Options for San Antonio sightseeing trips are abundant, especially for bicycle riders. The city and its surrounding area are rich with trails that are perfect for two wheels. One of the most popular destinations for cyclists is the tiny town of Gruene, located in between San Antonio and Austin. The location is the site of the annual Tour De Gruene in early November, but the various routes can be enjoyed any time of year. Here’s a look at some of the more popular trails:
- A short, 10-mile ride begins in Gruene then heads towards the town of Hunter in the northeast. Along the way, riders have the chance to enjoy some of the Lone Star State’s most picturesque farmland. The return route goes through the little hamlet of New Braunfels, crossing the Guadalupe River twice in the process. An easy journey for even beginning cyclists, the route is exceptionally flat, with only 112 feet of elevation gain during its entire course.
- A longer, 20-mile route also starts in Gruene, traveling into Hunter itself. Along the way, riders will traverse meandering country roads surrounded by cotton farms and ranches. On the return trip, the route goes past the Comal County Fairgrounds before returning to Gruene. With 272 feet of elevation gain, this trail is modestly hilly.
- An even longer, 30-mile course leads northeast from Gruene and goes directly through Hunter and beyond. It links with York Creek Road, which rewards cyclists by leading them along a pleasant stream heavily shaded with trees. It then returns to Gruene, having led riders over 427 feet of elevation gain. This is about as hilly as it gets in this part of Texas.
One thing that makes cycling a great hobby is the chance to enjoy the comfort and performance offered by modern bicycles, such as the ones sold at Alamo Bike Shop. Drop by soon to see our wide selection and pick up a new bike for your upcoming San Antonio sightseeing trips.
One of the great things about San Antonio is that there’s no shortage of locations for weekend bike trips. This month, we’d like to talk about the Mission Trail, a 14-mile excursion that takes cyclists along the San Antonio River and past the historic missions in the southern part of the city.
The route’s gentle elevation changes and paved surface makes it perfect for families, comfort bike riders, and others looking for a leisurely trip along a scenic pathway. Another pleasant thing about the route is that there are no motorists to share the road with. This makes it ideal for kids, as well as for beginning bikers who haven’t yet developed their road awareness skills.
Trail highlights include plenty of scenic views and generous shade from the sun, due to the mature trees that line the river. However, the main attractions are the missions, including the most famous of Texas landmarks, the Alamo. Founded in 1817, the structure contains relics and other memorabilia, which document the battle with Santa Anna in 1836.
Mission Concepcion is also just off the trail. Built in 1731, it’s a marvelous example of classic Spanish architecture that looks almost unchanged from when it was first built. The wall hangings and ceiling paintings are renowned worldwide for their exquisite beauty.
Also near the trail is the Mission San Francisco de la Espada, built in 1731. It has splendid examples of dams and aqueducts that have been in place and functioning since the 1730s. Mission San Jose, founded in 1720, is known as “queen of the missions” due to its magnificent construction.
Please note that, while water is available on the trail during daylight hours, there are no places that serve food. Riders are encouraged to bring their own snacks and drinks for their weekend bike trips. The Mission Trail is a splendid trip through Texas’ glorious past and is highly recommended for all cyclists.
While a lot of people are familiar with the hobby of restoring antique cars, not nearly as many know that maintaining and riding classic bikes is also quite popular. While bikes from yesteryear may not have the advanced features of today’s models, they were generally very well built, and have a strong nostalgic appeal. Of course, one of the challenges with this pastime is finding vintage bike parts in good condition. Here’s a look at some possible sources.
- Flea markets, yard sales, and “junk” shops – these can be a real mixed bag. While finding the exact part you’re looking for might be hard, every once in a while you come across a huge find, like a cycle from the ‘60s or ‘70s in great shape. Just keep in mind that these sources are hit-and-miss and usually only take cash. Nonetheless, the occasional terrific find makes visiting them worthwhile.
- Craigslist, Ebay, and other online sources – like the options above, these can be mixed blessings. The sheer size and scope of the Internet makes it highly likely that you’ll find what you’re looking for. However, you’ll almost certainly be dealing with people you don’t know and will never see in person (except for maybe on Craigslist). So you’ll be parting with your hard-earned money based on a hope that what you end up with is worth the price you paid. To minimize your chances of being taken advantage of, we recommend only dealing with merchants that have long-established reputations for treating their customers right.
- Your local bike shop – this is often the best source of all. Bicycle enthusiasts are a tight-knit bunch and love to talk about their hobby. Come by Alamo Bike Shop next time you’re in the area and tell us what vintage bike parts you’re looking for. Odds are good that one of our staff will be able to provide you with the right part or a good lead.
If you’re in the San Antonio area, drop by and see us, and feel free to bring your vintage bike if you like. We look forward to meeting you!