As my new bike is a proper road bike, it has narrow rims, and thus it has Presta valves. I haven't had much to do with these before! I tend to prefer Schrader ones, and as long as you ride mountain bikes that's fine. But I did have all required adapter thingies so I figured I should be OK.
I struggled with the valves. On the back wheel I just struggled to get the tyre to pressure. I use my hand pump; I have a floor pump too, but that's made for Dunlop valves, and wasn't adjustable. So I would need two adapters (Presta to Schrader, Schrader to Dunlop) and that didn't sound like a good idea. The front wheel things were worse; I used an adapter there too, but if I tried to remove it after inflating a tyre the adapter would take the valve with it. That's no good! I was wondering what I was doing wrong.
During lunch I was moaning about that I didn't get along with my valves. People started blaming the pump. I suppose I had been blaming myself, but well, sometimes it IS just the tools that are to blame. How are you supposed to get a tyre to 100 psi (which seems to be recommended) with a small hand pump? Jaco showed me his pump. That looked more executive! So after lunch I asked him if I could borrow it. I could, and man did that make a difference. I effortlessly got my tyres back to pressure (I settled for 60 psi; I don't need them really racing hard) and ordered a pump myself. I will keep my hand pump for taking with me; it's small and light, and it does high enough pressure to get you home after having had a puncture. And then I can use the other one for topping up at home! My commute had just become better!