For 10 years I lived in the Washington DC area. I had my folding bike, an account with a car-sharing service, and I lived near the DC Metro system. Life was good. But something was missing.
So I fell in love, moved to Flagstaff, Arizona, and got married.
I realize now that what was really missing from my life in the DC area may have been a really amazing folding bike trailer, like the Burley Travoy “urban trailer system” which sells for $289–a small fraction of the cost of a wedding with 100 guests.
I’m sure the Travoy would have quickly paid for itself in other ways too. I think of all the times when I couldn’t resolve the (a) the load size, (b) the distance, and (c) the size constraints of public transportation and it’s related elevators. So I would rent a car, or pay for a taxi.
This week, however, I was able to approximate one of the urban uses a Travoy: a cat food run.
The hitch attached easily to the fat seat post of my Dahon folding bicycle. This being my first-ever trailer-pulling experience, I did some test maneuvers. I could turn as tightly as if there were no trailer attached. Then I took off for Olsen’s Grain–which is where I buy cat food.
Seat-post-mounted trailers, I’m told, are less prone to tipping over than traditional bike cargo trailers which mount to the frame dropout. I tempted fate several times by riding too close to a curb or to the edge of the bike path. The Travoy never wobbled or showed any instability. The empty trailer weighs less than nine pounds. I couldn’t tell that I was pulling anything at all.
On a full-sized bike, the seat-post mount might interfere with a rack-top bag, or a rear bike child seat.
In DC, I would have taken the bike and the Travoy onto a subway, but in Flagstaff I only managed to pass a freight train.
When I arrived at Olsen’s, I detached the trailer easily, and dropped the hitch arm, converting the Travoy into a hand cart. I pulled it into Olson’s and loaded it while still in the store, using only the included tie-down straps.
Burley may not necessarily want their products associated with cat hairballs, and that is not my intention here. I’m really liking this trailer. My only complaint is that it could have used about four more attachment points for the tie-down straps. The ones I used were just a bit too high or a bit too low for this particular load. A bungee would have made it work. Instead I ended up putting the cat food inside the tote bag that comes with the Travoy. (When completely folded, and wheels removed, the Travoy fits into the tote bag.)
Back in DC, I’d tried many ingenious ways of loading grocery bags onto my Dahon. Grocery panniers were not an option because they interfered with my heels while pedaling. What I found worked best was walking. The store was less than half-a-mile from home.
But pulling the Travoy with 20 pounds of cat food, the bike handled much more naturally than a bike with grocery panniers, or any of the other methods I’ve tried. The Travoy can carry up to 60 pounds. If this were to become my regular grocery-hauling system, I’d consider the Travoy Market Bags.
I’d definitely recommend the Travoy to any cyclist whose day-to-day environment still includes elevators, subways, or small condos.
Warning: Slick Burley marketing ahead.