How to Inflate a Bicycle Tire

How to Inflate a Bicycle Tire
Without air in your tires, you won't be going anywhere on your bike. All it takes is a few minutes to check your tire pressure and inflate your tires properly. Perform this basic procedure prior to biking and you'll get the the best performance out of your tires.


Difficulty: Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Bicycle Pump
  • Bicycle Pump
Step 1
Check your tire pressure. If you're not sure if the tires are low or not, check the pressure using a tire gauge. Take the cap off the valve, open the valve (for a Presta valve) by turning the nut counterclockwise and check the pressure with a bicycle tire gauge. You can refer to the sidewall of the tire to see what your tire pressure should be.
Step 2
Rotate the wheel so that the valve is on the bottom. Take the cap off, and open up the nut on a Presta valve.
Step 3
Open the pump head, which will usually require pushing the lever down so that it's flush with the hose. Push the pump head all the way down onto the tire valve, and lock it into place by pulling the lever back up.
Step 4
Pull out and push in the pump handle to inflate the tire. There should be a little resistance, but it should be relatively easy to pump. If it's very difficult, try taking the head off the valve and reattaching it. Also reattach if there's air shooting out of the pump that's not going into the tire.
Step 5
Keep your eye on the gauge, and when it reaches the necessary pressure, stop pumping. Open the pump head, and pull it off. Pull quickly so you don't allow much air to drain from the valve. Replace the cap, and then repeat the inflation process on the other tire.

Tips & Warnings

Valves come in two types: Presta and Schrader. Be sure that you are using the correct pump.
Don't overinflate the tires, and stick to recommended pressures.

Article Written By Joe Fletcher

Joe Fletcher has been a writer since 2002, starting his career in politics and legislation. He has written travel and outdoor recreation articles for a variety of print and online publications, including "Rocky Mountain Magazine" and "Bomb Snow." He received a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Rutgers College.

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