk that way, but the box will crush down a bit if it needs to. This is a great way to see that wear that can happen over the miles as the box’s decoration will get worn away. Check it out after a season.
Don’t wrap your tube in a rubber band. Sometimes different rubbers react with each other, and if the rubber band you’re using reacts with your tube, it could weaken the inner tube, causing it to crack.
Do wrap your tube in something rubber-safe, like a tie-wrap.
Store your tube with the cap on the valve. The pointy part of a Presta valve can work itself into the wrong place and work a hole into your tube.
Don’t store your bike near a heat source, like in direct sunlight, or near a heater. Heat will cause tubes to dry and become brittle.
Take the tube out once in a while. Inspect it for damage and even inflate it to check for leaks.
Some good practices and prevention will pay off when it matters. On the side of the road.