Flooded basement. Bicycles to the rescue.

Sep 26, 2012
Chicago, IL
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This evening when I headed to the basement I heard a noise you really don't want to hear from there.. running water.

I go down to find a river running across my basement floor slowly turning into a lake.

We've just had some massive rains and clearly the town's waste water system isn't keeping up. I have a flood control pump but the back pressure has been enough in this case that it's cracked and broken off the concrete "gasket", that a useless friend of a friend plumber installed, where the waste pipe from the pump enters the basement floor.

So every time the pump activates it shoots storm water three feet into the air adding its contribution to the scale model of lake Michigan that I now have in my basement.

I deactivate the pump and try to quickly find something to use as an emergency gasket while the waters continue to rise.

I try tightly wrapping a towel around the pipe and jamming it in the gap, it kind of works but requires me to stand on it to get enough seal against the pressure.

I need something better, something waterproof, pliable, and in long strips so I can wrap the pipe in it...

Something like a bicycle inner tube!

I have a nice 700c tube spare, but I'm lothe to cut it in case it doesn't work. Maybe if I just loop it around a few times it'll survive and still do the job.

Seems to work, then I get an even better idea. Inflate the tube!

I run for the bicycle pump...

Instant inner tube gasket! :21:


It's been working perfectly for 40 minutes now, and I've managed to reverse the flow of the Chicago river.

Bicycles, is there anything they can't do?
Jul 16, 2019
America's Friendly Hat
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Crappy. I can sympathize. Had a season of floods a few years ago. Got to know my insurance agent by name. Became friends with the owner of disaster rescue company. You gotta zen philosophy the situation: "This too shall pass"
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