Milele Flat-Proof Inner Tube
Developed for African communities that rely on the bicycle to make a living, the Milele tube is the first product from Baisikeli Ugunduzi.
The company name means “innovative or modern bicycle” in Swahili, and Milele means “forever”. And the Milele tube looks to live up to that promise. Founders Ben and John have been testing it under riders in Kenya for months with zero flats. It’s a flexible, solid tube that replaces the standard inner tube. It can be cut to length to fit any size tire, and they say it’ll last longer than the tires it’s supporting.
Since bicycles are used for everything from commuting to taxis to carrying food, water and supplies, the Milele tube is available in three different firmness levels. A softer tube is for the front tire, where less of a load is needed and riders want a more compliant feel. A medium tube is for lighter loads on the rear and a heavy one can handle loads like passengers or huge sacks of food. They say one test rider used it to haul more than 200kg (440lbs) over 100km.
Their plan is to expand sales of the tube across Africa. They’re set up as a for-profit social business, selling tubes at a fair but effectively cheap price of less than $10. For locals, that can cost a quarter of what they typically spend per year in tubes anyway, and last them many times more. Ultimately, it helps them make more money per trip, which helps the local economy.
The tubes are in very limited production, and they’re looking to kick things off by putting the project on Indie Gogo. That campaign is pretty near the end, actually, so thanks to Stephen for giving us the heads up!