Sunday, December 8, 2013

Bike Book Haulage with the Burley Travoy

I had a so-called "book problem" long before the n+1 bike situation kicked in. A product which would enable both at the same time seemed like an ideal item for me, so I picked up a Burley Travoy bike trailer with the plan of using it to ride over to a VNSA book sale to stock up. Because, I guess, while I don't really need more books, or an excuse to go for a bicycle ride, both together help me to achieve critical mass or something.

Since this trailer is supposed to be able to carry 60 lbs, it sounded like enough of a limit to control my frenzy somewhat. After all, whatever I bought, I would have to pull home. Events, though, have so far precluded an actual VNSA outing with the trailer. So I decided to try it out instead for carrying books to one of the VNSA donation stations, to give some back.  

Conservation of household book mass: books in should equal books out

Book cargo weight, well below the rated max, probably a good middle weight to try out

Pulling 34 lbs, the weight of one or two bikes, felt quite stable. It felt different than I thought it would--the load is quiet stable and tracks behind like it's part of you, and doesn't bounce around much, or carry on with its own ideas of where it wants to go. It just follows along behind, exerting a smooth, steady, noticeable drag. Stopping was good. I suppose since I added mass I also added stopping distance, but there was no problem or even sensation that the load was going to cartwheel around me sideways or something when I stopped. About the only odd sensation was the inchworm feeling if I went through a dip or over a bump slightly shorter in length than my combined bike-trailer length. It's not a big deal, but you can feel the bike-trailer combo flex a bit vertically, which I think it's meant to do. This is probably an essential characteristic of the design, which prevents it from bouncing around too much. 

The V where the handles join also mounts a rear-facing blinky light

The trailer folds up easily and neatly, then stows into its own bag. The folding bits are retained with clever catches which are engaged and released by turning the black handles, or in the case of the bottom shelf, by pulling on a release line underneath. It's both easy and seems sturdy.

It comes with a big gaping bag that mounts on the little pegs that stick out the sides. Other sorts of bags might be fitted or attached, although I haven't spent much time on that yet. It will be necessary to ensure that they fit between the wheels without rubbing. I plan on trying out different combos and attachment methods to work out how to carry the books back home from the next sale.

The trailer's name comes from the sled made by native Americans by lashing together two poles to pull loads behind. For me, for some purposes like hauling 40 or 50 pounds of books, this trailer works very well. I can't imagine trying to manage that type of load on my bicycle in a backpack, or even on my rear rack, which isn't rated for that much weight. Which turns out to be a good thing, since I found three loads of kids' books waiting for me to haul back to the donation box when I returned home. It seems that the idea of me hauling books by bicycle is popular in my house. That's fine by me: it will make more room for new books, while hitching up the Travoy and riding over to the donation box will give me more practice for a big load returning home from the fairgrounds in February.

Reflectors underneath. The trailer sits at about 45 degrees, so these appear to be visible but low to the ground.

Stowed inside itself. Light and easy to carry. This bag comes with, others available optionally.

I purchased this product myself at full price. See my disclaimer for more information.


  1. I didn't know you owned one of these. I recently saw Burley's video and was surprised and delighted to discover all the unique features and folding capabilities. It's a well thought out design.

    Earlier this year I helped out at a ladies' flat repair clinic. One of the main organizers brought all clinic supplies, including two full wheels strapped to the exterior of her Travois. It was the first one I'd seen in person. She loves it.

    1. I don't think I will use it to commute every day, anniebikes, but for days when I need to haul more than usual, or for donating or buying mass quantities of books, it fits the bill nicely. Easy to stowe and store, too, once it's folded up.

  2. How much does the trailer weigh itself, when in "carry around" configuration?


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