This will be part of a series of editorials that will follow. They will be a bit different than the entries that I put together. Hopefully, they will make for interesting reading.
Since I brought up the subject about the looming oil crisis, I also mentioned the bike as a convenient form of transportation. What I did not mention was that the biggest problem is that bikes are more vulnerable to flats than cars. No matter how hard you try to avoid broken glass on the road, you still cannot avoid getting a flat. However, there is an innovation that enables the bike to no longer have flats. This came to be known as No-Mor Flats. I actually got to learn about them in the 1990s. They also have a very unusual history that still continues today.
No-Mor Flats is the product name for a solid inner tube tire for a bike wheel, both front and rear. If you know bicycle maintenance, you know about the parts of a bike wheel, front and rear. They comprise of the rim, tire, and inner tube. The inner tube is where you fill the air. This is where the subject of a solid inner tube comes in. The advantage is obvious: you no longer need to fill the inner tube with air and you no longer run the risk of getting a flat. You can ride your bike with greater peace of mind.
Try to imagine a sponge-like material made out of the same material as the tire and inner tube. That material is shaped according to the bike wheel measurement, ranging from 20x1.75 to 26x1.75/26x2.125. You insert between the rim and the tire (treads). My approach is to use three to four of the largest flat-head screwdrivers, muscle power, and a great deal of patience. The cost of the solid inner tube is about $20 per wheel (26x1 3/8 to 26x1.75/26x2.125). The cost may seem steep but has proven its worth.
Just how do you do you justify the cost of the solid inner tubes? The cost to have two of them for your bike would be about $40. Now try to imagine spending that much money on gas for your car. How long would it last? You will be lucky if the amount of gas in your car would last as long as two months. Those two solid bike tires would not only last more than two months but indefinitely. If you were to ride your bike for 40 days on a daily basis, it would be like one dollar well spent on those solid inner tubes. In short, using the solid inner tubes is not only a good investment but also cost-effective.
These solid inner tubes were originally made by Cyclo of Denver Colorado and came to be known as No-Mor Flats. They were marketed by Wal-Mart. The company even had its own website. What became of the company remains unknown. Unconfirmed rumors were that the oil industry had bought off the company in an effort to eliminate competition to their livelihood. Granted, these rumors do sound pretty exaggerated. When I saw the documentary movie Who Killed the Electric Car?, maybe the rumors about the oil industry don’t sound silly at all. The No-Mor Flats are now made by Bell Sports. How long that can last remains unknown.
Looking at the No-Mor Flats, they are clearly an ingenious low-tech innovation. They can easily be manufactured in the U.S. and in other nations and use recycled materials. Why this has never been pursued remains unknown. In light of the global economic uncertainty and possible oil crisis –which may be happening already, the No-Mor Flats may be part of the solution and represent resourcefulness that is sorely lacking.
Review and summary:
Official website link:
- Current Mood: optimistic