Inflating Tubes

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The first step in inflating a tube is getting the valve ready to be pumped. Read about Tube Valves.

The pump lever

When you put the pump onto the valve, you will need to operate a lever on the pump to engage it with the valve. Sometimes you need to pull the lever down, and sometimes you need to push it up. Generally if you put the pump onto the valve and move the lever to the other position, it will be ready, since most are left in the "off" position.

The pumps we use at the co-op operate like you can see in these pictures. When you get the pump, the lever should be folded down parallel to the hose. When you put it on the valve, you will bend the lever upward so that it's parallel to the valve.

These are our pumps. They are fairly standard, inexpensive pumps, but they work well. They're up by the ceiling in the shop. {img src="/manual/images/pumps-ceiling.jpg"}

When they are off the valve, the lever near the pump head lays up against the pump hose. When you put one on, flip the lever up, like this: {img src="/manual/images/pump-use.jpg"}

Properly on the valve, the pump will look like this: {img src="/manual/images/pump-valve-on.jpg"}


Once the valve is on, start pumping. If you can hear the air whistling out of the pump and nothing is going into the tire, tap on the pump valve while pushing down on the lever - this will get the pump to work. As the tire gains pressure, pay careful attention to the area where the tire meets the rim. If the tube isn't seated correctly, it may be pushing the tire bead off of the rim. If you see the bead sliding up, detach the pump and let air out of the tire to avoid a blowout.

The bead sliding up over the rim might look something like this: {img src="/manual/images/tire-bead-bubble.jpg"}

Checking inflation

You should check tire inflation periodically with a tire gauge. Be careful not to overinflate the tire, especially on older rims. A few of the co-op's pumps have gauges built it, which will allow you to monitor the pressure as you pump. You can find the correct pressure for your tire on the sidewall.