When I got my first bike, I had no idea I needed a track pump to go with it. In fact, it took a kind soul at Preston Park Velodrome to point out that my 60 psi road tyres might not be the fastest until I realised the importance of inflation!
How often you need to pump your tyres depends upon how often you ride your bike – more riding means more regular pumping – but they will go down over time even if you never swing your leg over.
We asked London Bike Kitchen director Jenni Gwiazdowski for her recommendation on regularity:
A good rule of thumb is to pump up your tyres every 2 weeks with a track pump – one with a gauge, so that you can see what pressure you’re getting. Even if you don’t have one at home, bike shops tend to have them outside and will let you use it for free.
And why is it so important? She told us: “Keeping your tyres properly inflated is the best way to prevent punctures and ensure a smooth ride. Every time you hop on your bike, give your tyres a quick squeeze and at least make sure they’re not punctured!”
The ‘correct’ range of PSI for your tyres will be written on the sidewall. If you’re a lighter rider, or it’s wet, stick to the lower end of the spectrum, whilst if you’re a heavier rider, you should stay closer to the top end of the scale.
Next time you pump your tyres to the ‘right’ pressure, give them a good squeeze, and get used to how squishy, or non-squishy, that feels. In time, you’ll get used to this and be able to identify when your tyres need a little boost on feel alone.
If you’re near London, you can always pop into the London Bike Kitchen for maintenance advice.
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