People who love to ride a bike should also learn to pump a bike tire. It is one of the most fundamental components of cycling. However, if you are learning to ride a bike, then it can be little daunting to learn to pump a bike tire at first.
If you see that your legs are heavy and having some difficulties during pedaling, then you must be riding the bike real slow and need to pump up the tires as soon as possible. There are a lot of things that can happen if your tires do not have enough pressure or in other words, on the low side.
The more will be the contact of tires on the ground; the more you will feel like you are pedaling through the treacle and this will make your tires prone to punctures. If the pressure on the tire is very low or virtually non-existent to you, then you are at the risk of damaging the rims of the cycle.
In this guide, we are going back to the basics, and we will be discussing how to pump the bicycle tires in details. We have compiled this guide to ensure that your tires are full in right air pressure and are ready to roll.
The guide for pumping bike tire:
Check The Valve Type
The valve sits between the tire and the rim and remains attached to the inner tube. The protrudes through the opening in the cycle rim, and this is of two types, Schrader and Presta. The most common type of valve is the Presta, and it is thinner than Schrader.
It consists of a small pin valve in the full tube, and this remains closed by the help of a nut. You are required to unscrew it for the allowing of air flow inside or outside of the tube.
on the other hand, the Schrader valve is quite similar to the valves which we use in the cars, wheel of the prams or motorbikes. This one is fatter, and the central pin valve is situated inside the outer tubes of the tire. There are no nuts like the Presta valve.
Both of the valves come with a plastic dust cap that can be unscrewed over the top. It helps to keep the valve protected from damage, grime, and grit. It also has a significant role in maintaining the valve clean.
Check The Pump
The first step here is to check whether the pump is compatible with the type of valve you have. Some of the pumps can only be used with a single type of valve while the other kind of pumps can be used with both. So, it is essential to check the packaging of the pump at the time of purchasing.
If it is a small hand pump, then you may be able to convert between Schrader and Presta valves. It is usually done by the unscrewing of the attachment of nozzle and swapping it over with an adaptor.
Some of the floor pumps and hand pumps will come with the large nozzle which clamps over the valves with the help of a lever. The opening is designed for taking either type of valve, and the lever needs to be tightened with a rubber ring for sealing the nozzle shut.
When you are out on a long ride, your fellow cyclists may suggest you carry a CO2 canister along with an adapter with you instead of a pump.
It is a quick fix if you have the flat tire, but you need to keep in mind that this will work only for a short time till you are making a proper repair. For this reason, a lot of the professional cyclists or traveler cyclists carry a pump and repairing tools with them.
Attach The Pump to The valve
It is a straightforward thing to do but here are few things that you need to be careful about. Once you have taken the dust cap off and unscrewed the core, you need to make sure that the nozzle of the pump is pressed firmly against the valve.
If you notice that the air is leaking out of the tube or your tire is not inflating when you are pumping, this means that you have not attached the pump correctly. In such situation, you need to reconnect the pump so that the air goes appropriately to the tire.
If you have Presta valves, then you need to take special care so that it does not damage or break during the pumping as it has a thin central pin. In most of the inner tubes, this is irreplaceable.
Therefore, in case of any damage you need to change it. So, take care, or you will lose some more bucks while pumping air to the tire.
Pump Up The Tire
Now, you are pumping up the tires to the desired volume. The range of pressure is printed on the sidewall, and it is also listed in bars or PSI or Pounds per Square Inch.
For example, for a road bike, the pressure will be between 80 to 130 psi, but in case of the mountain bikes, the range of air pressure is between, 30 to 50 psi and the hybrid tires need air pressure between 50 to 70 psi.
It is the recommended range of pressure. It gives you an idea what pressure you need to provide to your tire. The range is not fixed. This range varies depending upon the riders and many other conditions.
While the lighter riders need low pressure then heavier ones need more pressure. As the light riders do not push down on the tires and do not make them compress against the surface. So, it is vital to make sure what amount of pressure you want to provide your tires.
We recommend you to buy a track pump so that you can always keep your tires fully pumped up and at the same time, do not forget to carry a small hand pump when you are going out.
It comes very handily in case of puncture repairs. If you do not want to buy a track pump, then you can always pump your tires from the bike shops. This track pump is kept outside of the shops, so it is better to pump your tires from them.
Keep The Pressure Up
The tires of your bike will gradually lose the pressure with time, and so you need to keep the air pressure up all the time. Keep checking the tires and keep them fully topped up so that you can ride smoothly and more efficiently. Most of the riders check their tires every week.
If you use your bike to your work, then fill your tires with the right amount of air pressure on every Sunday or do just a pre-Monday check. However, if you ride your bike a lot then do the checking a bit more often because you surely do not want to mess up anything during your rides.
Tire pumping mistakes
Here are some common mistakes that we all make while pumping the tire.
Same Pressure in Rear and Front
It is the most common mistake that we all make while inflating our bike tires. We all inflate the front and rear tires similarly, but the weight of our body is not distributed 50-50 front to rear.
For the road bikes, the ratio is more like 40 on the front and 60 on the back, although it can vary. If you are an athlete and take part in the races more often, then you should go for 45-55.
Not Checking Regularly
Trust me, we all are guilty of doing this. We all think we will do the tire checking, but we end up not doing it. We do not understand how important it is. The tires leak the air gradually. The common Butyl tubes leak air less than the latex ones, but still, you need to check the loss of the air pressure.
You do not need to check it after every ride but testing it on every week is very important. Do not keep it for later because later will never come and you will fall a victim of puncture or damaged rim.
It is Probably Over Inflated
We always end up overinflate our tires. So, while you are inflating the tires, keep in this mistake in mind so that you do not end up overinflating the tires of your bike.
These are the general guidelines and common mistakes of inflating the bike tires. You might find it a bit hard at the beginning but, over the time you will be able to do it quickly. In case of any problem, you can always take the help of the nearest bike shop. They will explain to you how to perform this on your own.