How to Inflate Bicycle Tires

How to Inflate Bicycle TiresInflating a bicycle tire can be a piece of cake. As long as the problem isn't a puncture--another discussion altogether--all you need is a bicycle pump and a minute or two to get that tire back in riding shape.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

How to Inflate Bicycle Tires

Things You’ll Need:
  • Standard bicycle pump
Step 1
Position your bike so that it is stable. This may entail turning the bike upside down and resting it firmly on its handlebars and seat. Either way, you want to be able to act hands-free when the actual pumping begins.
Step 2
Locate the air valve on your tire, then unscrew the air valve's lid. The lid looks like a small, rubber thimble protruding about a centimeter out from the tire's inner rim. Set the lid aside, but be sure to remember where you put it; bicycle tire air valve lids are extremely easy to lose.
Step 3
Insert the bicycle pump's needle into the tire's air valve. In the center of the valve is a small hole--this is where the needle goes. Make sure the needle is inserted all the way. If the needle includes a screw-on piece, as many do, be sure to firmly screw the piece on to the air valve, thereby holding the needle in place in a far more hands-free manner.
Step 4
Use the hand-action (or, if you have a standard foot pump, the foot-action) to pump air into the tire. Try to pump on the second, so that ten pumps are performed in ten seconds. Every 20 seconds, check your tire's firmness. Once the tire feels firm and full, you're finished.
Step 5
Unscrew the needle's screw-on piece, pull out the needle, then replace the tire's air valve lid.

Tips & Warnings

If your pump has a pressure gauge, use it to pump the optimum amount of air into your bicycle tire. Check the user's manual for your bike or tires to find the ideal pressure for your particular tires.
Don't keep pumping after the tire feels firm. Over-pumping a tire can lead to safety issues later on--as your tire, stretched thin and filled with pressure, can more easily burst.

Article Written By William Jackson

William Jackson has written, reported and edited professionally for more than 10 years. His work has been published in newspapers, magazines, scholarly journals, high-level government reports, books and online. He holds a master's degree in humanities from Pennsylvania State University.

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