The Alamo, the River Walk and Unesco-listed missions – San Antonio, Texas, has cultural clout. To help you explore, visit these premier bike rental shops in the city, from century-old downtown providers to stores beside the Mission Trail.Less
In the hip Pearl District, at the historic Pearl Brewery complex and – very handily – near lots of restaurants, Bike World rents out everything from high-quality Trek carbon road bikes to comfy cruisers for leisurely jaunts around San Antonio. The shop opened in 2010 in a black-hued warehouse shack and is known for its friendly staff who are happy to dispense day-trip recommendations. You can also pick up a map here, and junior cyclists are easily accommodated.
For hiking or biking, the riverside Mission Trail is a 15mi (24km) route connecting the five 18th-century Spanish Catholic missions of San Antonio. Right on the trail, Blue Star Bike Shop has amiable experts who will set you up on well-maintained seven-speed rides at competitive rates, adjusting them to your body, and will even throw in pedal buggies, cell holders, a helmet, a bell and a basket, as resident feline Miss Cookie lazes somewhere nearby. Even better? It has a brewpub next door.
Operating from a small home in the southerly Highland Hills district, the long-running Abel’s Bicycle Shop can also deliver to (and pick up from) downtown hotels on request. Beginning as a mobile repair van in 1988, it’s the sort of business to prioritize if you like independent, devoted specialists. The fleet includes multi-speed cruisers, hybrids, tandems and mountain bikes, and all rentals include a helmet, a lock, a cable and a Mission Trail map.
The sole Ride Away Bicycles store offering rentals is in the Thousand Oaks Shopping Center. That puts it close to the airport and closer still to the various bumpy, mostly non-technical mountain-bike trails of McAllister Park – ideal as it has a fleet of off-road cycles to borrow (dependent on the park being open). Road bikes are also available, along with all the gear you’ll need. The shop has a cozy, cluttered vibe, and non-pushy expertise is guaranteed.
In 2020, the Charles A James Bicycle Shop celebrated its centennial, making it the oldest bike shop in San Antonio. Second-generation owner Hank has overseen the recent provision of road-bike rentals, including Fuji and Breezer models – along with introducing natty pedal-themed necklace pendants. When visiting the store, handily located next to downtown and the river, ask for a peek if it’s currently exercising another specialty: restoring amazing vintage bicycles.
Northeast of the San Antonio limits, the handsome city of New Braunfels borders the windy Comal and Guadalupe rivers and promises leafy parks, 1800s German-style buildings and limestone caverns. It also has a Pedego Electric Bikes shop, with the powered vehicles ideal for following trails up beautiful, vineyard-covered hills nearby. Tandems are available, too, and locks and helmets come as standard. In other words, this is day-trip perfection.