Since I seem to have the moderator’s blessing, here goes. I’ll start with some background information about the area I work at.
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina is a large barrier island on the coast near Savannah, Georgia. As with many area in the South, the Island was first developed to raise cotton. The Island was captured early during th Civil War and was used as a Naval and Marine base until the end of World War 2. The land was sold for its timber, but one owner decided to build a resort like he had seen in Europe after the first bridge was built in 1956.
Hilton Head saw controlled development up until today that is rivaled by few places in the world. One of the unique items if its time was the installation of bike paths from early one. Today there are 50 miles of paved pathway that is owned and maintained by the town, almost another 50 miles within gated planned developments, and a beach that is as easy to ride on at low tide as any freshly paved road.
About 3 million visitors come to Hilton Head every year. A few bring bikes, but many rent one of the estimated 25,000 beach bikes available from about 30 odd bike rental companies. This is where I come in as the mechanic for one of the largest rental companies with an inventory of about 4000 bikes. Not all of my bikes are beach cruisers, I have 13 7-speed comfort bikes, 15 “mountain” bikes, 20 tandems, 10 tricycles, and 115 trailercycles. Why the company has mountain bikes is beyond me, as we have no mountains. Beach cruisers are heavy, single speed, fat tire, coaster brake bikes that usually have a basket attached to the handlebars.
As I mentioned before, I’ve done this for a long time. Why? I had a good gig at a Large Resort Company’s location that was year round with great benefits. I somehow gained an addictive affinity to the job, and along the way I picked up tons of experence working on any kind of bike, as Big Resort wanted us employees to make guests happy no matter what. After a lay off, I was hired at the company I currently work for and put as much, if not more, into working there.