When 16-year-old Roger Soler crossed the finish line first at the Peruvian National Junior Championship, his victory marked the beginning of a love affair with running. At age 18, he set a Peruvian record in the 1500-meter and eventually brought his talents to the U.S., where he competed in the 5000-meter race at the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympics. Through it all, Roger nurtured a genuine fondness for running that blossomed into a full-fledged passion when he opened the first Soler's Sports more than two decades ago.
Today, Soler's Sports boasts four locations staffed by athletes with real-life experience in biking and running and was awarded a spot on Running Insight's Top 50 Running Stores of 2011. Staffers tend to customers on an individual basis, guaranteeing sneakers to accommodate gaits and bikes to fit bodies based on detailed analyses. Once employees have profiled the perfect shoe or bike, they help patrons find them, searching through the store’s stock, which includes brands such as Ridley Bikes, Vibram FiveFingers, Vitalsox, and Spibelt. Patrons can test-drive new kicks and wheels at the store's group runs and rides.
At Luis Gallardo's Bike City, the walls have nearly disappeared behind row after double-decker row of bicycles. Though his shop is packed with road bikes, mountain bikes, cruisers, hybrids, and children's bikes, Gallardo?a 40-year veteran of the bike industry?has also managed to find room for accessories and parts from brands such as Shimano, SRAM, and Louis Garneau. His team of mechanics repairs and maintains every make and model of velocipede, drawing on experience gleaned from years spent living with two-wheelers in their natural habitat.
The expert cycle surgeons at Bike World—one of whom was voted best bike mechanic by the San Antonio Current in 2010—are masters at nursing sick duocycles back to an optimal state of road-worthiness. The thorough tune-up involves adjusting the front and rear derailleurs and brakes, truing the wheels, lubing the cables and chain, and wiping down the frame with fancy white gloves. Once your bike is as finely tuned as an instrument made of baseball cards and spokes, feel free to blaze down trails, tracks, and undiscovered shortcuts to celebrities' houses with a renewed sense of fearlessness.
The burrito is a self-contained tour through the worlds of meat, beans, and spices, a melting pot of food culture. Embark on a culinary adventure by perusing the restaurant's Tex-Mex menu, full of fresh ingredients that are never canned nor frozen nor stored in an insulated fanny pack. At Freebirds, the customer decides on the contents of each burrito, like filling a tortilla papoose full of meats, vegetables, and cheeses. Burritos range in size from the smallest, the hybird, to the biggest, the super-monster ($4.69–$12.99). They can be stuffed with slow-roasted carnitas, grass-fed steak, fire-grilled chicken, or fresh non-meat-based vegetables and wrapped with four flavors of tortilla. Also available are a host of other Tex-Mex favorites, such as quesadillas ($5.39–$6.29), tacos ($1.59 each), and nachos ($5.79-$6.69).
Pedal pushers can kick down their kickstands and stop at Cycle Logic Bike Shop to search for bike-friendly clothing and gear, bike-related accessories, or brand new bikes. Prep for the next mental race against other cycling commuters by loading up on gloves ($20+), bike jerseys ($50+), bike shoes ($70+), helmets ($40+), and seat bags ($18+). Cycle Logic stays stocked with all the tools to keep the wheels working, from hand pumps ($28+) to pedals ($14+), ensuring that rolling experiences are always as smooth as the wheel's inventor, Courey, intended them to be. Customers who choose to use their Groupon toward a new bike ($200+) will also get unlimited adjustments for the first year, plus an optional 40% trade up within two years of purchase.
Alamo Bike Shop provides bike rentals, repairs, and parts to get tourists and locals alike cycling merrily through the streets of San Antonio. Rentals allow explorers to choose from an inventory of quality comfort cruisers and K2 mountain bikes. To keep cyclists' heads safe, Alamo Bike Shop outfits renters with helmets as well as locks to prevent cycles from sneaking off to go hunting for armadillos. Kids 10 years and older can also get a bike rental suited to their smaller size; Alamo Bike Shop requires all riders under 18 don helmets to protect developing noggins. Check the shop's site for a list of San Antonio attractions to explore on rented wheels, including the San Antonio Museum of Art, Brackenridge Park, or that great trash can on Elmira Street.