On the importance of proper tire pressure

You’ve probably heard it said that inflating your tires to the tire pressure recommended by the manufacturer of your vehicle will improve your gas mileage and save you money on gas. If you are like me, you probably thought that while it kind of made sense, the difference in gas mileage is likely to be not noticeable. Well, I’ve become a convert, thanks to the friendly folk at the Bike Garage in East Dundee.

Like a lot of the stories, it all began with me.

When I first picked up my road bike, I thought that the tires on it were kind of soft. I didn’t think much of that, thinking that they were inflated to the proper pressure by the folks at Performance Bicycle and was riding like that for a while. One day, getting ready for a ride, I thought that the front tire was softer than usual, so I decided to pump it up a bit. I opened the valve and, seeing a push valve for the first time in my life and not having a proper pump for it, very quickly ended up letting all of the air out and no pump that would work with it.

I drove with the bike in the car to Bike Garage and asked to inflate my tire. The guy at the garage told me to use his hand pump that was standing in the corner. I fiddled with it for a bit and had to swallow my pride and admit complete ignorance. He showed me what to do and said that I should inflate the tire to 110 – 120 PSI. 110?! I didn’t believe him. I spent a few minutes looking at my tire and, sure enough, it said “max pressure 120 PSI”.

Wow! What a difference that made. The tire became rock hard, which, of course, made the ride less soft: I started to feel every bump on the road. But it also made the ride so much faster. Without exerting any extra effort, it added about 5 mph to my speed. Put a little more effort in and I really started moving.

So, next time you hear someone talk about proper tire pressure, believe them — it does make a huge difference.

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One Response

  1. I am an 83 year old Anarchist. I found your COEXIST – Sticker on the web. Using the computer with basic knowledge, I would like to know where I could obtainthe stickers
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    ISBN ! 876928 36 2
    Unit 3 48 Atchison Street, Wollongong NSW.2500
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    Please let me know. Salud, Shalom, Hans Post.

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