While on holiday in San Francisco this past October I took the opportunity to visit American Cyclery, one of San Francisco’s and America’s oldest continuously operating bicycle shops. It was absolutely the bicycle shop I hoped it might be.
American Cyclery has a fantastic selection of classically styled road bikes. Their new bike selection clearly represents a belief in the ride quality and durability of steel. Rather than stocking the full range of any given manufacturer they stock only the bikes that illustrate the shop’s steel philosophy at the appropriate price points. At the time of my visit their selection began with Raleigh and Bianchi, moved on to Soma and Gunnar and on up to Waterford, with each of the lower-end models benefiting and looking uncharacteristically high-quality from sharing space with its higher-end neighbors. There were also a few ultra-high-end hand-built bicycles from notable American builders which made the pocketbook ache just looking at them, but were a pleasure to behold just the same. The shop is accented by display cases full of vintage road components as well as the presence of a number of classic Paramount and other track bikes. The place is truly a shrine to the steel bicycle.
Across the street is American Cyclery Too, where American Cyclery moved the mountain bike part of its operation about 8 years ago. In addition to its excellent stock of mountain and commuter bikes the shop has on display many significant retro mountain bikes from the formative days of the sport. I’ve stumbled across a fair share of Ritchey Commandos and Mountain Goats in my time, but I must admit I was quite surprised and delighted to be up close and personal with an early Breezer, Cook Bros. and Cunningham. The shop staff was quite friendly and happy to take time out to chat about all manner of bicycle related topics – the vintage bikes in the shop, the early years of mountain biking and the merits of steel versus frame materials among others.
American Cyclery is located at 510 Frederick Street just 3 blocks south of Haight Street and adjacent to Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, California. If you’re planning a trip to San Francisco and have part of a day to burn I highly recommend dropping by. It’s a great way for a bike junkie to blow an afternoon.
If you’re curious to see more of what I saw you can take a look at additional photos on the photo gallery page of American Cyclery’s website: http://www.americancyclery.com/gallery/
Article Â© Jason Peraza 2007