Thursday, August 17, 2023


I finally bit the bullet and got something I've been eyeing for a while: a Burley Travoy trailer, with an attachable market bag. 

All summer, I get a weekly farm share pickup about 5 or 6 km from me. For the first half of the summer I can usually manage with a backpack, but once we get into August they start putting melons and potatoes and big heads of broccoli into the box, and I stop being able to make it all fit in my backpack. Also, if I want to pick up bulky things from the grocery store like cat food or toilet paper, I have been needing to take the car because I didn't have room in the backpack. So - I decided it was time to get a trailer. 

First impressions are good - but then, like I said, I've been looking at this particular piece of gear for a while online. This thing seems super easy to use and very easy to attach, collapse, and adapt. The trailer folds down to about the size of a small wheelie bag, if you take the wheels off - and it's easy to get the wheels on and off the axle. Once it's off the hitch it transforms into a shopping cart, basically: something you can tow around the store with you. It comes with a storage bag, which is cool. And it has a kickstand, so it stands up vertically when it's not attached to the bike. 

The hitch arm and upper section fold down with a turn of the yellow handle, and due to some kind of wizardry, turning the handle almost automates the folding action - it's surprisingly easy to manage with one hand and very little strength. No "pushing in a little button while you twist something else." This seems like it would be pretty simple to use even if you had problems like arthritis or hand pain. 

The hitch is super simple: it locks onto the seatpost with a lever that compresses it around the post with one flip. That means it can be attached to multiple bikes - you don't need to mount it on one bicycle and then only use that bike to haul the trailer. (Yes, I have two potential bikes it could be mounted on.) The trailer attaches to the hitch by sliding on to a pin, secured with a sliding tab, and I discovered I can attach or remove the trailer with one hand, leaving the other one free to hold on to the bike. 

It's super easy. 

The market bag is a 40L tote that attaches with four anchor points to the frame of the trailer. It came with some tiedown straps that I haven't tried out yet, but which I stashed inside the bag in case I do need them, and it has an outside pocket where you could put some small things.

You know I had to take it out for a spin this afternoon, so I decided to do some quaxing (does anyone still say "quaxing?"). I went out to the South Keys shopping centre to hit Bulk Barn and the grocery store. Barely noticed I was towing it (and although for the first little while I kept being really conscious of flexposts and curbs and things like that, I think that in fact it's no wider than I myself am, so it never caught on anything). 

Locked up next to one of its cargo-hauling cousins at the store.

At the shopping centre, I ran the cable through the trailer frame, my back wheel, and the bike frame to lock it up, took the market bag off, and went into the shops with it. Then I hooked the bag back onto the trailer and headed back home with a stop at my corner store for some lemons and hummus: this time I took the whole trailer off, folded down the hitch arm, and used it like a granny cart in the store. 

Back home at the bike room, I popped the trailer off, stashed my bike, and headed up to my apartment. Folded the whole thing down and stuck it in the closet. I'm happy enough with this purchase that I went ahead and bought the upper market bag too, which holds 22L and has a buckle-down top on it. 

I think that before, when I was doing most of my grocery shopping on the way back from work, and didn't go on a lot of specifically "hauling" trips, this gadget would have made less sense. Now that I work from home a lot of the time, I think it might really help me ride more, drive less, and generally carry more shit.

I think I might name it Hopalong.