Recycling Bike Tubes and Truck Tarps Into Cycling Apparel

Oct 28, 2011
Outside Magazine

A few weeks ago, we wrote about CycleDog, a company that makes dog accessories out of recycled bike tubes. And a few months ago, we wrote about Alchemy Goods, which makes belts and bags from the same. 

Well, they're not the only ones. Two other companies are also working to keep bike tubes and truck tarps destined for the landfill in full circulation.


Defy Bags
Chris Tag grew up in Dayton, Ohio, a proud industrial auto manufacturing town. When he started tinkering with sewing on an old industrial leather machine, it reminded him of learning to work on cars as a boy with his father, and of woodworking with his grandfather.

In 2008, Tag made his tinkering into a career, and created Defy Bags. The company uses vintage or reclaimed materials—military surplus, leather, reclaimed truck tarps, etc.—and connects them using Swiss made solid brass hardware.

“I believe you don’t just create with your hands and brain,” said Tag, “but with your hands, brain and heart. That’s where the art comes in. That’s what starts to make you a craftsman.”

Tags’s ruling principles: all goods are crafted to be simple, clean-lined, sturdy and manufactured to a level that would make my grandfather proud. Tag inspects each and every bag. "We art direct each minute detail to ensure every bag feels truly one of a kind,” he says.

We tested Defy's Urban Cowboy, a messenger style bag made from old truck tarps and bike tubes. Get it plain, or with a graphical flap designed by defy's print shop. Available now, $150,

Bike tubeGreen Guru
Green Guru has always built products from used durable materials like discarded bike tubes. In the beginning, their creations were rough around the edges—but the company was well intentioned. Now, after years of experimentation, Green Guru has grown up and become refined, with a catalog of performance-oriented products that raise the bar for social, quality, and sustainability standards. 

“We ask difficult questions about processes and create real solutions that help us reduce waste and raise efficiency,” said Davidson Lewis, President of Ecologic Deisigns, Inc, makers of Green Guru. “It benefits our organization as well as our business partners on many different levels. As the amount of materials we reclaim, jobs we create and products we manufacture increases, we are able to realize positive social, environmental, and economic change.”

Green Guru’s latest and greatest: a zippered Bike Tube Travel Kit. Made from recycled MTB bike tubes with a fabric lining and reinforced handle. Available now, $28,

 -Berne Broudy

Filed To: Biking, Bags, Gear

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