Tel-O-Porter touted as schlepping solution for bikes

Caged trailer on wheels that can be attached to the back of a bicycle seeks to enable bikers to shop on two wheels.

Tel-O-Fun 370 (photo credit: Tel Aviv-Jaffa Municipality)
Tel-O-Fun 370
(photo credit: Tel Aviv-Jaffa Municipality)
Without a proper place to store the bounties of their purchases, current and would-be cyclists often abandon their two-wheelers for modes of fuel-emitting transportation while supermarket and shuk shopping.
Udi Rimon, 30, feels he has the solution to this problem – the Tel-O-Porter, a caged trailer on wheels that can be attached to the back of a bicycle. Now living and working in Tel Aviv as an industrial designer, Rimon came up with the Tel-O-Porter concept as his bachelor’s degree project at the Holon Institute of Technology. Now, his mission is to get the trailer integrated into the Tel Aviv-Yafo municipality’s Tel-O-Fun bike pickup and drop-off system, he said.
“The whole idea is, I wondered why we don’t see people with bike trailers on the street,” Rimon told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday. “It could be a perfect solution.”
For many reasons beyond lack of storage, people had not been purchasing and riding their own bikes as much as possible, due to hassles of lugging them up and down stairs and fitting them in their small apartments.
This predicament, however, was in many ways solved by the Tel-O-Fun bike system, launched in mid-2011, where anyone can rent a bike and return it to various stations around the city, he explained.
“There is a great solution for that, so why not use this model for bike trailers as well?” Rimon said.
There are already an abundance of bike trailers on the market, but they are quite expensive and also have the same heaviness issues when carting them up and down stairs and maintaining them in small apartments, according to Rimon.
“If you have the bike trailer on the street and you can rent it, this would be a perfect solution,” he said. “The idea was to create an add-on to the model that the bike-sharing presents. So it kind of puts another product on the sharing model so the clients can go to the hiring station and they can choose to rent a bike a trailer or both.”
Even people who already have their own bikes would be able to rent the trailers, as long as they purchased a cheap hitching device, Rimon explained.
While food shopping, the riders can unhinge their trailers from their bikes and take them into the grocery store as a sizable substitute for a shopping cart, he said.
Though acknowledging that “the riding experience will be different,” Rimon assured that the riding mechanism with the trailer is perfectly safe. Riders must keep in mind that they will have less agility than before, but their travels will be quite steady, he said.
In a flat city like Tel Aviv there should be no issues, though a city like Jerusalem could present some difficulties, according to Rimon.
Rimon said he is currently in talks with the city of Tel Aviv-Yafo and its bike-share operator Tel-O-Fun, and he hopes that a deal will occur soon. Meanwhile, he is also looking at places in Europe to implement the system and is speaking with representatives of the European Cyclists Federation.
He has no specific target city yet, but said that “Germany would be a perfect country for me because they have the same system as in Tel Aviv.”
Integrating a bike trailer system into the existing bike-share program would open up a whole new market for the cycling industry, according to Rimon.
“There are all the ecological and social implications of this project,” he said. “It lowers the use of cars inside of a city and traffic congestion. It can empower businesses inside the city and you don’t have to take your car and go outside.”