The maiden voyage with Burley Travoy started inauspiciously at the Citi Bike rack on Avenue D at 12th Street. I couldn’t get the screws to tighten around the seat pole attachment. I had tested it right after purchasing the Travoy, but this was the first time making a ride with the trailer in tow.
I couldn’t get the screws to catch. After 20 minutes of frustration, my fingertips were smudged with seat pole grease. Two cops leaning on a patrol car in the Jacob Riis Houses watched with idle curiosity. I decided to find a hardware store to get longer screws and hex nuts. I folded up and de-wheeled the Travoy, and jammed it into Citi Bike’s front basket.
First stop was the post office in Chinatown to pick up camping supplies delivered by Amazon.com. I loaded a small tent, sleeping bag and other goodies into Travoy’s cargo bag and hit the streets rolling.
Initially I felt self-conscious, but then figured, hey, it’s Chinatown and everyone here is wheeling something—strollers, grocery carts, hand trucks. I fit right in and certainly had the biggest wheels and best design. Thanks Travoy!
I needed a screw. Google Maps produced a false positive: Martinez Hardware was now a Chinese bridal boutique. Bayard's Hardware & Locksmith on nearby Bayard Street was Plan B. The emphasis seemed on locksmith so I called in advance.
“Hi, do you sell screws.”
“We do have a small selection, what kind of screws are you looking for?”
“Umm… long screws?” I answered sheepishly.
I headed over for a consultation. While the young shop clerk searched for parts, I watched Chinese patrons buying locks, keys and lottery tickets.
“I think this 45mm zinc plated machine screw could work,” he said. “But let me ask, did you have this on backwards?”
Oh. Yes. Oh yes I did. The reason the screws weren’t catching was that I had them on in reverse.
More relieved than embarrassed, I ran outside to test it on the next new model Citi Bike I could find. Sure enough, the attachment held the pole, but the trailer hitched at an awkward angle. It's made of metal so I'm praying it will be sturdy for the long ride.
The rest of the day was easier. I headed for my storage unit in Downtown Brooklyn to pick up bike gear for the ride. Travoy handled well even on the sharp, steep curve on the Brooklyn side of the Manhattan bridge. It also rolled over a Coke can, shattered wine bottle and baby pacifier. Attaboy, Travoy!
Travoy certainly attracted the gaze of other bikers who weren’t used to seeing a Citi Bike towing something. The weighted cargo did slow me down, but I cruised comfortably. It’s kind of crazy to think that I need to fit the next three months of my life onto this thing, but having lived as a NYC nomad I think I’m well prepared.