Occasionally I will hear from readers who are having trouble pumping their own tires, and inevitably the cause ends up being their bicycle pump. Sometimes it is simply a matter of the pump not accommodating their bicycle's valve system and the new cyclist not realising this. Other times, the pump's chuck (the part that fits onto the valve) is difficult to get on and off without causing damage. There are also those who lack sufficient upper body strength to operate their pump effectively.
As someone who can pump my own tires despite poor upper body strength and poor dexterity, one thing I can say is that the pump matters a great deal. It surprises me how many cyclist initially plan to get by with just the hand-held pump they bought for their tool bag. Floor pumps are much easier to use than hand-held pumps, requiring considerably less effort to operate.
But not all floor pumps are made equal. At home I use a Pedros Racing Service floor pump and have had no complaints about it over the years. However, this model is no longer in production and I've read mixed reviews about the current Pedro models. I have also tried enough floor pumps to know that some can be difficult and awkward to use. When readers ask for recommendations I am not sure what to suggest.
My general thoughts on what makes a good floor pump are that it ought to:
. be sufficiently heavy so as to remain stable in use (steel barrel),
. require a reasonable amount of force to operate,
. have an accurate pressure gauge,
. have a dual head to accommodate Presta and Schrader valves,
. have a chuck that is easy for the average person to fit and remove.
What is your favourite bicycle floor pump? Recommendations and suggestions are most welcome.