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Getting To The Airport By Bike – The Return Trip 7

Dutch cargo bike - biking to the airport

James’ Dutch cargo bike parked at Terminal 3 – Person International Airport – Photo by James Schwartz / The Urban Country

After exiting the airport terminal I walked through the automatic sliding glass doors. A cool breeze swept over me as I got outside, and at 8 degrees Celsius, I knew it was going to be a beautiful night to ride home. In the distance I could see the silhouette of my cargo bicycle, parked in a designated smoking zone near the end of the airport terminal.

I placed my luggage a couple metres away from the bike. Three young security guards were conversing with each other nearby and one of them quipped: “It’s free”, while pointing at my bike. I responded “It’s free for me because I have the keys”.

He hadn’t realized it was my bike, and his smile disappeared and a sheepish expression appeared on his face before he walked away, apparently embarrassed and surprised that someone as normal looking as myself would ride a strange bike like that.

As I pedalled away from the airport the wheels on my bike cut through puddles that were left over from a rainfall that had thankfully ceased prior to me landing in Toronto.

Exiting the airport was a dream compared to the arrival that had briefly caused some mild stress for me when I arrived at the airport last Sunday. The road that exited the terminal allowed me to get on to Airport road immediately after leaving the airport without having to cross 4 lanes of traffic this time.

Next time I ride to the airport, I will definitely take this back entrance instead of following the road signs that led me down a precarious path just five days before.

The ride home was both enjoyable and uneventful. Whomever created the bike path along Eglinton Ave is my hero, as this provided a smooth, comfortable ride for the first leg of my trip home.

Instead of going out of my way to take the waterfront bike trail, I stuck with city streets which resulted in a more direct route – knocking almost 4 kilometres off the total distance.

The city streets I chose might have provided some discomfort during Toronto’s busy rush hours, but since I rode home after midnight the ride was very comfortable; despite the lack of bike infrastructure on most streets I took home.

I arrived home just 1 hour and 8 minutes after leaving the airport. The downhill ride allowed me to sustain a much faster pace than the ride to the airport. I wore a huge smile on my face the whole ride home.

Next time I head back to the airport I know exactly how I will be getting there. This is certainly not going to be a one-time event.

By the numbers:

Total time: 1 hour, 08 minutes (compared to 1 hour, 48 minutes on the way to airport)

Total distance: 23.64 kilometres (compared to 27.07km)

Average speed: 20.7km/h (compared to 15.04km/h)

Top Speed: 39.6km/h (compared to 38km/h)

James D. Schwartz is a Transportation Pragmatist and the Editor of The Urban Country. You can contact James at james.schwartz@theurbancountry.com or follow him on Twitter.

i share the road

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  • scott ossington

    Did you park your bike at the airport for the five days or did someone drop it off for you

  • scott ossington

    Did you park your bike at the airport for the five days or did someone drop it off for you

  • http://www.theurbancountry.com/ James Schwartz

    I left it at the airport for five days. Someone had questioned me on this in my previous post. Here is my response if interested: http://www.theurbancountry.com/2012/10/airport-by-bike.html#comment-694059316

  • richardlayman

    National Airport in Northern Virginia is on the Mount Vernon Trail but the signage from DC is piss poor. I don’t know about the quality of bike parking, I doubt it’s very good. Note that there is a campaign to get a bike share station at the airport.

    The BWI airport in Anne Arundel County outside Baltimore is circled by the BWI Trail and this trail is connected to from some others, but the regional trail network is weak in Baltimore.

    It is possible to get to Baltimore with a bike via public transit through connecting to BWI though. Subway to greenbelt, bus to BWI, and light rail to Baltimore.

    Anyway, in my email I have some contact with a U of California Transpo researcher concerning improving bike access to airports for employee transportation. That might be something to push. Secure access bike parking could support both passengers and employees.

    If you want me to dig up that person, send me email, richard@bicyclepass.com

  • richardlayman

    National Airport in Northern Virginia is on the Mount Vernon Trail but the signage from DC is piss poor. I don’t know about the quality of bike parking, I doubt it’s very good. Note that there is a campaign to get a bike share station at the airport.

    The BWI airport in Anne Arundel County outside Baltimore is circled by the BWI Trail and this trail is connected to from some others, but the regional trail network is weak in Baltimore.

    It is possible to get to Baltimore with a bike via public transit through connecting to BWI though. Subway to greenbelt, bus to BWI, and light rail to Baltimore.

    Anyway, in my email I have some contact with a U of California Transpo researcher concerning improving bike access to airports for employee transportation. That might be something to push. Secure access bike parking could support both passengers and employees.

    If you want me to dig up that person, send me email, richard@bicyclepass.com

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