NORMAN — “From commuters to long-haul truckers, from campers to pilots -- folders offer a way to make your bicycle a take-along,” said Hank Ryan, owner of Al’s Bicycles.
Folders, or folding bicycles, is a category of bikes in which Al’s Bicycles of Norman specializes. The bike is growing increasingly popular and can be used not only for recreation, but also transportation.
Al’s Bicycles of Norman are the center for the multi-functional bikes and has been an authorized dealer for Dahon folders since Hank and Ann Ryan bought the shop in 2010. They have also added Tern folders when they were introduced in fall 2011, as well as English-made Bromptons in August, to expand the variety of folding bicycles at the business.
The bicycle shop is the only one in a 300-mile radius to have all three brands in stock. This allows potential buyers to able to look at the bikes in-person and also give them a test drive before they buy them said Ann.
“We want our customers to test ride,” Hank said. “Anyone coming into the shop can get the feel of the bike before investing in it.”
The Ryan’s keep more than a dozen different models in stock at all times so potential buyers can test drive the bicycles. So far they have sold bikes to folder seekers from Arkansas, Kansas, Texas and others from all across Oklahoma.
Hank bought his first folder because he wanted a small-wheeled bike that was easy to get on and off and that would fit more easily into his car.
“I had been riding a semi-recumbent bike. It was a great bike, but it weighed 50 pounds and took, of course, a special bike rack. If you have any back, neck or shoulder problems or any difficulty swinging your leg up and over a standard bike, folders are a great solution,” he said.