Ready to Ride? Bike rental shop now open beside the Tweetsie Trail

Zach Vance • Updated Jun 6, 2018 at 11:34 PM

Few locations are as ideal for a bicycle rental shop as that of Johnson City’s Local Motion: at the head of the Tweetsie Trail.

After spending a year renovating an old grocery store, owner Bryan Winston quietly opened the doors at 701 E. Maple St. for the first time Memorial Day weekend, and it’s been open every day since.

“I’m very happy with the the way it turned out. I think it’s a positive to the community here beside the trail. We don’t just want to be biking, we want to be all genres. We want the walkers, we want the runners (and) the hikers,” Winston said.

While his shop will likely be known for its bicycle rentals, Local Motion will offer a variety of goods and services, including healthy snacks, drinks, apparel, ice cream and more. It will also be a place for Tweetsie Trail users to socialize, relax and recoup after a long ride or run.

Starting at $22 for a half day and $27 for a full day, customers can rent high-quality Giant brand mountain bikes, hybrid bikes, comfort bikes, trikes and tag-along bikes for small children to pedal along the Tweetsie Trail.

“That’s where we’re at on the Tweetsie Trail bikes. Once Tannery Knobs opens up, then we’re going to be bringing in a whole new genre of heavier duty, more downhill-type bikes in here with a full suspension, and of course those (prices) are going to vary greatly,” Winston said.

Winston also said that once the Tannery Knobs bike park opens, he will begin offering his customers shuttle services up Chamber Drive to the top of the mountain. 

“We’ve already got a van, and we’re going to get it wrapped. We’re going to be offering that because it’s going to be hard for most people ... to go up that road riding a bicycle. So we’re going to offer that shuttle service up. Then they can enjoy the day up there and ride back down and come back to the shop.”

If you happen to find yourself with a flat tire on the Tweetsie Trail, Winston said his shop will also service minor bike repairs, such as a tire replacements and brake adjustments.

For those tired of constantly transporting their bike to the trail, Local Motion will provide a storage service, or as Winston likes to call it, a “bike valet,” for $20 a month. If someone wants to store multiple bikes, Winston said he will offer discounts.

“So if someone is not too eager or doesn’t have the means of transporting their bike to and from the Tweetsie Trail, we’re going to offer a service where they can store their bikes here,” Winston said. 

“They can call us, we can bring their bike up (from downstairs), we can pump the tires up and the bike will be ready sitting here waiting for them to take off. Then all they have to do is bring the bike back to us.”

Dan Reese, a member of the Tweetsie Trail task force, believes Local Motion will provide a tremendous benefit to the adjacent community and expects the shuttle service to be a popular service.

“Given what I expect to be the popularity of Tannery Knobs, (the shuttle) would relieve parking issues up there. Because if you have a group coming in with a truck, trailer and six bicycles or whatever, to me, that takes up a lot of space. Then you also have people who are, to put it mildly, not fit enough to climb to the top of that mountain,” Reese said.

“This allows access for a wider group of users to learn how to use the children’s pump track, the learner’s area and the easy trails without having to kill yourself trying to get up there on that steep hill.”

Another unique offering, not just for bikers but for any Tweetsie Trail user, is Local Motion’s check-in service. Winston said anyone can come by and provide the store with their cell phone number and an approximate time they expect to be back from their walk or ride.

“If they don’t come back, we will then in turn make a call to their cell phone. If there are any issues, then we can alert the authorities. We’ll just be a check-in point, just for safety,” Winston said.

As part of a partnership with the City of Johnson City, Local Motion will replace the Tweetsie Trail portable restrooms with exterior public restrooms for users. Winston plans to host a grand opening ceremony later this month and plans to hand over the restroom keys to the city during that time.

“We’re thrilled to death with the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, who will be maintaining the public restrooms. And we’re happy to partner with them through this public/private venture. That is a big plus there, I believe,” he said.

Winston said Local Motion’s hours will vary by season, but currently the shop is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays.