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!
Here at Alamo Bike Shop, we stock components for all types of bicycles, including mountain, comfort, and street bike parts. Street bikes are an increasingly popular option for getting around urban areas. If you’re considering buying one, here are some basic tips to keep in mind.
Street Bikes 101
Street bikes, also known as “urban” or “road” bikes, are designed specifically for riding on pavement. They stand apart from mountain and comfort bikes in the following ways:
- They’re usually lighter in weight.
- They’re ideal for virtually any kind of finished-surface cycling, whether for fitness, commuting, long-distance or touring. They also make great racing bikes.
- They accommodate any level of riding experience, from beginner to veteran.
Enough of the basics; here’s how to choose a great street bike.
- Choose the right size. This is perhaps the single most important factor in selecting the correct street bike for your needs. A poorly fitting frame can make your ride uncomfortable or even painful. Knowledgeable staff at your local bike shop should be able to help you determine the best fit for you.
- Know whether you want a drop-bar or flat-bar design. The choice comes down to aerodynamics vs. comfort. With a drop-bar bike you’ll be riding while bent at the waist, which reduces your air resistance. However, it can also cause back, neck, and hand pain. A flat-bar permits the rider to sit up higher. This is not only more comfortable, it can also be safer, as it allows riders to better see obstacles and other hazards.
- Shop carefully. As with other kinds of bikes, street cycles vary widely in terms of quality. Read reviews, learn about the different brands, and make sure you’re happy with the model you ultimately get. After all, you work hard for your money, so make sure you get a bike that’s worth its price tag.
One way to be sure that you get a great deal is to buy your next bicycle from Alamo Bike Shop. Come visit our store to browse our great selection of cycles. If you already have your perfect cycle, feel free to bring it by for repairs or street bike parts. We’ll see you soon!
With spring well on its way, cyclists across the country will be visiting their local bicycle repair shops to get their bikes in shape for the riding season. Why not bring yours to Alamo Bike Shop here in San Antonio soon? We’ll be happy to give it a complete inspection and tune-up.
Before you come in, though, here’s a series of six quick tests you can use to find out about any potential problems before they become serious.
- Pick your bike up about 4-5 inches above the ground, and then let it drop straight down on its wheels. Listen for any rattles, creaks, popping noises, etc.; these could be signs of loose or damaged parts.
- Engage the brakes and let them go. They should snap back into place immediately. If they don’t, be sure to get them checked out before your next ride.
- Give the tires a close look-see. Check for any tears, rips, or cuts. Make sure they’re inflated to the recommended pressure and stay that way.
- Spin the wheels. You should notice no wobbling, squeaking, or contact with the brake pads.
- Check the wheel’s quick release levers (they allow the wheels to be removed without using tools). Make sure the levers are tight and functioning properly.
- Check the headset. This is the tube that connects the frame and the front wheel forks. Over time it can come loose. Check for this by applying the front brakes while gently tilting the bike, so that the rear wheel raises up and goes back down to the ground. If you hear any clicking, you may have headset problems.
Be sure to mention any problems you notice to the experts on our team here at Alamo Bike Shop. Whether you live in the San Antonio area or will be visiting us in the future, drop by and see us! We offer a full range of services for your cycling needs: rentals, secondhand bikes, tours of downtown, and repairs.
A great bicycle repair store is a cyclist’s best friend. It can be a source of invaluable advice and tips, great repair & maintenance services, and lasting friendships. Most shops are staffed by friendly, knowledgeable professionals, but here are a few things to look for before settling on your favorite bicycle repair store.
People start businesses for two reasons. One is that they are passionate about a product or service and want to provide it to others who will benefit from it. Others, however, place money above all other concerns. Which category your local bike shop fits into will become obvious once you visit it. Ask the staff questions that may require a couple of minutes for them to answer (do this at a time when the shop isn’t especially busy). Do they address your concerns in a friendly, professional manner, or are they rude or inattentive? If they recommend a product, do they seem to be doing so with your best interests in mind, or is their goal simply to make a buck off of you? Do they let you make decisions on your own, or do they try to pressure you?
No bike tech knows everything; avoid any that think they do. But a capable one should be able to explain the reasons for a suggested repair, answer basic questions, and display a general understanding of the bike business. He or she should also be courteous and take a moment to address your concerns. Do the techs at the shop you’re visiting exhibit these qualities?
Neatness counts when it comes to any business that’s open to the public. Disorganized merchandise, dusty and dirty conditions, or just an overall slovenly atmosphere are warning signs.
In the interests of full disclosure, we’re sharing these tips not just to inform you, but also to toot our own horn a bit. You see, we’re sure that once you visit Alamo Bike Shop, you’ll agree that we live up to the highest standards of honesty, customer service, and professionalism. Come see us today and find out for yourself! We look forward to becoming your go-to bicycle repair store.