How to Inflate a Bicycle Tire

By Contributor

Inflating a bicycle tire is an easy task that requires just a few special gadgets. After determining your bike's valve type and its air pressure, a floor pump is the most efficient and effective way to inflate the tires at home. A portable pump may be purchased and attached to the bike for adding air while on the road.

Rotate the tire so that the valve is near the ground. Inspect the valve to determine whether you need to purchase a tire pump to fit a Presta (French) valve or a Schrader. The Presta valve is generally made of rubber, has a small tip on the top and when pressed downward releases air. The Schrader valve looks like a car's valve. Both types usually have caps on the valve to keep air from escaping.

Purchase the pump that will properly fit the valve on your bike's tire.

Look at the side of the tire wall for the recommended PSI for your bike's tires. Remove the plastic cap from the valve; if it's a Presta, twist the brass top to loosen it. Attach the air gauge to the valve and check to see if the tire is inflated to at least the recommended PSI.

Attach the air pump nozzle to the valve and begin to add air to the tire by pressing down on the handle or foot pump.

Check whether the tire feels firm. Continue to add air until it's well filled. Remove the air pump nozzle and reattach the air gauge. Check to make sure the PSI meets your tire's specification but doesn't exceed it by more than 5. If it does, gently let some air out by pushing on the valve, then recheck the PSI.

Replace the plastic cap.

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