Never leave home without a bike pump.

How to Use a Bike Pump to Inflate a Tube

by Wade Shaddy

Bike flats are part of cycling and can happen in town, on lonely stretches of blacktop or remote mountain trails. The wise cyclist is always prepared with a bicycle pump. Also known as a frame pump, these small cylinders have saved bikers for years, providing an effective, reliable way to get the bike up and rolling again. These types of pumps typically have two nozzles: one for Schrader tubes and one for Presta tubes.

1. Shrader Tubes

1 Remove the bike pump from the bike. There's usually a hook and loop strap over it. Pull the strap to one side. Grasp the pump with one hand and pull on it to release the pump from two springy plastic clamps. Remove it from the bike.

2. Shrader Tubes

2 Unscrew and remove the cap from the valve stem on the tube.

3. Shrader Tubes

3 Pry a rubber cap off one end of the pump with your fingers to reveal a nozzle with two holes in it. The biggest hole is for Schrader tube valves.

4. Shrader Tubes

4 Press the nozzle onto the end of the valve using the biggest hole in the nozzle. Press in on the end of the valve as far as it will go. There's a lever on the side of the nozzle. Push the lever up perpendicular to the valve to lock the nozzle onto the end of the valve.

5. Shrader Tubes

5 Twist the other end of the pump to release the handle from the shaft. Grasp the shaft of the pump with one hand. Use the other hand to pull the end of the pump out of the shaft as far as it will go and push it down as far as it will go to add air to the tire. Repeat over and over until the tube and tire has sufficient air to ride the bike.

6. Shrader Tubes

6 Push the lever back down, parallel with the nozzle. Pull the nozzle off the valve. Screw the valve stem cap back on.

7. Presta Tubes

1 Remove the bike pump from the bike. There's typically a hook and loop strap over it. Pull the strap to one side. Grasp the pump with one hand and pull on it to release the pump from two springy plastic clamps. Remove it from the bike.

8. Presta Tubes

2 Unscrew and remove the cap from the valve stem on the tube. Unscrew the small, knurled knob on the end of the stem with your fingers to open the valve.

9. Presta Tubes

3 Pry a rubber cap off one end of the pump with your fingers to reveal a nozzle with two holes in it. The smallest hole is for Presta tube valves.

10. Presta Tubes

4 Place the smaller hole in the nozzle over the end of the Presta valve. The knurled knob will disappear into the end of the nozzle. Push the lever on the side of the nozzle perpendicular to the nozzle to lock the pump onto the end of the valve.

11. Presta Tubes

5 Twist the other end of the pump to release the handle from the pump. Grasp the shaft of the pump with one hand. Use the other hand to pull the handle all the way out, and push it back in again to add air to the tire. Repeat over and over until the tire has sufficient air to ride the bike. Screw the cap back on the tube.

Tip

  • If you have the tire off the bike, brace the tire with your feet as you pump up the tube to prevent the nozzle from coming off the valve. Always carry spare tubes and patches. When you flat, don't patch the tube. Use the spare. Patch the tube when you get home or if you flat again.

Warning

  • Check the manufacturer's recommendations printed on the sides of the tires for correct inflation.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images