Basic Skills: How to check your tyre pressure

Checking your tyres on a weekly basis is a really good habit to get into.

Not only will you ensure that your bike¹s handling stays sweet, but simply crouching down to check pressures and condition of the rubber will help you spot any other adjustments that may be needed to the chain or brakes.

Tyre pressures should always be checked when the tyres are cold. As a rule of thumb, tyres are considered cold when they haven¹t been used for three hours or have travelled for less than a mile.

Petrol station gauges are better than they used to be, but there's no substitute for your own gauge, either digital, or the pencil type (and don¹t forget to replace the valve cap). If the tyre seems to be losing five or ten per cent a week, check that there isn't a small leak from the valve itself. Get some spit on the tip your finger and draw it across the valve so that it forms a film. If it starts to bubble up you know you need to replace the valve.

As well as the pressures, have a good look at the tyre tread depth which has to be a minimum of 1mm, although the handling will probably have deteriorated before then so we¹d look to change rubber at 2mm tread depth.

While you're checking the tread, look for any cuts or bulges or foreign bodies stuck in the carcass.

Because we are able to overtake other vehicles easily, especially in heavy urban traffic, our tyres don't always run in the clean 'lanes' of other vehicles' tyre tracks, venturing into the dirty centre sections where it¹s all to easy to pick up a nail or other nasty thrown there by our four-wheeled brethren.

Further reading:
Basic skills

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