Thursday, May 17, 2012

Bike Tire Belt

Yesterday I noticed a funny bulge in the rear tire of my road bike. I had a sudden swell of pride arise within me when I realised  I had worn out my first bike tire! It felt just like the first time I had to replace my running shoes. Because I had run 700 miles in them, not because they were the same color as my lawn. I put 2,732 miles on that tire in the last three years, and I'm damn proud of that (in case you're thinking that's not that much, I also put in 2,700 on a spinning bike in the gym). Being this was the first time I had to replace a bike tire I learned this tidbit - road bike tires cost the same as car tires, but are 1/20 the size.

A few years ago my fiance bought me a belt made out of a road bike tire. It's been my favorite belt for some time now. I figure that turning this tire into a belt would be a fitting tribute to the blood, sweat, and gears that tire has been through with me. That tire was there when I was hit by the car. And it was there through the three triathlons I trained for (and the two I competed in (refer to the part about being hit by a car for why I didn't compete in all three)).

If riding a bull for 8 seconds gets you a buckle, I think 200 hours on a bike should get you the whole frickin' belt. So today, I turned it into a belt.

It took me about an hour to make, and as always, I'm sure I can do the next one much quicker.

The hardest part was cutting through the steel cable that makes up the bead that holds the tire on the rim. I tried cutting it with my tin snips, to no avail. Then I tried wire snips. This eventually worked, with some manipulation, but it was very difficult. The best way through it was using my Dremel and a cutting disk. Once through the bead, I was able to cut the tire very easily with my tin snips.

My fiance has a special hole punch/rivet squisher/snap fastener tool that I used to punch the holes in the belt. Then I cut a small 1/2" section out of an old mountain bike tube for the strap. She also had this belt that was long past its prime. I'm assuming it didn't have a great deal of personal meaning to her (like she'd used it as a tourniquet to save a life, or to snag a large ring of skeleton keys from a bumbling guard's belt in some sort of epic prison escape).

Since the belt was shot, I removed the buckle and connected it and the strap to the tire using... now I hate to have to digress here. In past posts you've had to deal with such juvenile things as "high torque movements." But even in my most juvenile moments I can't make this kinda stuff up. I asked my local Ace Hardware guy for a specific type of nut and screw to attach the buckle to the belt. I explained what I needed to him and he said "Ah, you need a sex bolt and mating screw." I said "Beg your pardon?" I'm beginning to suspect that some middle-management suck-up in the parts department of Acme Hardware and Clock Parts asked his son's 8th grade gym class to name a couple of parts in their spring catalog.

So, sex bolts, mating screws, and all, I now have a trophy representing the 5,400 miles of cycling I've put in over the last three years.


  1. Very cool Macgyver. Somehow I don't think the NY Jeans stamp on the belt buckle quite fit the story though.

    1. Wow! I'm surprised you were able to read that. I can barely read it when I'm holding it in my hand. That's the buckle off of the fiance's "well past its prime" belt.

  2. 5400 miles! What were you thinking!?! Don't you know that your body only has so many miles left? Don't waste them spinning your wheels, so to speak... Seriously. No, seriously, that's very impressive, and the belt is a very cool trophy.

  3. Andy Query you're my hero. Love, Jillie