After prolonged use, your bike's tires inevitably will need a burst of air to stay properly inflated. A variety of pumps exist, but the most common ones are hand pumps that can be carried with you on your bike and floor pumps that need to be stored but are easier to use. Regardless of your pump selection, when you observe deflated bicycle tires, using a bicycle air pump to re-inflate the tires typically takes only a couple of minutes and requires no special expertise.
1. Locate the bicycle extention valve stem on your bicycle tire and unscrew the valve cap, using a counterclockwise motion. Set aside the valve cap. Consult your bicycle manual or examine the tire to find the correct pounds-per-square-inch measurement recommended for proper inflation.
2. Place the nozzle of your pump on the tire valve and tighten. Grab the tire and begin pushing and withdrawing the pump's plunger so air begins flowing into the tire. Use a similar motion with your foot if your pump is equipped with a pump pedal and not a plunger.
3. Keep pumping until the tire feels firm but gives slightly when you squeeze the sides of the tire, or the gauge on your pump indicates you've reached the desired pressure per square inch (PSI). Disconnect the air pump from the tire if it lacks a pressure gauge and attach a handheld gauge to the tire valve to determine its pressure.
4. Reattach the pump nozzle to the tire valve if its pressure isn't at the required level and continue pumping. Check frequently on the tire's pressure to avoid over-inflating the tire, which can cause the tire to blowout while riding. Disconnect the pump when the tire is fully inflated and reattach the tire valve cap.
Tips & Warnings
Bicycle tires typically have one of two different types of valves, Presta and Schrader. Check that your pump matches the tire valve. If not, you may need to purchase an adapter at a bicycle shop before you can use your pump to inflate bicycle tires.