Small business owner offers advice to new riders

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Bobby Burge, engineering alum of this college, practices tricks Saturday outside of Leather Hands BMX Bike School and Repair Shop, 222 Fredericksburg. Owner Paul Magallenez and Burge are bike enthusiasts and ride freesyle together. They have been freestyle riding for more than 20 years. Photo by Pam Paz

Bobby Burge, engineering alumnus of this college, practices tricks Saturday outside of Leather Hands BMX Bike School and Repair Shop, 222 Fredericksburg. Owner Paul Magallenez and Burge are bike enthusiasts and ride freestyle together. Photo by Pam Paz

Editor’s note: As of September 2015, the location of Leather Hands BMX Bike School has changed to 1118 N. Flores.

Cost, safety and maintenance are key factors when buying a bike.

By Pam Paz

ppaz2@student.alamo.edu

Paul Magallanez, owner of Leather Hands BMX Bike School and Repair Shop, knows a thing or two about bikes.

Magallanez has been a bike enthusiast for more than 20 years and has been professionally repairing bikes for the last 10 years.

He said he is a self-taught bike repairman and learned his craft by working on his own bikes and helping others customize theirs.

During an interview, Bobby Burge and Larry Grey, talked shop after hours.

Burge is a former engineering student who attended this college 1989-1991 and transferred to the University of Texas at San Antonio, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering in 1993.

Although Magallanez mostly does repairs, he also dabbles in the buying, selling and trading of bikes and parts.

Grey said Magallanez’s business is a consignment shop. People can come in to purchase new, used or “newsed” bikes, Grey said. Magallanez orders bikes and parts through bike suppliers.

The “newsed” bikes Grey referred to are bikes made out of used bike parts to create a custom bike.

He said, “You have to try to get the best quality for what you can afford.”

Magallanez said new bikes can start anywhere from $250  to $1,000. “Newsed,” or new used bikes start at $50 and up.

The purpose of the bike and experience level of the rider are also important factors.

“If you’re going to be riding your bike downtown, to school or around campus, you should use a commuter bike,” he said.

Burge said many beginners make the mistake of purchasing mountain bikes for commuter riding. He said beginners don’t understand the gears and recommends against dual shock bikes.

Magallanez said, when it comes to bikes, size matters. New riders should consider their own size, by finding a bike that fits.

Magallanaz added, riders should do a basic check each time they ride. This includes checking air pressure, brake function, wheel alignment and steering.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website offers these safe riding tips: Wear a properly fitted helmet, adjust the bike to fit, check the equipment, see and be seen, control the bike, watch for and avoid road hazards and avoid riding at night.

Maintenance is also important.

“The one thing people who want to ride should learn is to fix a flat,” Magallanez said.

The cost to fix a flat at a bike shop runs between $15 and $20, he said.

Another common bike repair is chain replacement. The website, thebicylechain.com, recommends replacing chains every few months.

Magallanez said riders who ride their bike daily should take it to a bike shop to get checked out at least once every three months. Magallanez’s shop is open 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays. For more information about BMX Bike School and Repair Shop, call 210-702-7388 or email magallanezpaul@yahoo.com.

Visit bikeleague.org for more information about bicycles, safety and maintenance.

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