When inflating a bicycle tire you will need to know what type of air valve stem it has. Typically there are two types of bicycle air stems. The most common is the Schrader valve. For narrower more sleek tires the Presta valve may be used.
It’s important to find out what kind of valve stem your tire uses in order to correctly match the tire pump connection to the stem.
To correctly inflate a road bike tire you’ll first need an air pump suited for the job. Bicycle air pumps can be purchased at a bike shop or most department stores. Gas stations usually have coin operated air pumps that will do the job as well.
Next you’ll need a tire pressure gauge to check and make sure the tire is at the correct pressure. If your tire pump does not have a built in pressure gauge you can purchase an inexpensive gauge that fits in your shirt pocket or saddle bag on the bicycle.
To inflate the tire look on the side of the tire itself for the recommended tire pressure. You’ll see a number usually followed by the abbreviation PSI for pounds per square inch. This is the amount you’ll want to inflate your tire to.
Next locate the tire’s air valve stem. It will be located somewhere in the rim area of the tire. You’ll recognize it, because it will be approximately an inch and a half long with a screw on cap.
Remove the valve stem cap. Connect your tire pump to the stem and begin inflating. When the tire looks and feels like it’s getting air start checking the pressure of the tire with the pressure gauge. If the tire does not have enough air simply add more. If the tire has too much air then release some by pressing the little metal tip located in the center of the valve stem. Air will come hissing out when its being released. Keep checking the pressure until its correct.
Disconnect the pump from your valve stem, screw the cap back on and your on your way!