The UN estimates that there are already more than a billion bicycles worldwide. According to data from the Central Statistical Office, 61.6 per cent of households have a bicycle in Poland, and in houses inhabited by a minimum of four people it is almost 77 per cent.. Eurostat, in turn, calculates that over one million bicycles are produced in Poland every year, and a clear increase in production was recorded in 2021, when as many as 1.2 million new two-wheelers were introduced to the market – which accounts for 8.6 percent of total production in Europe. This gives Poland the fifth position in the European bicycle market. In this field, we are second only to Portugal (2.9 million), Romania (2.5 million), Italy (1.9 million) and Germany (1.4 million).
Bike on the wave of popularity
The bicycle boom also translates into the number of bicycle routes – in the last 10 years, Polish provincial cities have increased their number from 1430 km to 3480 km. This is an increase of 143 percent – according to the analysis of the Polish Economic Institute (PIE), based on GUS data. Among the provincial cities, the most kilometers of bicycle routes can be found in Warsaw. There are 739 km of them in the capital, over 400 km more than in Poznań, the second on the list – enumerates PIE.
Two-wheelers are therefore becoming an increasingly popular means of transport – both in cities and on recreational routes. At the same time, we must realize that the popularity of bicycles also has a second, less pleasant face. According to police data, in the category of road accidents (according to the perpetrator's vehicle), bicycles are in second place – behind passenger cars, and their percentage share in all accidents is 6.7%.
Along with the increase in production and the expansion of infrastructure, we also observe more and more people choosing a bicycle as a means of daily transport to work or school. That is why it is worth taking care of its technical condition.
– Periodic checking of the bike is crucial for riding safety – tightened bolts, working brakes, whether the proper condition of the chain and tyres are the most important elements for cyclists. However, only tyres transfer the strength of our muscles to the road. The right tread height in tyres used off-road or on the road will ensure effective and safe driving. It can be assumed that an average used bike due to tread wear requires after 2-3 years the replacement of the rear tyre and after 4-5 years in the front – points out Piotr Sarnecki, general director of the Polish Tyre Industry Association (PZPO).
Another issue is the correct pressure in the wheels. Firstly, it enables better control over the bike. Secondly, it translates into pedaling efficiency – which means less effort and more speed. Thirdly, it helps to avoid punctures – which is crucial on uneven terrain. In addition, the correct wheel pressure improves driving comfort and increases the life of the tyre. The right pressure is particularly important in the case of the rear wheel, because it transmits the drive force and ensures the comfort of the cyclist's seat.
Why is it worth taking care of tyre pressure?
Whether you are a lover of outdoor activities or use a bicycle as an everyday means of transport, it is worth remembering that the quality and technical condition of tyres on a bicycle affects the quality of riding. Verification of this parameter is not complicated, it takes only a few minutes and even novice cyclists can cope with this activity.
Why is the right tyre pressure so important? Both too soft and too hard tyres can significantly affect both safety and driving comfort. In contrast to tyres, e.g. car tyres – the correct pressure values can be found on the side of the tyre. The wider they are, the lower their pressure is allowed by the manufacturers.
Remember that the wrong pressure:
– Maintaining the right pressure also has a big impact on the life of the tyres and determines whether the bicycle expedition will be successful. Too low can lead to so-called "snake bites", while too high can make the tyre hard and will not cushion properly or hold well on looser surfaces – suggests Piotr Sarnecki.
The correct pressure in bicycle tyres therefore affects several aspects of riding, m.in.
– The basis for taking care of bicycle tyres is to regularly check their condition, so you should regularly check the tyre pressure, especially when we go from the hot summer months to slightly cooler weather in September or October. As the temperature drops, so does the pressure in the tyres. Both car and bicycle. Let's also check before driving on a longer route if there is any visible damage on them – says the representative of PZPO.
How to take care of bicycle tyres?
So let's look for the golden mean for yourself or adjust the pressure value to the route we intend to overcome.
Bike and ground
Choosing the right pressure in your bicycle tyres also depends on the type of bike and the type of terrain you are riding on. Its optimal value varies depending on the purpose of the ride – riding on city streets, riding on uneven mountain routes or dynamic road cycling. Here are some tips for cyclists, which, however, are worth verifying on the side of our own tyres against the manufacturer's requirements:
Remember that taking care of your bike tyres is the key to a successful trip or training and safe riding. Proper care and control of tyre pressure will make your rides even more satisfying and comfortable. Safe skiing on roads and off-road wishes Polish the Tyre Industry Association!
Source: Polish Tyre Industry Association