Properly Inflate Your Tires

It's a great habit to check your bicycle tire air pressure before heading out on another adventure.

But there are a few things to know about inflating tires that you will want to keep in mind - especially if you're kinda new to the biking scene.

So, let's quickly go over a few points.

tire close up, Photo by Markus Spiske from Pexels

Know Your Valves

It may so happen that you're checking out these tires for the first time - but the valve may not be what you expected.

Essentially, there are two basic types of tube valves you could find after unscrewing the cap: A Schrader valve and a Presta valve.

Schrader Valve

Presta Valve

Schrader valves use a spring-loaded pin to permit air flow when pressure is applied to the pin.

Presta valves, aka French valves (FV), are typically found on the inner tubes of high-end bikes and have the ability to use an extender when necessary for deeper wheel rims.

The Presta nut on the end must be unscrewed in either direction in order to permit airflow.

Selecting the Right Pump

A big pump for the house, and a small pump for the road.

A floor pump will be easiest to air up your tire tubes with less strokes, but a bike-mount pump can be attached to the bike and be on hand should you need it on your ride - but, it will take a bit more effort to air up your tire.

Floor pumpBike mount mini pump
A floor pump and bike mount mini pump.

Affixing the Pump and Airing Up

Step 1: Keep your valve cap where you won't forget it after unscrewing it

Step 2: Preapare the pump by setting it into the unlocked position

Step 3: If using a Presta valve, turn the end nut counterclockwise until it stops

Step 4: Squarely place the pump's valve head upon the tire valve and lock it into place with the pressable lever (if your pump has it), and press firmly to prevent air escape when pumping

Step 5: Pump by vertical action to push the air into the tubes

Don't over do it! Follow the PSI limit guidelines on the tire/tube. You don't want to cause fatigue somewhere in the tubewall that will eventually weaken and fail.



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