Choosing a Bike Size: How to Start

Choosing the right bicycle for your body type is best done with the help of an experienced staff member at an established shop.  This article is meant to provide a general introduction to choosing a bike size for those unfamiliar with the process.  Be sure to visit our location for professional guidance before purchasing a bicycle.

There are the basic steps for choosing the right-sized bike for an adult:

  1. While wearing the shoes you plan to use while riding, swing one of your legs over the top tube of the bike (assuming that the tube runs straight across).  While straddling the bicycle, judge the space between your body and the frame.  For general-purpose cycles you want about one inch of clearance; for off-road and mountain bike models, two inches is preferable.
  2. Now judge the seat height.  Your legs should have a slight bend at the knees even when the pedal is at its lowest point.  You might need to adjust the seat to achieve this.
  3. Finally, check the reach to the handlebars.  Your elbows should remain bent slightly to ensure a comfortable ride.

Choosing a bike size for a child or young teen is somewhat different.  Here are some general guidelines:

  1. Youth bikes are measured by the size of their wheels, not their frames.  The most common sizes are 16, 20, and 24 inches.
  2. The rider should be able to comfortably mount the bike and stand with their feet flat on the ground.  Two inches of clearance is a good guide.
  3. Parents sometimes buy a larger bicycle than the rider needs, in hopes that they will grow to fit it.  This is a mistake; it can cause safety hazards while riding, as well as undue stress on knees, wrists, and spine.

Here at Alamo Bike Shop we have the training and expertise to ensure that the cycle you buy is the right one for your height and body type.  Come visit us today; we look forward to serving you.

Independent San Antonio Bike Shops vs. Department Stores

Bicycles are one of those ubiquitous products that virtually everyone recognizes yet few people know much about.  This becomes obvious every spring when tens of thousands of Americans flock to the nearest big-box retailer in hopes of finding a safe, sturdy, reliable bike for themselves or their kids.  More often than not, however, they find themselves bitterly disappointed within a few months or even just weeks after the purchase.  Here’s why San Antonio bike shops offer a superior deal to the typical mass merchandiser:

  1. The quality and workmanship of many bicycle brands has fallen severely since the 1970s.  You can see this yourself if you have access to a bike from a few decades ago.  Cheaper, thinner, weaker components have taken the place of the stout frames, fenders, and spokes of older models.  Part of the reason for this is the relocation of factories to cheap-labor countries. Another reason is the relentless drive of large corporations to cut production costs wherever possible.  But the result for the consumer tends to be a flimsy, inferior product that will fail sooner than later.  That’s not to say that quality bicycles aren’t made anymore—far from it!  But you won’t find them two aisles over from the canned fruit.
  2. Picking a bicycle is like choosing a garment; there’s no such thing as one-size-fits-all.  You’ll want one with the correct size frame for your height and leg length.  Then there’s the matter of what kind of riding you’ll be doing.  Will you be sticking to paved trails or going off-road?  How important is comfort to you?  Will the bike be used more for fitness or general recreation?  These are the kinds of questions a professional bike shop staff member will ask, so that he or she can match you with the ideal model for your needs.  Try to discuss these issues with the kid at your local mega-mart, though, and you’ll just get a confused look.
  3. To get the most out of a bike, it should be assembled by someone who understands how cycles work.  And to keep it in tip-top shape, you’ll want a place where you can get tune-ups, find replacement parts, and ask questions.  You’ll get all of that and more at an independent San Antonio bike shop.  But you’ll find none of it at the place where you buy your milk and fabric softener.

Here at Alamo Bike Shop we’ll be happy to match you or a family member with the perfect bicycle that will provide years of smooth-riding enjoyment, instead of a few months of frustration.  Come see us today!

5 Back-to-School Bike Maintenance Tips

As summer changes into fall, students get ready for another year of school. For many of you, your bicycle is as essential as a good computer or plenty of notebook paper. But, like other mechanical devices, bicycles need regular care in order to provide safe, reliable service. So here are some bike maintenance tips to get you ready for the new school year:
1. Remove the chain entirely and soak it in a good solvent for several hours to remove built-up grime. Then inspect it carefully for signs of wear. Apply a good lubricant to it afterwards.
2. Clean the drive system and underside. This is best done while your chain is soaking in the solvent. First remove the wheels. Then get a good bike brush, a container of soapy water, and a rag. Starting with the rear derailleur, work the wet rag into all of the moving parts. Continue with the chain ring, pedals, cranks, and front gear mechanism. Use the brush to scrub hard-to-reach areas and to remove any built-up stains or scales. Move on to the handlebars, seat, crossbar, and wheels.
3. With the wheels back on, spin them to make sure they turn easily. If you have disc brakes, visually inspect the rotors to ensure they are even. If you have V brakes, then make sure that the blocks don’t rub the wheels while they’re turning.
4. Turn the wheels again, but this time, watch the bottom bracket and front gear mechanism. Be on the alert for signs of snagging or any unusual noises. If anything causes you concern, bring your bike by Alamo Bike Shop for a look-see.
5. After reinstalling your chain, spin the wheels once more. Be on the alert for any sign of chain “stretching.” Then give the rest of the bike a good washing and take it for a test ride to make sure everything feels right.
By following these simple steps, you can help ensure that your bike will stay in top condition and continue to be a safe, fun means of transportation for years to come.

3 Reasons to Buy Second Hand Bikes (Frankenbike)

One of the great things about living in the San Antonio area is that it’s ideal for bike riding, due to our unique combination of mild weather, flat terrain, and abundance of scenic sites. Cycling offers huge benefits, including better health and the chance to make new friends. One way to save money while enjoying the benefits of bicycle riding is to check out the fine selection of second hand bikes here at Alamo Bike Shop. Buying second hand bikes offers these 3 advantages:

1. Great price – Buying a pre-owned bike can save you as much as several hundred dollars over the cost of a new one. This is a great alternative to settling for one of those uncomfortable, unsafe bicycles commonly sold in discount outlets and department stores.
2. Guaranteed quality – All of our bikes have been personally inspected and serviced by our professional technicians. Their expertise and attention to detail is the best assurance possible that the bike you buy from us will give you more than your money’s worth.
3. Excellent Advice and Support – Not only will you get a fantastic bike, but we’ll also adjust it to fit your body, answer any questions you may have, and be there in the future to help you maintain it. You get all of this for a great price, which is just about the best deal you’ll find anywhere.
We also buy used bikes, so if you’re a little short of cash and have a great bicycle you need to part with, bring it by our shop. We’ll be happy to look it over, and if we decide to buy it, we’ll give you a fair price.
Another option is the Frankenbike swap meet; riders can buy, sell, or trade their bikes, parts, or equipment. This monthly event will be held at Alamo Bike Shop on N. Flores on October 20th, 2012 from 10am—4pm. Frankenbike events frequently feature live music, food, and other entertainment. Come hang out with us October 20th!

Alamo Bike Shop: Your San Antonio Bike Rental Shop

There’s nothing like having a quality bicycle.  It gives both the pride of ownership and the freedom to go where you please, with zero gas expenses.  But sometimes renting a bike is a better choice, such as when you’re visiting a new area.  If you’re visiting our city, we invite you to make us your San Antonio bike rental shop, for the following reasons:

  1. We use superior quality K2 comfort bikes for our rentals.  With their flat foot frames, generously padded saddles, and wide, comfortable handgrips, they’re the perfect blend of luxury and reliability.  You’ll be impressed with their handling, their durability, and their great looks.  In fact, you might like your rental so much you’ll want to buy a K2 for yourself!
  2. We offer flexible terms for those with varying needs.  For example, do you need a bike for just a few hours to take a quick tour of downtown?  Then our four-hour rental is just right for you.  On the other hand, if you’re going to be here for several days, you can rent a set of wheels for a three-day weekend or as much as a full week.  That will give you plenty of time to get acquainted with our wonderful city and see the many sights it has to offer.  Daily rentals are also available, and every rental comes with a helmet and lock for your safety and security.
  3. If you would like to go on a guided tour, we offer four routes for cyclists of all ability levels.  Each lasts from three to five hours and takes you past some of the many highlights in the San Antonio area.

Whether you want to explore the river, see the zoo and our famous parks, or visit Spanish missions, we’ve got the tour for you.

Besides San Antonio bike rental, we also sell a great selection of quality used bicycles, parts, and repair services.  Come by and see us when you’re in town!

Best Times to Take San Antonio Bike Tours

San Antonio is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States, with over 26 million visitors a year. This area is famous for its rich history, heritage, and culture. It’s also well known for being bicycle-friendly. In fact, San Antonio has 136 miles of bike paths and trails and has been deemed a Bronze-Level Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Cyclists. So it’s no wonder San Antonio bike tours are a popular form of recreation for both visitors and residents!

Due to the area’s climate, practically any season is great to explore the city on two wheels. However, knowing something about the local weather can help you make the most of your visit. So here’s a look at what you can expect at different times of the year:

  • Winter in South Texas is a favorite season for many people. Average highs from November through February are in the 60s and 70s, with evenings going down into the 40s and 50s. Only a few times per year does the temperature dip below freezing, and snow is practically unheard of. Rainfall averages around 1.5-2 inches a month.
  • Spring in San Antonio means highs in the low 70s all the way to the upper 80s. Rainfall is greater during this time, especially in May, which can see as much as four inches.
  • Summer is very warm, with average highs in the mid- to high-90s. This is tempered somewhat by the region’s relatively low humidity. This is a very popular time for visitors, but cyclists should take extra care, being certain to wear sunscreen and hats and to drink plenty of fluids.
  • Fall brings relief from the heat of summer, with average highs in the 80s and lows in the mid-60s. Chance of rain is greatest in October, which usually sees about four inches.

Alamo Bike Shop is your one-stop location for your biking needs. We offer quality new and used cycles, expert repair services and parts, San Antonio bike tours, and bike rentals by the day, the week/weekend, or by the hour. Drop in and see us when you’re in town; we look forward to serving you!