When you’re out on a family bike ride, a flat tire can be the end of the world. How are you going to get back home? Let’s have a look into how to inflate kids’ bike tire when you’re out and about, then you can enjoy family times with the best of them!
How To Inflate Kids Bike Tires?
Inflating kids’ bike tires is pretty much the same as inflating a grown up’s bike tires, you’ll be pleased to hear!
Just in case you are a complete novice, here are some fail safe instructions:
- Unscrew the valve cap on the outside of the wheel wall. It will unscrew anticlockwise.
- Attach the head of the pump to the valve – generally this will twist on clockwise.
- Check the side wall of the tire for the maximum and minimum values, and inflate the tire to somewhere between these values.
- If you are on hard roads, pump the tires up to the maximum; for softer ground and off roading go for the lower values.
- Remove the head of the pump from the valve and replace the valve cap.
- Repeat for the second tire, then pop on their helmet and watch them ride away!
If you find that you have to inflate your kids’ tires repeatedly, it may be worth checking the tyre for a puncture.
Cycling anywhere can cause punctures, and it’s easy to pick up a thorn or something else sharp on a bike ride, especially if you go off road.
You can easily check for punctures, and fix them yourself:
- Remove the tire from the rim, and take out the inner tube.
- Fill a bowl or bucket with water, and immerse the inner tube in it.
- Keep an eye out for bubbles rising to the top of the water; this indicates a hole in the wall of the tube.
- Fix the puncture using a puncture repair kit (these are widely available at outdoor shops).
- Pop the inner tube back inside the tyre, then replace the tire.
- You will need tire levers to remove and replace the tire; again these are widely available.
Here is a short video which will take you through the basics of inflating your kids’ bike tires, assuming they don’t have a puncture:
How Much Air Do You Put In Kids Bike Tires?
All tires, whether they are car or bike tires, will display pressure in psi (pressure per square inch) or bar.
Most bike pumps and tires will display both types of value – for example, 35psi is 2.4 bar. At least one of these values will be displayed on the pump, so don’t panic too much!
In general, 35psi or 2.4 bar is the lowest pressure a tire should be used at, and 45psi or 3.1 bar is the highest it should be.
If you like a scientific formula for your tire pressure, try this:
Measure the rider’s weight in pounds and divide it by 7. For the front tire, times this result by -1. For the back one, times this number by +2.
If you are not as scientifically minded, you can simply pump up the tires until they feel firm, but not hard as a rock.
Not having enough pressure in your kid’s bike tires will likely put them off cycling, as flat tyres makes it very hard to ride!
Too much pressure can be equally uncomfortable, so you may have to play with the pressures until your child is happy.
What Happens If You Put Too Much Air In Your Bike Tires?
Putting lots and lots of air in your tires may make you feel as though you are going very fast, but it might actually be slowing you down.
Over inflated tires can cause too much of a bounce, and have a tendency to vibrate, which can make for an uncomfortable and inefficient ride.
If you go REALLY overboard and fill your tires excessively, this can cause you serious problems.
Over inflating massively can actually cause the tire to burst, either while you’re riding it or when it is sitting still.
Hot weather can make tires expand, and so if you have overfilled your tires and you are riding in the summer, you can end up having to carry your bike home!
If you add too much air you may find that you have to replace the tires, as over inflation can force the tire away from the bead and pop the whole thing apart.
How Do You Put Air In A Small Bike Tire?
Putting air in a small bike tire is pretty much the same as putting air in a larger bike tire.
Generally, there are valve caps over a valve, which you will unscrew to attach the pump. Once attached, you operate the pump until you reach the desired psi/bar.
However, a smaller tire may take much less air than a larger one, and you will have to watch out that you do not over inflate as this can cause its own set of issues!
Most tires have a set of values and numbers written on the side of the tire wall, to indicate how full you should pump them.
Especially when inflating kid’s bike tires, you should pay attention to these numbers, as over or under inflating can cause your kids issues when riding.
- Too much air can make the ride much more uncomfortable, as it can make the bike bounce and vibrate.
- Too little air will make the bike much harder to pedal, and you will find that your kids tire (excuse the pun!) quickly, and not enjoy their outing.
As long as your kids bike tires are correctly pumped up, they can enjoy a safe and comfortable way of riding around with you.
Now all you have to do is teach them to pump up their own bike tires, so you don’t get dragged out of bed on a Sunday morning to do it for them!