Ask any cycling enthusiast, “What is the ideal number of bikes to own?” and they will most likely respond with "n+1" - where "n" is the number of bikes currently owned and 1 is the bike you have your eye on.
My current n is 4. I have a touring bike; one that has reliably carried me fully self-contained on transcontinental treks twice so far. For around town and day rides, I have a road bike equipped with fenders and a rear rack to carry everything from a laptop computer to groceries. When it comes to exploring the seemingly endless miles of Vermont backroads, I roll out a beefier design with 2-inch tires to cushion the ride and plenty of low gears for the climbs. And then there’s the one I hang onto for nostalgia, my first 10-speed, purchased using my entire summer’s earnings after my freshman year in high school.
By some standards, my personal fleet might be considered low for a lifelong cycling enthusiast, but when I arrive for work at Local Motion’s Trailside Center on Burlington’s waterfront, I get to oversee what is perhaps one of the largest fleets of bikes in the region, so large that I had to take a moment to dig into our fleet management database to come up with the numbers for this article.
Our rental fleet includes bikes for adults - hybrids, around-town, comfort, and tandem bikes – 85 in all. Add to that, our 30 rentals for the younger set – kid’s bikes, tag-alongs, trailers and kid’s tandems (designed for one adult and one child to ride in unison) – and our rental fleet tops out at 115 bikes.
Beyond the rental fleet, we have a cargo bike, set up for servicing bikes on the Island Line Trail, a folding bike that is kept on our bike ferry at the Colchester Causeway, three bikes designated for staff use, and two loaner cargo bikes that are available to try as part of our Cargo Bike Demo program.
So far, we’re up to 122 bikes, but those are only the bikes we keep at our Trailside Center. Loaded in a pair of trailers that we haul to schools across the state in our BikeSmart program, we have bikes ranging in size from 12-inch balance bikes to full-size mountain bikes and tandems, 82 bikes on which children of wide-ranging ages and abilities learn the fundamentals of safe cycling.
The current “n” at Local Motion is 204! Enough to keep our mechanics busy throughout the year, making sure the fleet is in top condition for the many miles they’ll roll each season. The BikeSmart trailers full of bikes were delivered to the first schools of the year on March 13th, followed immediately by 12 to 30 inches of snow across the state!
We're busy completing a thorough cleaning, inspection, repair, tuning and test ride of every bike in our rental fleet before we open our doors on May 20th and kick off the 2017 season. Our seasonal Trailside Center staff will soon be fitting up riders and answering questions about best places to ride. If previous years are any indication, the number of riders we see rolling down the path in the coming months will grow beyond the year before, as will the Local Motion fleet – n+1, and rising.
~ Kevin Rose, Trailside Center and Equipment Manager