Know When to Fold ‘Em

Bike and trailer on 9th St., Downtown Los AngelesDragged the trailer downtown to pick up fresh inventory for my little bike rags business, Bicycle Fixation, and as you can see in the snapshot, it holds a pretty bulky pair of boxes very nicely.

It was, I must confess, the cheapest trailer we could find that would fit my usual load, and in fact it weighs more than the bike that is pulling it. In fact, it weighs more than many of the burdens I pile into it, though in this case the stock outweighed the trailer by a small amount.

You might wonder, Why bother? After all, I could (cheapskate nature aside) easily pick up a bakfiets right here at the Pigeon. And in fact I tested a Gazelle Cabby for my magazine, and the Pigeon in fact carries them! They are very, very nice–slow, but easy-handling even with heavy loads, and no problem in traffic.

The trailer tends to cause annoying surges, as it is attached via a spring and of course hits the bumps at a different time from the bike. It also tracks to the inside of a turn, which you have to watch for. Really, a bakfiets or a longtail would be better in many ways.

Except for one….

Room. A bakfiets is big. A longtail is big. The best things since ice cream, but big.

You’d think in big, sprawling LA that would be no problem, but for all that many of our houses are big, the garage space in them is usally taken up by the very cars that cause the sprawl. Even most committed cyclists have a car. And many, many people live in apartments or older, charming, but small houses.

And the trailer not only detaches from the bike, it folds up very small, and spends most of its life shoved into a back corner of the garage. The bike that pulls it is a regular bike most of the time, and a cargo bike just when I need it.

As I favor older, charming, smaller houses and apartments in more crowded parts of town–such as the Miracle Mile where I now live, or Echo Park where I used to years ago–I’ve been thinking of how to take the concept of the transforming bicycle even farther. The Pigeon sells Bromptons, you know; Bromptons fold very, very small; and Bromptons can pull a trailer.

Leaving room for even more bikes, bwahahahaaaaa!

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