How to Inflate Bike Tires Without a Pump

Essential equipment for a cyclist includes a floor pump in the garage and a road pump clipped to the bicycle frame or carried in a backpack. Bike shops inflate tires using an air compressor with a fitting and pressure gauge like the type found at service stations. For emergency situations on the road or at home, when no pump or air compressor is available, you can inflate bike tires quickly using a compact compressed air or C02 inflator designed for bicycles.

Loser kid wearing flip flops pushes his bike along a sidewalk after getting a flat tire. (Image: champja/iStock/Getty Images)

Step 1

Turn the cap of the compressed air inflator counterclockwise by hand and remove the cap. Tip the other end of the inflator up and retrieve the CO2 cartridge and inflator fitting from inside the inflator tube.

Step 2

Remove the valve cap from the valve stem on the bike tire. Thread one end of the inflator fitting clockwise onto the valve stem. Tighten the fitting by hand.

Step 3

Insert the neck of the CO2 cartridge into the open end of the inflator fitting. Grip the fitting with one hand, push the cartridge into the fitting and turn it clockwise until you hear the compressed airflow.

Step 4

Hold the cartridge in place and inflate the tire for several seconds. Turn the cartridge counterclockwise until the airflow stops. Squeeze the tire by hand to check for inflation level. Turn the cartridge clockwise again and add more air if necessary.

Step 5

Unscrew the cartridge from the inflator fitting. Unscrew the fitting from the valve stem. Replace the cartridge and fitting into the inflator tube. Replace the valve cap on the valve stem.

Tip

CO2 dissipates quickly -- in as little as 24 hours, so be sure to replace CO2 in your bike tire with regular air as soon as possible.

Tube inflators with control valves make the job of replacing tubes before tire inflation easier.

Warning

Replace a damaged tube before using your tire inflator to prevent having another flat tire just a short distance down the road.

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