Maiden Voyage of the Burley Bee

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Written By: Michael Scott,

My wife and I are big fans of outdoor activity, specifically mountain biking. We just had a beautiful little girl last year and didn’t want that to slow us down from doing what we love. Our daughter just turned one year old and we take her on all of our adventures. Recently we started planning a bike packing trip with our little girl and after a ton of research we bought the Burley Bee. My wife and daughter had never been on a bikepacking trip before so they were in for a grand adventure.

Testing the Burley before the big trip.

My wife and I love mountain biking so having a way to take the little one with us is important. We got the Burley and had it all set up a day before our planned trip. To test it out we took it on the paved bike path to see how it handled. We went for a quick spin around the block with just the baby in it and everything was great. It handled well and the little one enjoyed the ride.

The Bee was working the way it was designed and we found that it was easy to hook up to the bike. When we got home from our trip around the block we figured out how everything was going to fit. There is a ton of storage space at the back of the trailer.

The next day arrived and it was time to begin our adventure. With the car loaded up we hit the road on our way to Eklutna Lake, Alaska. We loaded the Burley down to just about its max capacity. We fit a tent, a bag full of clothes, a cook pot and small stove, diapers, wipes, food, bottles, the works. It was time for a trial by fire for this little Burley Bee and for the family. The adventure was about to begin!

Taking the Burley Bee to Eklutna Lake trail.

Eklutna Lake trail follows the shoreline of the lake and offers some beautiful views. There are several different terrain features to be found on the trail. Not too far from the start we came across a muddy section with some roots and the Burley was able to handle it nicely. There are some gentle climbs and some easy descents. We went when it was still early season and there was some large patches of snow on certain parts of the trail. I did have to walk the trailer across a couple of sections that were washed out or had too big of a snow pile.

Trail conditions and how the Burley handled it all.

Climbing with the Burley Bee wasn’t too bad at all and I was able to climb everything this trail had to offer. A section of the trail was washed out and the Burley Bee was wider than the trail itself. (Which posed a problem). There was a steep wall to the left and a drop off to the right. This section was about 7 miles in from the trail head. We were so close to our destination that we weren’t going to let anything deter us.

We ended up having one of us walk the bike across while the other held the Burley. One tire was on the trail and the other tire was on the incline side of the hill. This made the trailer tilt off camber and at an angle. It took a little bit of muscle to make sure it didn’t fall over sideways but we made it across.

On the way back we tried to bypass that section by taking the ATV trail that runs parallel to the bike path in the tree line. Taking that trail sight unseen wasn’t my best idea, it had some pretty steep punchy climbs that I struggled with. For every steep incline there were some steeper descents that I was able to ride down without issue. Having a trailer attached to the bike meant that I had more weight pushing me so I had to stay on the brakes a bit more than I would have otherwise.

Finding the right campsite.

Our destination was the far end of the lake and a campsite to end our journey for the day. It was about 9 miles in where we camped but the trail goes on for several more miles to a glacier. There is a dedicated campsite with benches and fire pits you can stay at. I prefer the feel of being alone so we did some extra work to make sure we were truly alone . We pushed out from the trail about 200 yards to the campsite we set up in. That 200 yards was through the forest with no path and navigating off trail with a trailer was interesting.

The Burley ran over its fair share of underbrush and sapling spruce but held up really well. Once we had reached our campsite we set up the tent and got to work on building camp. We set up the tent screen and used that as a pen to keep baby in a safe space while I collected firewood and Roxy set up the fire pit. We didn’t have anything to sit on so I found a big log while collecting firewood and dragged that back to camp (It was a lot of work dragging that beast but it was worth it having somewhere to sit).

Finally at the destination.

After relaxing by a fire and enjoying the solitude of nature we turned in for the night. The baby was a bit restless, mainly because the trip messed with her sleep schedule. It got a little chilly overnight, hitting about 32 degrees Fahrenheit. We had some good sleeping bags though so the chill didn’t bother us too much, until you needed to get out of said bag for any reason.

There was a point in the night that the chill was at its coldest and I ended up putting baby in my bag with me to keep her warm. My bag has a no zipper design so I was able to tuck the bag around Roselyn as she slept in the crook of my arm. I had to open the bag a couple times to vent the heat as that kid sleeps hot!

The next morning we had another fire, ate some breakfast and then packed up camp. The return journey was just as beautiful and fulfilling. It felt good to put in so much work after not riding most of the winter. I was very impressed with the Burley Bee and grateful to have been able to do this trip.

I am definitely excited for the summer and all the adventures we can have out on the trails! Having a way to take the little one with us is going to make a big difference. Now that we have the Burley Bee we will be able to get a lot more riding in than we would otherwise.

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