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A bicycle pump is a type of positive-displacement air pump specifically designed for inflating bicycle tires. In its most basic form, a bicycle pump functions via a hand-operated piston. During up-stroke, this piston draws air through a one-way valve into the pump from outside. During down-stroke, the piston then displaces air from the pump into the bicycle tire.
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Most floor pumps, also commonly called track pumps, have a built-in pressure gauge to indicate tire pressure. Inflating tubeless tires requires an initial surge of air to seat the bead, and specialized pumps are available specifically for this task. It is not known when the first bicycle pump was invented, but it is believed to have been in or around 1887, which is when the first inflatable tire or pneumatic tire was produced by John Boyd Dunlop of Scotland. The first bicycle pump consisted of a metal cylinder that had a metal rod running down the middle of it.
When the cylinder is compressed, air is pushed down the tube of the pump and then into the tire via the valve, which is forced open by the pressure of the air. When the handle is pulled up again, the valve shuts off automatically so that the air cannot escape from the tire, and new air is forced back into the cylinder so the process can be repeated. Some pumps have a gauge that shows the pressure of air that is forced into the tire. There are two main types of tire valves to which the bicycle tire pump attaches. These are the Presta valve and the Schrader valve. Some pumps fit both types of valves, whereas others do not, but adapters are available that enable the pump to fit any type of valve.