NORMAN — The 18th annual Norman Conquest bicycle ride is right around the corner. Get ready to conquer now at one of Norman’s bicycle shops — all of which have a substantial inventory with bicycle season in its peak. All Norman’s bike shops also service the products they sell. Personnel are experienced riders and can offer cycling advice including safety tips, maintenance know-how and the best gear for your style of riding.
Here’s the scoop on each Norman bike shop:
· Al’s Bicycles, 562 W. Main St., operated by Ann and Hank Ryan has some special bikes and some special prices.
“What sets us apart from other shops is that our bikes are generally lower priced,” Hank Ryan said. “We’re more of a family bike shop and less of a high performance shop.”
Prices range generally from $300-$800. Raleigh is their primary brand, but Al’s also has high-end BMX bikes the other places don’t. Those are the small frame bicycles used for off-road racing and stunt riding in skateboard parks. BMX is the favored late night transportation for teenagers who should be home in bed. They’re indestructible but also uncomfortable for older riders.
Al’s also carries the Brompton brand folding bike that’s hand-made in London.
“We have one of the largest selections of folding bikes between the Mississippi and the Rockies,” Ryan said.
Brompton bikes are favored by public transportation commuters. The small, light weight bikes fold up into a case easily for carry-on travel to any destination. Voilá! Riders have their own wheels on arrival. Folding bikes cost about $1,500.
Al’s does not carry spandex or any other bike riding clothes.
· Buchanan Bicycles, 561 Buchanan Ave., has a counter-culture coffee shop vibe. It’s been on Campus Corner since 1973.
“We try to appeal to every kind of bicyclist,” salesman Nick Blackwell said. “We have a service department with some great mechanics and take a lot of pride in that. We want every customer to feel like this is their bike shop.”