A bike pump is essential when you have a bicycle, and it will save you time and money. Instead of going to a vulcanizing shop or a gas station where you can pump up your bike tires, buy your own bike pump, store it at home or take it with you when you go out biking, just like having a first aid kit, a handy bike pump can spare you some time to reach your destination before your tires totally break down.
There are several types of bike pumps. These are the floor model or track pump, the frame mounted pump, the compact or mini bike pump, and the foot operated pump. If you own a bike and you only use it around the neighborhood for a leisurely ride or to do errands, then you only need one bike pump to be stored at home. You can also opt to just go to a gas station to have your tires pumped, but that may be inconvenient if the nearest gas station is far from home. The most practical pump to store at home is a floor pump. It is hand operated, used in an upright position with its bottom part secured by your foot when using it. You pull up the piston and air is drawn in, and as you push the piston down, air is pumped to the bicycle tire. The air tube is secured at the tire through a valve.
A frame mounted bike pump is attached to your bicycle for use on the road. This is ideal if you use your bicycle in long distance bike rides and you stay outdoors for days. When you take your bike to remote areas where there are no gas stations or car repair shops, having a frame mounted bike pump will be an advantage. Make sure that the frame mounted bike pump you buy fits the size of your bicycle, and it is light weight so it does not affect your bike ride.
A foot operated bike pump usually comes with an air pressure gauge, and is heavy. This can also be used at home instead of a floor pump. Instead of using the hands in pumping air, you step on a lever that pumps air into the tire. This should be used with caution because it might cause minor foot or ankle injuries if you pump too fast and too hard, since the foot pump is only placed on top of the ground and is not secured to it.
Compact or mini bike pumps are hand held pumps that looks like a mini version of a floor pump. These can also be used to inflate other objects such as inflatable pools and inflatable life jackets. This is also useful when you are taking your bike on camping or outdoor trips.
In choosing a bike pump, check whether the valve connecting the air tube to the tire valve of your bike is compatible. There are two kinds of valves – Schrader or Presta. When you buy your own bike pump, you might find it useful to purchase an adapter so it can also be used for another kind of valve when the need arises.