Tennis, playgrounds, cocktail bar and even a bird hide
Dahon Folding Bikes Store in Cape Town
The new Bree Street purveyor of compact collapsible bikes peddling one-of-a-kind commuter cycles
Far from just a figurative odyssey, the journey that led couple Jan Wouters and Jo Charnock to launch the first store in Mzansi devoted to the ingenious Dahon folding bike was a long, taxing, transcontinental one.
Back in 2008, purely for the fun of it, this adventurous duo took it on themselves to travel from Cairo to Cape Town on two of these sleek, collapsible cycles, which were chosen for the trek specifically because of the ease with which they could be packed up and put in a car whenever the pair were too tired to pedal. Once the famed international manufacturer of the bicycles – Dahon’s been going for over three decades – caught wind of their story, it approached Jan and Jo to formally start bringing the brand to our fair nation, and so, in 2012, the two, quite by accident, became the official Dahon distributors on South African soil.
Now, only one year later, in late October 2013, the couple have completed their lengthy expedition by opening a walk-in one-stop shop on Bree Street that gives locals access to a wide range of these trendy fold-up cycles under a single roof.
And considering the current growth of Cape Town’s cycling culture, it couldn’t have come at a better time. With more and more Mother City-ites turning to two-wheelers to commute, there’s more and more of a need for a super convenient, compact option that makes cruising hassle free.
“It’s a lifestyle product that comes with a lot of freedom,” explains Belgian-born Jan. “Unlike with a regular bike, you can take these wherever you go – into a restaurant, into your office on the seventh floor, on the MyCiTi bus, on the train.”
The versatile cycles, which boast aluminium frames and can be folded up into a small, portable package in 15 seconds flat, can be stored almost anywhere – under work desks, in cupboards, in car boots – and because they’ve been developed and perfected over 30 solid years, the Dahon bikes are at the forefront of innovation when it comes to technology and design. Not to mention, they come in an assortment of different styles to suit all needs and budgets.
The new wooden-floored Bree Street store stocks a wide range of these, including the entry-level Eco C7, the maintenance-free Vitesse D3 for leisurely city street cycles, the high-performance Vector P8 for racing enthusiasts, the uber small and smooth Curve D3 and the top-of-the-range, 24-gear Mu P24. And Jan will happily advise customers on which wheels would fit their lifestyle best and even offer patrons a chance to ‘test drive’ a model or two.
Aside from the fold-ups though, the CBD shop, which strives to be different from your classic cycle store, also sells an assortment of funky bike-related accessories: think edgy Bern helmets, locally made Re-Sails bags (crafted from recycled yacht sails), Knog lights and locks, vibrant Madiba-style Indola cycling shirts and shorts, pOcpac cell phone pouches and cleverly packaged patches for puncture repairs.
In other words, regardless of what your journey might be – short or long distance, for work or for fun, cross-city or cross-continental – this stylish new outlet will likely have all you need to make it a comfy, convenient one.
Tip: Jo and Jan have also launched a locally based Dahon online store (Dahonbikes.co.za) that delivers for free anywhere in South Africa – the bikes arrive fully serviced, so all buyers need to do is unpack and unfold.
The Bill: Dahon folding bicycles are very reasonable in price, especially when you consider what traditional two-wheelers go for. Depending on the model, they sell for between R3500 and R9340. All other accessories at the new concept store cost from around R100 to R1000.
Opening Hours: Monday – Friday: 10am – 4pm; Saturday: 10am – 1pm
152 Bree Street (Rivets and Rockets building) | City Centre | Cape Town | +27 (0) 82 268 0559
Keen to learn more about bicycle-related happenings in the Mother City? Take a look at our overview of road cycle events and MTB races in Cape Town.
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