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  1. #1
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    Allergic to Bike Tubes...Any Suggestions?

    Since I was 16 I've had an EXTREME allergy to most types of rubber and bicycle tubes are diffinitely no no. All the years that I road my bmxs' around it wasn't that big of a deal, I was usally around some one that could fix it for me if I had a flat. But now I'm starting to ride road bikes and I really want to ride to work as much as possible when I move into my new place( its only 3.5 miles from the office, I really don't have any excuses not to since I'll be that close). Right now my only plan is to pack a bee-sting kit, some nitrile gloves along with a regular flat repair kit...and my cellphone so they can find my swelled up body in someones yard if it gets reeeeeally bad. Oh yeah, and to pray to the tire gods, ALOT!!!! Any one had to deal with this? Suggestions, maybe something I haven't thought of?

  2. #2
    Day Tourer blue steal's Avatar
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    Just a thought here. Do they make tubes that are not latex? Is that what you are having a reaction to? Or ride with a buddy who can fix the flats for you.
    Blue Steed

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    Tire rubber gets me too some times, but yeah, its mostly the latex in the tubes that get me.

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    Senior Member twinquad's Avatar
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    This sounds like a case where airless tires might really be worth it. I mean, no one likes fixing flats, but 10 minutes of inconvenience is one thing; a hospital visit is another. I've never used them myself, but check out this recent thread, and do a search for "airless", and decide for yourself.
    -----------------------------
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    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    Go tubeless.

    Not "solid," but tires that are basically sealed and don't have a rubber inner tube. Kind of pricey for road bikes, but they're out there.

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    Maybe you could find some nitrile medical gloves and wear those while changing tubes? They're an alternative to latex, and in my experience are a bit more resilient, but importantly don't cause reactions like latex does. If it works for you, maybe you could stick a couple pairs in your kit and just slip them on when you need to change a tube.

    Taking 'em off, I'd probably try to do it so that I don't contact the outside of the glove (where I was touching the tubes). http://www.ab.ust.hk/hseo/sftywise/200303/page3.htm is pretty much the way to do that.
    Last edited by Saving Hawaii; 10-14-08 at 07:46 PM.

  7. #7
    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    Is your problem just with butyl tubes?

    Would a latex tube also be a problem for you?
    http://www.bikesomewhere.com/bikesom...1922/19173?g=1

  8. #8
    Senior Member gcottay's Avatar
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    Given a violent allergy, I'd use rugged tires, perhaps with slime and liner, and would work out a trade of service with two or three fellow riders, using the cell phone to call one as need arises on the road. On a short commute I'd just walk the bike.
    George
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  9. #9
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    If you can do nitrile, I'd go that route. They pack up small, weigh hardly anything, and are very tear resistant. I've worked on cars and airplanes all my life and have used those with success.

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    I've got a mild latex allergy, but nothing that will send me to the hospital. I keep a couple pairs of nitrile gloves in my repair bag, and I have a box of them in my shop at home. They work great, and even have mild chemical resistance to things like citrus cleansers and chain lubes, so you don't end up having to scrub your hands for 20 minutes to get all the bike/road gunk off after a fix-it job.

  11. #11
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    Yup! Unless you go airless, your best bet is to use nitrile gloves when necessary on flat resistant tires and tubes. Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires plus Forté Road Thorn Resistant tubes is what I run and I just don't have problems with flatting.

    Yeah sure there's more spinning weight, but for a 3 mile commute, who really cares? Let the gram weenies fuss. I'd rather get exercise than break 80 mph on my bike.

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    I don't think tubeless is affordable on road bikes. TMK it's a several hundred dollar product. I'd say go for solid tires. But hey, look into both. You can still get flats with tubeless, but you can't get flats on solid tires.

    I think there are latex tubes (doesn't help with removing the tires) made to be lighter for racing. They may be worse because you may get more flats.

    Not all tires are made equal for flat protection. Someone may be able to offer good advice on good flat protection tires. I think gator skins, or some such name, usually gets thrown around.

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    Senior Member c_m_shooter's Avatar
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    +1 on the Thorn resistant tubes and either Shwalbe Marathon plus or Coninental Gatorskin tires. You should be a couple thousand miles between flats with that set up.
    May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view.
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    Hmm, I've heard of latex allergies so I wonder if anyone makes a non-latex tube?

    The only other think I know you can do for sure is get flat resistant tires. Panaracer TServ Messenger Tires or Continental Gatorskins are flat resistant with a nice ride, Specialize Armadillo tires are reputed to be the most flat resistant but have worse ride quality.

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    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saving Hawaii View Post
    Maybe you could find some nitrile medical gloves and wear those while changing tubes? They're an alternative to latex, and in my experience are a bit more resilient, but importantly don't cause reactions like latex does. If it works for you, maybe you could stick a couple pairs in your kit and just slip them on when you need to change a tube.

    Taking 'em off, I'd probably try to do it so that I don't contact the outside of the glove (where I was touching the tubes). http://www.ab.ust.hk/hseo/sftywise/200303/page3.htm is pretty much the way to do that.
    Good idea. Just don't itch your nose or wipe your forehead while on the job!

    Mike

  16. #16
    Senior Member filtersweep's Avatar
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    Plenty of non-latex tubes. Latex tubes cost a fortune, leak air, etc. Butyl is 100% synthetic rubber, and is what the vast majority of tubes are made from. It is petroleum-based.

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulRivers View Post
    Hmm, I've heard of latex allergies so I wonder if anyone makes a non-latex tube?

    The only other think I know you can do for sure is get flat resistant tires. Panaracer TServ Messenger Tires or Continental Gatorskins are flat resistant with a nice ride, Specialize Armadillo tires are reputed to be the most flat resistant but have worse ride quality.

  17. #17
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    Slime

    I don't know where you are in the world, but try some Slime tubes.
    http://www.slime.com/product_91_Smar...sta_Valve.html

    You should work with your dermatologist or whoever manages your allergies to work out a test and make sure you're allergic. You might be allergic to the tire too.

    If you left early enough, maybe you could walk to work if you're trying to avoid your car.

  18. #18
    The Broke Biker ;) ProsecutedBiker's Avatar
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    Isn't there some sort of airless tube thats out? ive never seen one and I dont know what they are made of but you may look into that
    http://img112.imageshack.us/img112/4...andsucheg7.jpg
    Currently own a 199? Specialized Hard Rock Comfort Bike.

  19. #19
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    Allergic to latex as well

    Quote Originally Posted by tpcChappy View Post
    Since I was 16 I've had an EXTREME allergy to most types of rubber and bicycle tubes are diffinitely no no. All the years that I road my bmxs' around it wasn't that big of a deal, I was usally around some one that could fix it for me if I had a flat. But now I'm starting to ride road bikes and I really want to ride to work as much as possible when I move into my new place( its only 3.5 miles from the office, I really don't have any excuses not to since I'll be that close). Right now my only plan is to pack a bee-sting kit, some nitrile gloves along with a regular flat repair kit...and my cellphone so they can find my swelled up body in someones yard if it gets reeeeeally bad. Oh yeah, and to pray to the tire gods, ALOT!!!! Any one had to deal with this? Suggestions, maybe something I haven't thought of?
    I also have a very severe latex allergy, epipen, and the necklace to keep the EMT's from putting more latex on me if they find me by the side of the road. I've been interested in this and learned recently that natural rubber latex should not be confused with synthetic rubber (for example, butyl or petroleum-based). Synthetic rubber poses no hazard to latex-sensitive individuals (Jones et al., 1996). I never knew that. What I read online was that most bicycle tubes are made of butyl rubber. Butyl is relatively low cost, holds air pressure well, and is fixed easily with an inexpensive patch when punctured. Butyl tubes are available in various weights, based on the thickness of the tube walls, ranging from about 50 grams to over 100 grams. The Quality Presta Valve Road Tube is a great standard weight butyl tube. Lightweight like the Continental Race Light Road Tube tubes are generally more expensive because they require higher manufacturing tolerances to keep the material thickness more uniform. So the actual tire would probably still be latex, but at least you wouldn't have to worry about the "latex proteins" that you often get when you open a packaged latex items if you were going to replace the tube on a ride into work. I hope that helps you, it was something that has concerned me for a long time.

  20. #20
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    +1 on the nitrile gloves or some other barrier. Even if you never plan to change your tire, or have a backup plan, odds are you will eventually need to come in contact with your tires somehow when manhandling the bike. Picking up the bike, getting something out of the tire, holding it steady, or something.

  21. #21
    Half way there gmt13's Avatar
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    You could try a polyurethane tube, like the Panaracer Greenlight.

    -G

  22. #22
    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    OPs last activity was Oct 2008. Doubt he will read the new post. Maybe time for a new thread?
    Land of the Free, Because of the Brave.

  23. #23
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    Most bicycle tubes are made of butyl "rubber" which has natural rubber in it. Chemically it's about as close to rubber as your nitrile gloves are. If you're having a reaction when working on tires, I suspect that it's more likely the tires themselves, especially the inside rubber coating (which also mat transfer to a tube).

    You're best bet is to pack a pair or two of thin cotton gloves. You can wear these over or under your nitrile glove. The reason I suggest cotton is it's so much stronger than nitirile, and therefore less likely to tear when horsing tires onto rims, and will give you that extra measure of protection.

    But even with that, keep the epi pen handy.
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