A few days a go, it was the first time I had to top up BB’s back tire since I got her. I knew she had Presta (aka Sclaverand aka French) valves. So far, I’d only ever experienced Dunlop valves, so I checked a few helpful YouTube tutorials to figure out how to handle them (this one is pretty good). I even got my hands on a bike pump with a fancy double head for different types of valve.
So the other morning, yours truly went out with the goal of quickly topping up the air in my tire before zooming off to work. I unscrewed the plastic cap. I unscrewed the little valve block at the top of the Presta valve. I even did the little tapping thing on the top of the valve that the video and some other places recommend. Then I started pumping… pffffffff. My tire deflated faster than I could get the pump off. What the hell had I done wrong? I took the bus to work and frustratedly wished for the return of my easy-as-pie Dunlop valves.
The same evening after work, I tried again, with the same annoying result. After very nearly giving up, I decided to give it one last shot with my old bike pump – a decidedly unfancy one for Dunlop valves. It actually came with my old bike and I’d kept it just in case. It worked like a charm. For all its fanciness, the double-head pump just doesn’t seem to work any more.
Lesson learned: Dunlop valve pump = Presta valve pump = no fanciness, adapters, and the like needed. Life can be so easy sometimes.
Perhaps the fact that it says “Sclaverand/Dunlop” on the orange head of the broken pump (see the bottom left picture, you can just about make it out) should have been a hint. I just couldn’t believe the problem was with the pump, after watching all those tutorials and reading up on the intricacies of inflating a tire with a Presta valve.