Cyclopedia: Bike Tires, Flats, and Proper Air Pressure
Maintaining proper tire pressure is critical for your bike’s efficiency and safety. Under-inflated tires are more prone to flats that can damage the tire, tube or rim. A soft tire also saps energy from your riding, and can make the bike handle poorly in turns. A Bicycle Tube is made from the same material as a helium balloon and will lose pressure naturally.
The proper inflation pressure is marked on the side of the tire. Using a quality floor pump to inflate your tires before every trip is an easy way to make your rides more enjoyable. A floor pump with a built in gauge makes the process even easier. Be very careful if you use a motorized pump such as one at a gas station – it is very easy to blow a tire off the rim!
Despite the best efforts, flat tires do happen on the road. It’s best to learn flat-fixing skills ahead of time. Ask a mechanically-inclined friend for instructions—and then practice them. Roadside repairs are often easier if you swap out a new tube instead of patching the tube on the spot. Tire levers, a replacement tube or two, a patch kit, and a frame pump or CO2 cartridge can get you going again.