Town embraces American history with vintage bikes

March 30, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
For all the high tech bikes passing through town, San Anselmo may also have the nation's highest number, per capita, of antique, steel cruisers.

"Oh this will last 100 years and still be good; my kid's kid will be riding this bike," bike enthusiast Scott Breeze said.

By fate, fortune or design, pretty much every one of the collectables seen cruising around town came from what locals call Low Key Motors, also known as Jer Heidenreich's front yard.

Jer is the neighborhood kid, all grown up. A bike guy all his life, who raced for 15 years, Jer built a word-of-mouth business by sticking to a pure and rigid market niche.

"Half the older people say, 'I had this bike, that's my bike,'" Jer said.

Like many of the people who ride them, these are bikes with histories, made all the more interesting because of their flaws. They are distinguished bikes that wear their experiences and reflect their eras.

"I'm selling history, something we used to make in the United States, and there is less and less of that all the time," Jer said.

Jer finds many of his bikes on the internet, especially from Midwestern yard sales. No matter how good a bike looks, he takes every one apart, piece by piece.

They say it is impossible to bring back the past, but with an old steel cruiser beneath your feet, you can still ride it.

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