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!

7 Great San Antonio Bike Routes

We don’t want to sound immodest, but San Antonio is a cyclist’s paradise.  There are more great San Antonio bike routes than there are in some entire states!

While downtown is our home base (and one of our favorite places to ride!), it’s surely not the only place in San Antonio for cyclists. Here are a few other must-ride trails around town.  Some are best suited for mountain bikes, others for street or comfort cycles, but each offers a great combination of fun, challenge, and fantastic scenery.

  1. Located near Helotes, Government Canyon State Natural Area offers a variety of routes for both beginners and experienced cyclists.  The area known as the “front country” is relatively tame, very similar to the trails at nearby McAllister Park.  The section known as the “back country,” on the other hand, is perfect for those seeking mountain bike-level challenges; it’s rife with drop offs, hard switchbacks, and steep rises.  There’s a small fee for daily use of the area.
  2. Long known as the “cleanest little park in TX,” O.P. Schnabel Park has dramatic cliff overlooks and other sites that are ideal for bikers of all skill levels.  Trails range from paved, level routes to challenging loops well off the beaten path.  The areas around Leon Creek are especially well suited to mountain bikes.  You’ll also find a track specially designed for BMX riders, complete with jump sections.  Each trail is marked according to level of difficulty.
  3. Already well known in the San Antonio area, the Leon Creek Greenway was recently extended by the addition of 15 miles of new trails.  It connects with routes in or close to Bamberger, Cathedral, and O.P. Schnabel parks.  While this trail is paved, don’t think it’s easy; there are steep climbs and other advanced features.  Take plenty of water with you.
  4. Olmos Basin has come a long way from the days when it consisted of a few short walking trails.  The local cycling community has transformed it into a challenging but ultra-fun location for bikers, with trails that wind through deeply forested areas and sometimes offer a narrow passageway between trees.  While most of the area is flat, the terrain offers plenty of challenges for experienced riders.  Much of it follows local flood plains, but other sections are rocky and uneven, offering a taste of all-terrain biking without being too difficult for novice or intermediate-level cyclists.
  5. Short but full of San Antonio sights, the new 4.5-mile stretch of the Salado Creek North Greenway starts at Voelker Park.  It follows the twists and turns of the stream until the asphalt/concrete pavement disappears.  The riding surface turns into a stony, uneven path that’s filled with roots and large rocks to watch out for.  In other words, this is a perfect route for technical cyclists.  Be aware that this trail is open to walkers and pets as well, so watch out for both as you ride.
  6. About 30 minutes east of San Antonio is a folksy little town named New Berlin, though it’s commonly known as Britzkie Station.  In the center of this charming community is the Britzkie Station and Café, known far and wide for its pies and its delectable fried catfish platters.  But for cyclists, the main attraction in this rural area is the hundreds of miles of dirt roads that take you past some of the prettiest farmland in Texas.  Ulrich Road, a tree-lined, highly shaded route just out of town, is especially popular with bikers, photographers, and nature lovers.
  7. McAllister Park, an almost 1,000-acre park between Jones Maltsberger and Wetmore, was opened in 1968. It now offers ten miles of natural dirt trails for cyclists, as well as many paved paths, a dog park, picnic areas and pavilions. The 5.8-mile Blue Loop trail circles the perimeter of the park, and provides a nice variety of scenery, with some intense drops, climbs, and technical sections. Mud Creek Loop is another unpaved trail near the Optimist Pavilion, covering about 1.5 miles. Watch for other cyclists and pedestrians, as this park is very popular amongst walkers.

You can find out more about these routes by visiting Texas Trails. But before you set out on your latest biking adventure, make sure your cycle is in good shape first.  Bring it by Alamo Bike Shop and we’ll be happy to give it a thorough inspection, perform any needed maintenance or repairs, and suggest other great local trails.  Looking for routes in downtown San Antonio? Give us a call; we offer San Antonio bike tours in the beautiful downtown center. In the market for a new bicycle? We’ve got a great selection, no matter your preferences. Drop by and see us soon!

6 San Antonio Sights to Explore While Cycling

San Antonio is one of the premier vacation destinations in the United States, and with good reason.  There are few places where you’ll find such a rich combination of culture, history, and scenic beauty.  The mild climate means that virtually any time of year is perfect for a visit.  The city is especially popular among cyclists, since most of it is bike-friendly.  So here’s a look at some of the best downtown San Antonio sights that can be explored by cycle.

  1. The Riverwalk – The San Antonio river meanders through the heart of the city, and along its shady banks you’ll find cafes, restaurants, shops, bridges, bars, and miles of pathways perfect for bikers and walkers.  You’ll also enjoy wildflowers and park-like settings along its course.
  2. San Antonio Missions National Historic Park – This federally maintained site contains four of the five historic missions built by the Spanish in the 17th through 19th centuries.  An eight-mile biking and hiking trail takes you past each of these magnificent examples of traditional Spanish architecture.  Immerse yourself in the past as you explore the rich history of colonial Texas.
  3. La Villita – Spanish for “little village,” this is the oldest neighborhood in San Antonio.  It features galleries, shops, and restaurants that reflect a variety of cultural influences, including French, German, Mexican, and Spanish.
  4. King William Historic District – Settled by German immigrants in the 1800s, this is the oldest of Texas’ historic districts.  It offers plenty of opportunities for exploration, with tree-lined streets along the San Antonio River, funky little shops and galleries, mammoth homes, and an eclectic selection of restaurants.
  5. Pearl Brewery – This is the high spot of a three-mile loop that takes riders past the historic 1888 Pearl Brewery, which is now a cultural, educational, and dining center.  Visit the local shops and peruse goods ranging from wallets made of duct tape to near-priceless antiques from the Old World.  Enjoy a meal in one of the three restaurants, browse the mammoth displays of art, and then cycle back to downtown San Antonio for a refreshing beverage and a spot in the shade.
  6. The Alamo – We saved the most obvious for last.  For this ride, start at the site of Texas’ most famous battle and ride past many of the city’s attractions to HemisFair Park, home of the 750-foot-tall Tower of the Americas.  There you can chain your bike to the base and take the elevator to the top of the tower for a great meal and panoramic views of the surrounding city.

Come See Us When You’re In Town

Alamo Bike Shop provides a full range of biking services, including tune-ups, maintenance, and repair.  If you don’t have your bike with you, then we’ll be happy to let you use one of our rental cycles, tell you about other bike riding tours, and answer any questions you might have.  And, if you’re in the market for a great pre-owned bicycle, then browse our current selection.  We look forward to meeting you!

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.

San Antonio Sights For Cyclists to Enjoy: Leon Creek

San Antonio is a bike rider’s paradise.  The city is rich with opportunities for cyclists to explore its history and culture, all while getting great exercise and enjoying nature’s beauty.  So, in this article, and upcoming ones, we’ll look at some San Antonio sights that are well worth exploring.

The Howard W. Peak Greenway Trail System

On September 6th of 2012, the San Antonio city council named its new system of walking and biking trails after former mayor Howard W. Peak.  It’s a fitting tribute to a man who provided the vision and energy to turn the idea of a series of creek-side scenic routes into reality.  Today that system includes 41 miles of trails, with plans to extend it eventually to over 130 miles.  They’re divided into seven routes of varying lengths, but most are relatively flat and easy to navigate for both cyclists and hikers.

The Leon Creek Greenway Section

Running from Loop 1604 to Ingram Road, this stretch includes 13 miles of trails that pass through a series of manmade and natural features, including a large patch of cottonwood trees, rocky outcroppings, and foot bridges.  It has connections to Bamberger Nature Park, Cathedral Rock Park, Earl Scott Pond, the University of Texas’ San Antonio campus, Rodriguez County Park, and numerous business and residential areas.  Parking is conveniently located in three spots: the trailhead at Loop 1604 and IH-10, at 7379 Grissom Road, and the VIA Ingram Transit Center at 3215 Northwestern Drive.

Take Enough Bike For the Trip

Nothing ruins a relaxing cycling adventure to see the San Antonio sights like mechanical failure; that’s exactly what you’re risking when your trust your safety to a low-quality bicycle like the ones sold by big box retailers.  For just a little more, you can enjoy the comfort of a well-built pre-owned cycle from Alamo Bike Shop.  Our trained techs go over every bike we sell, making sure it’s in premium shape and fine-tuning it for peak performance.  So drop by today and see the fine selection we have in stock.

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.