Chung Pai

Photo: Hannah Whitaker/New York Magazine

What qualifies as a vintage bike?
We specialize in Schwinns and Raleighs from 1960 to 1985. They’re not antiques, but they’re not just used bikes.

Where do they come from?
About six months ago I rented a truck and brought back like 80 bicycles from the Midwest. Also a lot come from the suburbs upstate and in New Jersey.

How much do they cost?
They’re usually around $300, especially if you’re looking for a specific height and color. These are pretty affordable, they look cool, and they ride well because we do all the tune-ups.

What kind of customers do you get?
It’s a hip, young crowd. I get a lot of twentysomething girls who act like they’re shopping for a vintage dress: “Oh, it has a basket for my purse, and it has a cute bell, and the color is pretty.” It’s not just a bike, it’s a fashion accessory.

What’s your favorite cheap thing in the store?
We give out slushies from the Slush Puppie machine behind the register. But don’t tell the neighborhood kids, or they’ll be in here every day. I tell them you have to be 21 to be served.

How about a bike bargain?
A single-speed Ross or Free Spirit bike with foot brakes runs $150 to $200 since they don’t have gears, whereas a Schwinn or Raleigh with gears starts at $250. Bikes that aren’t as clean are usually cheaper, too.

Chung Pai