Traveling with Strida and Travoy
For many years I have had this dream of flying to an exotic destination, attaching a trailer to my bike and riding off into the sunset. Recently I experienced part of this dream traveling with Strida. I attended a Credit Union conference in Toronto, I am a director of a Credit Union. As I have previously discovered West Jet is Strida bike friendly with the only extra charge for the Strida bike bag, a fee of 25.00. Toronto was nice but not quite as exotic as I would like.
I have been planning this traveling with Strida adventure for awhile.
My adventure started with designing and testing a custom hitch to attach a Burley Travoy trailer to the seat mount of the Strida. The next step was finding a way to pack the Travoy trailer in the Strida padded bag, it is possible but it is not easy. What I learned packing the bag this trip will help with the next, I did remove the saddle but next time I will remove the pedals. I may also experiment with these removable pedals. They are lighter than the folding pedals, quick and easy to remove but I may miss the ability to fold the pedals.
Other thoughts and planning info, I packed large orange garbage bags, in case it rained but also for added visibility. Most of my riding is in my small town, the car traffic is never a problem. The idea of cycling on busy Toronto streets was a little frightening. With this in mind I packed a orange reflective safety vest. I also packed front and rear flashing lights. The small rechargeable Strida safety lights attach easily, the rear light I attached to the bungee cord that I used to secure my carry on luggage to the Travoy trailer.
I planned a route that used secondary roads and a trail network to avoid traffic. I also had help, I was met at the airport by my Toronto friend Andi Mell who provided direction and back up if needed. He also helped with the photos and videos for this post.
When I googled the distance from the airport to my hotel the answer was 25 km. Later checking the google map with my route the distance may have been closer to 30 km. The trail along the Humber River was not the flat downhill trail I envisioned, there were several hills and diversions.
The Travoy towed beautifully, it was easy to forget it was there, with the exception of going up hill. The combined weight of my luggage and trailer was 18 kg or about 40 lbs. I averaged 15 kph and my journey was just over 2 hours. I did need to stop a few times and ask directions, next time I will be better prepared with a route map.
Another advantage of the Travoy is the ability to use the trailer as a hand cart. The Travoy is very easy to handle when not attached to the bike. When I arrived at the hotel I had no difficulty folding the Strida and rolling both the bike and trailer through a revolving glass door to the reception counter.
The same was true with using the elevator and entering my room. When I departed I used a train for my return trip to the airport. I decided to do this for a few reasons, time, rain and the experience of taking the Strida and my luggage on the train. Toronto has a new Up Train service from Union Station to the airport. It was about a 4 city block walk plus navigating the station and the airport so carrying the Strida in the bag would have been very difficult. I used the Travoy to carry the Strida in the bag and rolled my carry on luggage. Maneuvering the combination was not difficult. Laying the Travoy down when not pushing was easy. If I had taken the time to strap the bike bag to the trailer it would have been easier.
Other things to consider, for flying you need to let the air out of the tires. I used the small Airbone pump for both the Strida and the Travoy tires. I packed an extra tube and plastic tire irons to help in changing a tube if I had to. I packed two small adjustable wrenches to remove the saddle and trailer hitch to make packing the Strida bag easier. I packed bungee cords to secure my luggage, and two straps to strap around and reinforce the Strida bag.
I thoroughly enjoyed this adventure and I am looking forward to traveling with Strida and a Travoy trailer again. My Strida had 18 inch wheels, I had no problem pulling the loaded Travoy. Next time I will try 16 inch wheels. The smaller wheels will make packing easier and I would also like to use a wider 16 inch tire like the Schwalbe Marathon or the Schwalbe Big Apple. I think the speed provided with the 18 inch tires would not be as important as the extra stability and cushion of a wider tire. And you never know when a steep hill is going to surprise you so the lower gear ratio of the 16 inch tire would be an advantage. More information on the Strida Travoy Trailer Hitch can be found here.