Stella Dimoko Dr Freak's A Tale Of "Inner Tube" And "Tubeless" Tyres


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Thursday, May 27, 2021

Dr Freak's A Tale Of "Inner Tube" And "Tubeless" Tyres

If you lived in the era of "inner tubes" (when most tyres had inflated inner tubes), my anecdote should make sense to you.


At the time under reference, most drivers preferred tyres with inner tubes to the "tubeless" ones for reasons best known to them. The problem with the ones with inner tubes was that they were/are more prone to quicker deflation, but the driver's loss; the vulcanizer's gain! 

At the time under reference, vulcanizers played tin gods but do you blame them when their teeming customers always thronged their workshop in droves with a view to having their inner tubes "patched?" Interestingly, after patching a particular inner tube more than eight times, the vulcanizer would advise the owner to start considering either getting a replacement or converting the tyre to a "tubeless." For strange reasons, many dreaded the tubeless tyre options and if I may hazard a guess here, maybe because the technology was relatively new at the time. Today, I cannot remember the last time I sighted an inner tube. Tubeless tyres have come to stay!

I'm going somewhere, just grab your popcorn and soda.


By November 1990, I was done with secondary school and I was wild and free! My immediate brother who had doubled as the family chauffer had just gained admission into the university and he had to vacate the house. Since nature abhorred a vacuum, the succession plan tilted in my favour but Io and behold, I was ill-prepared! 

The situation looked gloomy at the outset but guess what, my brother saved the day. He arranged a crash "driving" programme for me in front of the house and under 30 minutes (amidst slaps and "ìfórùn") I had effectively acquired driving skills!

I could at least move the car around, convey my mum to her shop and go back to pick her up in the evening.

On this fateful day, I think few months after receiving my driving lesson (remember I said mine was a crash programme?) I picked up the key, started the ignition of the car and embarked on a trip to Ado-Ekiti to visit (show off to) some of my friends who had just gained admission into the defunct "Ondo State University, Ado-Ekiti" (now UNAD). I have always been fearless anyway.

 I made it to my destination in one accord and a good time we all had of it and in the middle of it all we had cause to relocate to somewhere else for a "madder" fun, so with the 504 station wagon loaded to the teeth with about eight passengers on board, I headed towards the gate. Unknown to me, there was a sharp bend ahead and that was how I raced until I almost lost control.

 By the time I would see the sharp bend, it was almost too late but a can-do spirit just ministered to me to make that life saving move and I obeyed the voice. Even though the car climbed part of the kerb, I was able to manoeuvre the "white devil" to safety and funnily enough, most of my passengers were not even aware of what had just happened! You know what? We could all have perished! To God alone be the glory, today, most of those boys are successful engineers.

Remember I did not exit the house with mum's consent so I had to hurriedly return the car home. The ride back home was a pleasurable one until I lost the first tyre. I had a spare tyre with a wheel spanner but had no jack. At the time, we improvised a jack with a strong lumber resting on a pivot (a rim/wheel), then pressure is applied to the outer end of the car and pronto, the car, including the tyre which we wanted to remove had popped up! I did not have the improvised jack in the car and even if, I could not have done it alone and more so, I was alone in that bush so I had to drive the car with the flat tyre for another five minutes before I could find a vulcanizer.

 The middle aged vulcanizer was friendly and willing to help though. He sought to bring out the spare tyre from the trunk of the car, but it seemed I had had my luck run out this time. The spare tyre was damn flat! In effect, I was left with three tyres. Maybe if I had seen those "Ota smugglers" who move around with three tyres at the time I could have dared. Oga "Foga" (I honestly don't know why "my people" realize the word "vulcanizer" as /foganaiza/ till date despite my training in Linguistics.

 A story for another day) broke the bad news but not without proferring a solution. He had a "condemned tyre" that we could manage but I had to buy a new inner tube. I enjoined him to use mine but Oga Foga was not willing to bulge as my inner tube had been patched over twelve times and there was even no space to patch any more. However, he had a suggestion, "what if we make it tubeless?" Grudgingly, I accepted and he got down to business. He fixed it and I was on my way few minutes after.

You really want to know how the trip went? It was the most turbulent trip of my life. The tyre danced reggae and blues for another 30 minutes but I managed to drive safely to my mum's shop. She was already waiting for me by the time I arrived. I picked her up and under few minutes she had noticed the sudden change in the performance of the tyre. She knew that something sinister had happened but she elected to let it slid. She quietly got 4 new set of tyres a day after and the car was back on the road stronger.

Why have I chosen this story?

I live in a country whose handlers have constantly handled in the manner similar to that which I've just painted above. On a daily basis, we "patch" the "inner tube" of our country. The inner tube has been patched over and over. The "tyre" of our country has been converted into a "tubeless" and we have patched the tubeless under "Foga's intense fire" over and over again such that we are running out of "patcheable" areas. The "tyre" of our country has begun to "dance" reggae and blues.

Only the Creator of the Universe can deliver our country. We beseech you dear Lord to come to our rescue now more than ever. We pray Thee to send us brand new tyres. Àşę!

It's Kunle


  1. I put it to you that you are a reckless driver and a road butcher

  2. Ase.

    Nice one.
    Keep it up

  3. Good job Kunle. Such a beautiful read.

  4. The context of the Tyre and Nigeria stagnant situation is relatively new connected.
    We are patching and its licking from all ends. Hmmmmm

    We are surviving because of God's hallow hands which incubate us.

  5. Hmm, risk some youngsters take ehn. Thank God for making u land safely o

  6. Hmmmmmm. That's my prayer every day

  7. You are damn good bro K, you write so beautifully.
    THIS here is the state of Nigeria here, patch patch here and there.

  8. Good job Kunle.
    Most of us had our 1st time driving crash or scratch.
    But this tube and tyre naija deflation situation with APC drivers and fogas is not funny at all.

  9. Thanks for the write up. Sincerely, Nigeria's situation is damn dire right now, the dance has gone from blues to reggae, and now on its last leg called agidigbo!


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