Students can cut out the hassle of having to lock up their bikes while going to class. Math professor Yan Lyansky created his own line of folding bikes, "Downtubes," which are convenient for students and faculty on campus.

Folding bikes have been around since the late 1970s. The bikes fold up easily and they are small enough to carry into a classroom or anywhere that people may bike to.

Lyansky has considered bicycling a hobby since his youth. He raced bikes cross-county 11 years ago at the expert level, which at the time was one level under pro.

"This is a dream. Thinking about bikes and designing them is all I have ever done," said Lyansky.

Even though Lyansky plans to make improvements on his bikes, he doesn't have any financial goals in mind.

"I am just doing the right thing. There are no financial goals involved. It makes me feel good to help people," Lyansky said.

Lyansky's bikes are sold mostly online at downtube.com. The bikes are also available on Ebay but the nicest models aren't sold there. Lyansky plans to eventually sell Downtubes at the Bicycle Post in Greenville.

The name "Downtube" may seem crazy to non-cyclists, but it is actually relevant to bikes. A bike contains different parts which include the down tube, head tube, seat tube and top tube. The brand name "Downtube" is written across the actual down tube of the bike.

The bikes start at $300 and range up to $500. This may sound expensive, but is moderately cheap compared to competing fold-up bike companies. Usually, mid-grade bikes range from $800 to $1,000.

"I think it's a great bike for the money. It performs very well compared to the other folding bikes I've tried out," said professor Morgan Griddings from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

According to Griddings, the "Downtube" bike can even be folded up and fit into a suitcase to take on an airplane. It is convenient to take while traveling or just to use as transportation to and from school or work.

"Whenever the weather is warm, I would ride the bike to school. I live about three miles away from campus. It gives me a great workout," said ECU associate professor of statistics Said E. Said

Downtube bikes fit almost everyone because the handlebars are adjustable for their height and angle. The ability to adjust the bikes is helpful so people will have the right length of arm space that they need.

Last year Downtube sold about 3,000 bikes and Lyansky hopes to double that amount this year.

This writer can be contacted at news@theeastcarolinian.com.

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