Air pressure, air pressure, AIR pressure.

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February 11, 2019
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February 11, 2019
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Have you hopped on your bike and started riding and it felt as though you were going uphill WITHOUT actually going up a hill? Have you decided to kick off your New Year’s resolution by dusting off the old 2 wheeled exercise machine called a bike sitting in the garage/shed since LAST years resolution only to find out the tires are flat? Did you know almost all bicycle tires have tubes?

One of the most frequent “problems” that we address in the shop is when a customer comes in and asks us why my bike is so slow, why is my bike so hard to ride or I think I need a new tire or tube. Asked when was the last time they put air pressure in the tires their reply is, I forgot when, about 2 months ago, or in some cases last year.

The reason it’s so important to keep your tires properly inflated is because it guards against flat tires and rim damage, especially if you hit a curb,¬†pothole or tree root. Moreover, properly inflated tires make your bike easier to pedal, and increases the life or your tires

Bike tires hold only a small amount of air, but under a great deal of pressure. Since air seeps naturally out, it doesn’t take long to loose enough air to make the tires soft.

All air inflated tires LOSE AIR. The air doesn’t disappear instantly, unless you run over something, or tear the valve stem. The air pressure slowly dissipates, but not as slow as you might think. Depending on how often you ride also effects the loss of pressure. Believe or not with our temperature changes in the low country there is an even quicker loss. Tires expand in the summer and soften in the winter. Here is a GUIDE regarding the 3 types of tires.

High-pressure road bike tires should be pumped up at least once a week, hybrid tires every two weeks, and mountain bike tires at least every two to three weeks.
How often you need to pump your tires depends on the size of the tire and how much pressure is required. All tires have a recommended air pressure stamped into the side of each tire, just like automotive and motorcycle tires.

What kind of pump you buy depends on what you need it for. Pumps fall into two categories: Floor pumps for home use, and bike-mount pumps to carry with you on the road in case you have a flat. Floor pumps are much larger, pump more air per stroke, and take fewer strokes to inflate your tires. They are much faster and easier to use than the smaller bike-mount pumps, but of course, you can’t take them with you on a ride. A bike-mount (or road pump) on the other hand, is designed specifically to be taken with you. Being very small, it takes a lot more work to inflate your tires with one, but if you have a flat on the road, which is why you take a pump, that’s a secondary concern. So, the answer as to what kind of pump to buy is, buy a floor pump for home use, it’s a lot less work to pump your tires, and buy a bike mount pump to take with you in case you flat on the road.

So the lesson to be learned BEFORE you decide to hop on your bike and ride like the wind is CHECK THE AIR PRESSURE IN THE TIRES. A manual check by “squeezing” the tire and getting lots a resistance. In other words the tire should feel hard not soft like a pillow or offer as much resistance as a marshmallow.

You can over inflate so it would be recommended you have an inexpensive tire gauge or a gauge built into your air pump. Choose to pump up a little less, maybe 2-5 pounds less than the recommended.