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Instructions for How to Pump a Bike Tire

Updated on October 30, 2012

You have your flat bike tire and you have your bicycle pump. The rest should be easy. But you're standing there in the middle of the street, hoping that no one sees how foolish you like as you try to pump up your bike tire and don't get anywhere. Don't worry; you're not alone. Once you get the hang of pumping up your bike tire, it won't be difficult at all, but you need to know what you're doing before this ease can come.

The first thing that you need to do to pump your bike tire is figure out what kind of bicycle pump you have. There are several different types of bicycle pumps and they all work a little bit differently. It's possible that you have one that isn't even the best one for you or for the bike that you have. So learn your basics and get the right bicycle pump to start off on the right foot.

Here are some of the basic bicycle tire pumps that you might encounter:

  • Frame-mounted pumps
  • Foot-operated pumps
  • Floor pumps (also called track pumps)
  • Double-action pumps
  • Hand pumps

The floor pump is the one that most people have lying around the house. However, if you're an avid bicycler, you might have a different type of pump that's more portable than the floor pump. Know what kind you have and read what you can about using it properly. It's best if you still have the instruction manual. If not, get your hands a manual for a similar type of pump. Each different brand has its own little quirks.

In addition to knowing what kind of pump you have, you need to know if it's compatible with the type of bicycle that you have. The most common reason that people have trouble pumping their bike tires is that they're using a good pump but the wrong head for the valve that they have. There are basically two different kinds of valves. Your bicycle tire pump may be for both of these or it may only fit one. If the bicycle pump isn't fitting correcntly in the valve, you may need to get an adapter.

If you've got a pump that you understand and a valve that's compatible, you're all set to pump up that bicyce tire. Hold the tire firmly. You can hold it with your hand firmly on the top of the tire with the tire upright or you can flip the bike upside down and pump it that way, depending on the type of pump that you're using. Attached the pump to the valve and use the hand or foot action required to get air into the tire.

Be careful that you don't overpump the tire. Over-pumped tires are prone to damage and can be a saefty risk. Many pumps come with a tire pressure gauge. If yours doesn't, you're going to want to pick up an inexpesnive gauge so that you can see what pressure your tires are at. Consult your bicycle owner's manual or your local bike shop to find out what the right tire pressure is, as that varies by tires and bike types.


Submit a Comment

  • john hayls profile image

    john hayls 6 years ago

    I have already used most of pumps. But this is very comfortable pump. Its price is reasonable for everyone.

  • profile image

    floorpumps 6 years ago

    your hubpage is cool.

  • profile image

    floorpumps 6 years ago

    A bike need a good floor pump,

  • profile image

    will 6 years ago

    what a stupid guide, didn't even tell me how to pump. just told me what i should use. gay.

  • profile image

    nick 6 years ago

    Sweet, so if my bike pump fits my tire, just pump it but not to hard? Useless! What if it doesn't but has a reversable tip on the hand pump but despite unscrewing twist thing under cap, it continues to not work. Get off the web, I wouldn't need to Google it if it was easy, simpleton.

  • profile image

    AP43Y 6 years ago

    That told me absolutly nothing.

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    David 7 years ago

    I just got a new Diamondback DLX bike from Overstock.

    My pump works fine on my other bikes but this one will not accept air. The hose end fits the valve stem and locks on OK but no air passes

  • profile image

    Sssss 7 years ago

    Should flap be up or doWn.

  • saintodd profile image

    saintodd 7 years ago from Suffolk, VA

    Voted up and ranked. Thanks this is such a useful article but also shows the simplicity of a hope with out being "dumbed" down. Really enjoy reading your hubs.

  • profile image

    xoxosingle 7 years ago

    not helpful at all :(

  • profile image

    shenae 7 years ago

    this wasn't that hard to understand. and im 12.

  • profile image

    EUgenia 7 years ago

    That did nothing for helping me pump up my tire. It told me that I need the information I must go elsewhere to seek. I thought this was the answer to the questions not just providing more questions!

  • profile image

    Swing trading strategies 7 years ago

    Well well well.. Very right said 2patricias! same is the case with me!

  • profile image

    8 years ago


    Yeah, this all sounds so confusing! All those cyclists must have advanced degrees to be able to understand this complicated material.

  • 2patricias profile image

    2patricias 9 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

    Yet another reason why I don't want to ride a bike. But thanks for the hub.