3 Sources for Vintage Bike Parts

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!

3 Tips for Finding Cycling Bikes for Sale

Spring is here at last, and summer is just around the corner.  Millions of Americans are taking advantage of the warm weather to enjoy outdoor activities, and many of them are searching for cycling bikes for sale.  If you’re one of them, here are some tips for picking the right model for your needs.

  1. Ask yourself what kind of riding you want to do.  If you’re new to cycling or haven’t been on a bike for a while, then you might want to consider a comfort bicycle.  These models have wider tires, higher handle bars, and more comfortable seats than other types.  They’re perfect for riding on paved trails, around town, or on the beach.  Many cyclists find that a good comfort bike is the only kind they ever need.
  2. Make sure the bike you’re considering is a good fit for you by comparing it to your body frame.  This earlier post explains how to do this, whether you’re an adult, child, or teen.  It’s impossible to over-emphasize how important this is.  An ill-fitting bicycle is not only unsafe, but riding it will also be more of a chore than anything else, which might turn you off to the hobby.  If you’re buying a bike for a young person, make sure to get one that fits them now, not one that you think they’ll grow into.  This will help to ensure that they get the most benefit from the activity.
  3. If at all possible, purchase your bicycle from a well-established bike shop.  Not only do they carry better-quality cycling bikes for sale, but they’re also usually staffed by long-time riders who can match you to the right model for your needs.  If you live in or near San Antonio, then we invite you to drop by and see our team at Alamo Bike Shop today.  We can get you off to a great start!

Secondhand Bikes: Buying Tips for Older Persons

More and more Americans are staying physically active well into their later years.  The benefits of lifelong exercise include better health and improved quality of life. Cycling is an especially good activity for older persons; it’s low-impact and has terrific cardiovascular benefits.  Many seniors are on tight budgets, however, and can benefit from the cost savings associated with secondhand bikes.  So here are some tips for choosing a great bike with the needs of mature persons in mind.

Get Comfortable

For most seniors, the best all-around choice will be a “comfort” or “cruiser” bike.  These models have features such as high handlebars, wide tires, and well-padded seats.  They also feature fewer gears for ease of riding and front- and rear-wheel suspension.

Saddle Up

Most seniors will be comfortable with saddles that are between 8-12 inches wide.  A layer of gel padding is a good idea as well.  It provides enhanced comfort and protects the coccyx and perineum.  Another important consideration is saddle design; horseshoe-shaped ones are especially comfortable and supportive, as are noseless ones or those with a deep indentation down the center.  Leather is a good exterior material, as are the various moisture-wicking fabrics.  They help to avoid chafing and keep the saddle dry.

Do a Test Run

Before buying any bike, take it for a short test ride in the parking lot.  The handlebars should be set at a comfortable height, the saddle should not put undue pressure on any part of the body, and the knees should have a slight bend as the pedal reaches the bottom of the down stroke.  A good bike shop will make sure that the cycle fits the rider comfortably.

If you’re an older person and live in or near San Antonio, then we encourage you to drop by Alamo Bike Shop soon.  We’ll be happy to match you with the perfect secondhand bike for your needs and your budget.

6 Tips for Buying Secondhand Bikes

With the economy still weak in many parts of the country, secondhand bikes are more popular than ever.  Buying one can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars off the cost of a new model.  However, as with any secondhand purchase, it pays to exercise a little extra caution when choosing one.  Some things to look for include:

 

  1. The frameset – Chipped paint and a few tiny oxidation spots are fine, but pass up any bike with dents in the frame, especially if it’s made of aluminum.  Look for cracks or bends where the wheel attaches to the frame (known as the “dropout”).  The front fork should have no play in it whatsoever.
  2. Saddle – Torn ones should have been replaced; avoid the “duct tape quick repair.”  Make sure there’s no play in the saddle; it should be parallel with a level floor.  Sit on it; your leg should slightly bend at the bottom of the down stroke.  Check the seal post clamp for cracks or other signs of wear.
  3. Brakes – Dried-out or worn brake pads are a huge safety risk.  The bike might still be a good deal, but be prepared to replace the pads ASAP.  Rusty or frayed cables, bent or cracked levers, or “mushy” braking are all signs the bike needs replacement parts.
  4. Drivetrain – There should be no play in the crankset.  If there is, the bike probably has worn bearings. Spin the flywheel; any chattering or knocking is a sign of bad bearings.  Shifting should be smooth and crisp in each gear; you’ll need to raise the rear wheel to check for this.
  5. Wheels – Check for side-to-side play.  If you notice any, then the hubs may be worn.  Squeeze the spokes; tension should be the same at every spot.  Loose or broken spokes are a huge red flag.  Tires with worn tread, dry rot, or damage to the sidewalls should be replaced.  Check the air pressure in the tires.  If they can’t hold the recommended level, then the bike has leakage problems.
  6. Bike shop check – if possible, have a local bike shop inspect the cycle before you purchase it.  Here at Alamo Bike Shop we’re happy to perform that service, but we also stock a number of secondhand bikes that are in excellent shape.  Come by and browse our selection soon!

3 Tips for Buying Discount Mountain Bikes

Discount mountain bikes are more popular than ever, thanks to the growing trend towards health-consciousness.  When you combine the fitness benefits of riding a bicycle with the challenge and scenic beauty of mountain biking, you get a one-of-a-kind experience that’s perfect for improving both body and mind.

As with any purchase, however, choosing a good mountain bike, whether new or pre-owned, involves knowing something about the product.  Here are some things to consider:

  1. Of all the bike’s components, the frame is the most important.  Pedals, brakes, etc., can be upgraded.  But if you’ve got a poor frame, then you’re out of luck.  Avoid ones made of high-tensile steel if possible, unless you don’t mind a very heavy bike.  Frames built from chromoly steel or aluminum offer a good balance between strength and weight, with chromoly being the more durable (and heavier) of the two.  If your budget permits it, then titanium and carbon fiber frames offer the best strength/weight ratio.
  2. Disc brakes are a must-have for mountain bikes, as traditional rim brakes are prone to slippage from mud and dirt—two things you’re likely to run into on the back roads.  Front-suspension bikes, known as “hard tails,” will protect your wrists and arms from the shock of rough downhill trails.  For maximum comfort, a full-suspension bike is best.
  3. Pre-owned mountain bikes can be a terrific bargain, but check one over thoroughly before buying.  Inspect the frame for cracks.  Make sure the wheels are true.  Inspect the cables for frayed or stretched points.  Check the suspension as well; it should be smooth, with no leaks or squeaks.  Check all fittings to make sure there is no unnecessary play, and give the tires a good look-over for any weather cracks.

There’s one way to make sure you get a great deal: buy your discount mountain bike from Alamo Bike Shop.  We thoroughly inspect all pre-owned bikes we sell, making sure they’re in premium shape.  We also sell new Jamis bikes, which are unsurpassed for quality.  Come by and browse our selection today!

Alamo Bike Shop: One of a Select Number of Jamis Bike Dealers

For some people, biking is an occasional pastime.  For others, it’s a serious hobby.  And for a few of us, it’s an outright obsession.  The good people at Jamis (pronounced “jay-mus”) Bicycles fall into the latter category.  As they say on their official web site, “building the perfect bike is an impossible goal, but it’s the only one that’s worthwhile.”  Such single-minded devotion to cycling excellence makes us proud to be Jamis bike dealers.

Jamis History

The company began in Florida in 1979, with its debut of the Earth Cruiser.  An all-purpose bike with a revolutionary cantilever mechanism, it was instrumental in starting the whole beach-cruising movement.  These cycles are highly prized by their owners and hard as heck to find on the used market.

A year later, in 1980, Jamis released its Boss Cruiser, which featured a double-diamond frame with a Cheeks saddle.  In 1981 the Boss Explorer, a pioneer in the emerging mountain bike market, was greeted by an adoring public.  It was followed by a series of other triumphs in the early 1980s, including such legendary names as the Dakota, Roughneck, and Lightfoot.

Then, in 1985, history was made when Jamis released the Dakar, a full-featured racing bike.  The sensation it caused throughout the biking community was so great that the company still sells the Dakar to this day.

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Jamis entered new sectors of the market, debuting their first road bikes.  The comfort models came with upright seating and 700cc tires.  The company introduced its first dedicated mountain bike, the Dragon, in 1993.  It featured a hand-polished, tubular frame with fillet welding, Utegra Hubs, XTR drive train, and Rock Shox front suspension.

Throughout its history, Jamis has been at the cutting edge of cycling technology. The Diablo featured a monocoque frame made from molded carbon in 1998.  Its Dragon and Eclipse models were the first American-made, mass-produced bicycles that included Reynolds 853 tubing.

All of this devotion to a single pursuit has earned the company widespread respect and admiration, as well as a number of awards.  In 1998, the Dakota was named Bicycling Magazine’s bike of the year.  Other Jamis models won the same award in 2000 and 2001.  Additional achievements include best felt bar road bike award in 2011 for the Coda Sport, 2009’s best recreational road bike award for the Ventura Elite, and 2008’s award for best enthusiast road bike, the Xenith Pro.

With offices in New Jersey, Florida, and California, today the company builds a diverse selection of bikes for every kind of rider.  Their line includes three different types of mountain bikes, as well as specialty models for road, street, cruising, children/teens, and women’s use.  Especially popular with the general public are the Hudson Easy and the Hudson Easy 3, outstanding general-purpose bikes renowned for their comfort and safety features.

As time goes on, Jamis continues to serve the bike community by designing and building cutting-edge cycles for every segment of the market.  It’s also proud to sponsor biking clubs, individuals, and multi-sport athletes.  Jamis is a first-class company in every respect, and our team here at Alamo Bike Shop is proud to represent them and their products to the people of South Texas as Jamis bike dealers.

Whether you’re in the market for a new bike, a top-quality pre-owned cycle, or information about our San Antonio bike tours and rentals, we invite you to give us a call or drop by to see us today.  We love meeting other cycling enthusiasts, and look forward to serving you in any way we can.  We wish you a safe and prosperous 2013!

3 Tips for Choosing a Kid’s Bike

The holidays are fast approaching, and with them comes the desire for a shiny new bike.  Bicycling is a fantastic activity for children for health and other reasons.  But it’s important to make sure that their bicycle is a good match for their body shape, interests, and skill level.  With that in mind, here’s what to consider when choosing a kid’s bike:

  1. Some of the most important factors are the child’s height, arm and leg lengths, and age.  There are general guidelines that can assist in this choice, such as matching five- to eight-year-olds with 16-inch bikes and teens with 24-inch ones, but these can vary quite a bit from one youngster to another.  We strongly recommend having the specialists at your bike shop assist you in choosing a kid’s bike.  This might spoil the surprise on Christmas morning, but it will also help to ensure that the child will enjoy his or her new bike for a long time to come.
  2. What kind of riding will he or she be doing?  For just getting around the neighborhood or for sticking to well-paved routes, a cruiser or comfort bike is a perfect choice.  But if he or she wants to go off-road, you’ll need a different type of bicycle altogether.  This is also true if your kid wants to enter the world of competitive cycling.  So take the time to find this information out before visiting your local bike shop.
  3. Lastly, we urge you to shop for a kid’s bike at a business devoted to selling quality bikes.  The ones found in most big-box retailers are made with inferior components that can detract from the joy of riding, and in some cases can even compromise safety.  An additional reason to go to a good San Antonio bike shop is so the bicycle can be assembled properly and inspected thoroughly to make certain that all parts are in good working order.  That’s the kind of service you just don’t get from mass merchandisers.

Did you know that we offer Christmas layaway terms?  We know that budgets are tight these days, so we’ll be happy to work with you to arrange payments that fit your budget.  You can take up to three months to pay, giving you the time you need before now and December 25th.  So come by to see us, and bring your child along; we look forward to matching him or her with a great bike at a reasonable price!

6 Bike Safety Tips for San Antonio Bikers

San Antonio and surrounding areas are prime real estate for cyclists; the city’s rich history and scenic beauty make it a perfect location for a relaxing bike ride.  Unfortunately, it only takes one accident to turn a pleasurable ride into a tragedy.  So here are 6 bike safety tips that can help ensure a pleasant trip and safe return:

  1. Always practice road awareness – This means being aware of vehicles, landmarks, potential obstacles, and pedestrians on all sides of you—not just directly ahead.  Knowing what’s behind you is particularly important; some cyclists have bar-mounted mirrors for this purpose.
  2. When traffic slows, move to the middle of the lane – This is important both at intersections and when you’re matching the speed of surrounding vehicles.
  3. Obey road markings – Just like motorists, you have a legal obligation to follow all traffic laws.  Don’t go straight when a sign says “right turn only.”  Don’t turn left from a right turn lane.  Don’t rush to beat red lights.  Be a good rider and a good citizen.
  4. Always be ready to come to a stop – Even highly observant cyclists can’t always predict when a child will run out in front of them or when a car will cut them off.  So keep both hands ready to operate the brakes at all times, just in case the unexpected occurs.  Remember that braking in wet weather requires extra stopping distance.
  5. Use hand signals – Motorists can’t read your mind.  Taking a second to signal your intentions can spare you a lifetime of suffering and regret.
  6. Dress weather-smart –San Antonio’s weather may range from chilly to wet to hot.  Dress in layers on cold days, wear a waterproof riding suit when it rains, and wear light, moisture-wicking clothes to beat the heat during Texas summers.

With the holidays approaching, lots of people are in the market for a quality bicycle.  Did you know that Alamo Bike Shop offers layaway terms?  All it takes to start your account is a 20% down payment, and you can take up to 90 days to pay off your purchase.  Drop by today to browse our great selection of new and second hand bikes.

9 Biking Etiquette Rules to Follow

Cycling is a fast-growing activity that offers huge benefits, from improved health to unparalleled opportunities for adventure, fellowship, and discovery.  Being a responsible cyclist means observing basic principles of biking etiquette.  Here are some rules we should all follow:

  1. Never ride against traffic.  Motorists don’t expect to see you coming at them, and this could cause accidents.
  2. Ride as close to the right side of the road as possible to allow drivers to get past you with minimal fuss.
  3. Obey red lights and stop signs.  Also, watch out for right-turning vehicles.  The driver might not notice you’re there.
  4. Allow others their right of way.  Don’t crowd out pedestrians, either along public roads or on greenways.
  5. Always use hand signals, for your own protection as well as that of others.
  6. In a group, always ride single file when sharing the road with autos.  Simply put, don’t hog the road.  You don’t like it when it’s done to you.  Neither do others.
  7. Don’t weave if it can be avoided.  Of course, sometimes it can’t be helped, like when you have to avoid an upcoming hazard such as a car door being thrust open.  Otherwise, however, ride in a predictable straight-forward manner.
  8. When riding after dark, always use a light and reflectors.  This is crucial for your safety and that of others.  Every year, hundreds of serious injuries and deaths occur because this simple guideline is ignored.
  9. Be considerate when parking.  Don’t get in the way of cars or people on foot.  With public bike racks, use as little space as possible.  Always secure your cycle with a quality lock and chain.

Following this simple biking etiquette can help make your experience, as well as everyone else’s, much more enjoyable.

Alamo is a leading San Antonio bike shop.  Our mission is to help you to enjoy cycling to its fullest.  Let us know if you have any questions or concerns we can help with and drop by anytime for bike-related sales or service.

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.