A bike pump that works, without working you
October 4, 2007
For all of my adult life, I’ve made a point of buying things that are built to last, and I tend to keep them for a long time.
I don’t really care if they’re in the latest styles or have the right blend of colors for current trends. In fact, I generally avoid anything that smacks of being in vogue, on the principle that any emphasis on style is necessarily a de-emphasis on quality and durability, and will look silly once the styles change anyway.So it is with my trusty road bike, a 30-year old black Centurion with 10 speeds and an oversized frame that fits my long legs perfectly.The bike was an inheritance from a friend who died in a climbing accident; it came to me lacking a frame-mounted pump. The frame had a top bracket installed on the back drop-tube, obviously meant to hold a pump. But I’m sure that Brady, the original owner, put the pump down somewhere and forgot to pick it up. He was that kind of a guy, as am I.
Now, not having a pump with the bike can be a problem, particularly when one cycles through neighborhoods where broken shards of beer bottles or stray nails and tacks can sneak up on an unsuspecting tire in a flash and cause a blowout before the rider even knows of the danger.Over the last 25 years or so, I made do with one of those short-bodied mountain-bike pumps that fits into a tool bag draped under the top tube. But you can’t really get enough pressure from one of those for a road-bike tire, and I’ve often wanted to get an old-fashioned, long-handled, frame-mounted pump.Well, my friend Ed at Ajax Bike and Sports recently found me one. It was in a Planet Bike specialty catalog – a large “roadie frame-fit pump” made to fit a large frame, and it fits my bike to a T. The list price was $28.99, although I’ve since seen it for less on general shopping websites.
The pump is sliver in color, which goes nicely with my black bike frame, and the spring tension is firm enough that it holds to the frame even when I bounce over railroad tracks, up on curbs or right over the occasional drunk lying on the street near my house (just kidding – I always ride around them).I’ve already pumped up a tire, and it works so much better than those shortie pumps that I’m having difficulty coming up with the words to describe the difference. Suffice it to say it takes fewer strokes, and thereby causes less wear and tear on my delicate hands and my aging biceps.And even better, when I’m done, the tire is inflated to a high enough pressure that I don’t have to look for a gas station with an air hose immediately after fixing a flat.