Collecting the folklore and uses of plants

Dandelion stems as bicycle tyre valves

P-LA contains two records of the flower-stems of dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) being used for bicycle tyre valves during the Second World War.  Therefore it is interesting to find in Wild Flower Magazine no. 275, 1945: 67, a ‘cutting [possibly from a Liverpool newspaper] about a new use for dandelions:                                “A story I heard yesterday of a cyclist’s ingenuity is worth passing on to others who may some day find themselves in the same fix.  The cyclist – a young woman – had the misfortune to get a flat tyre while she was riding in a lonely part of the country.  Investigation showed that the valve rubber had gone completely and she had no spare one.  But she solved the problem by fitting part of the tubular stem of a dandelion in place of the valve rubber, and the makeshift worked perfectly until she got home.”‘

Image: Chertsey, Surrey; February 2018.

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