Cycling to LaGuardia

I was interested in this comment in the earlier post about the piece in Outside:

My favorite secret though is riding to La Guardia. It is AMAZINGLY easy to ride right to the terminal at LGA. What is impossible is finding a place to lock your bike. I ended up just taking it into the terminal which was met with no objection.

When I was out with some cyclists in Canberra, Australia, we went fairly close to the airport and I was advised it was indeed very possible, even pleasurable, via segregated paths. This got me to wondering about what other airports one could reasonably cycle to, and then what to do with the bike once you arrived. Anyone done it?

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39 Responses to “Cycling to LaGuardia”

  1. Herbie Huff Says:

    LAX is somewhat frightening to bike to, but its definitely doable. Like so many spots in Los Angeles, LAX is engineered solely for car traffic, intrepid bikers in LA – some of whom have no choice – ride there anyway. A bunch of cyclists from the Bicycle Coalition at UCLA recently sponsored a ride there to raise awareness about this issue.

    And there IS bike parking at LAX – it was recently installed.

    Los Angeles World Airports, the body who runs LAX, claims they are working on making the airport more accessible to people on bicycles, but the new racks seem to be about all they’ve done. There’s a lot more low hanging fruit they could capture if you ask me, starting bike directions and bike amenities on their website, and then putting bike racks on the front of the popular LAX Flyaway buses, and then striping some bike lanes on the approaches to the airport.

  2. bph Says:

    San Jose has a bike path leading right to airport (along a levee). There are bike racks in the parking garages near the terminals. I have never done it (I would have to cycle 40 miles and go over a 1800 foot pass) but I have seen other folks do it.

  3. D Says:

    YYC, in Calgary, has a separate bike path all the way through their lands and to the terminal, where there is a bike-dismantling station for travellers (not sure how much use this sees, though the path is popular).

    Sea Island, where YVR (Vancouver) is located, is a popular spot for racing cyclists to train (quiet service roads).

  4. Gary Kavanagh Says:

    I was beat to the punch, but was just going to mention LAX. It’s not the best of rides, but is a doable distance. I’ve ridden through LAX a few times, several times with groups at night just for kicks, because there is something quite fun about riding through there. I did ride to a flight once, just to see how practical it was to really do that. At that time official bike parking of any kind did not exist, but I got a tip about a spot where I could attach to a fence post that is in plain sight of a 24 hour security check point. I brought my best locks, and sure enough the bike was just fine when I returned.

    There are very wide roads, much wider than necessary, on almost every-side of the airport. Some of these roads on the backsides of the airport already have bike lanes, but not any of the roads which lead into the airport entrance. With a little work, it is certainly possible to make LAX a bikeable airport.

  5. Zebee Says:

    You can get to Sydney airport via the Cook’s River path. shows one track, there’s also an underpass to get to the international airport, although I’m not sure how easy it is to get from International to Domestic on a bike.

    There are bike stands, but not very convenient and rather well hidden, mostly used by airport staff.

    The obvious answer to “what to do with the bike” is “use a Brompton and take it with you!”

  6. ambrown Says:

    It may not surprise you to learn that Portland Oregon’s international airport (PDX) actually has a bike-only trail that runs directly to the terminal, with ample bike parking directly outside the terminal, and even has a free bike tune-up stand inside the airport, where people can check out air pumps and patch kits.

  7. bz2 Says:

    Unsurprisingly, Amsterdam Schiphol Airport is excellent for cycling. It’s reachable by segregated cycleways from all surrounding towns, it has an extensive cycleway network that covers every part of the airport – business estates, departures, arrivals, shops – and there are several enclosed and guarded parking facilities available. There’s even a map on the official website that shows the official cycling tour of the airport, for those so inclined.

    All the other Dutch airports I’ve been to are easy to reach by bike and offer some form of parking as well as cycle infrastructure (lanes and paths) for all the major roads leading to the airport.

  8. Ben McLeod Says:

    Probably not much of a big surprise, but Portland’s Airport (PDX) is very bike friendly. There are several bike paths nearby that lead to the terminal. There’s covered, secure parking and even a bike assembly area.

  9. Paul D From Vancouver / Portland Says:

    Portland International in Oregon is very good for biking to. You can get there either by bike lanes, or by separated paths. There are designated parking areas for bikes, but the fenced and secure area is accessible by employees only (as best as I could figure out last time I tried it). They also have facilities for disassemble and assembly and loaner tools.

    PDX Bicycle facilities

  10. mulad Says:

    MSP airport allows bikes and has some bike racks, though there was some outcry back in 2007 when a cyclist departing the airport took a route that the authorities didn’t like and ended up being tasered by police.

    Only Terminal 2 (Humphrey) is directly accessible by bike. It looks like getting to Terminal 1 (Lindbergh) requires taking a trip on the Hiawatha light-rail line (and there’s a fare-free zone between the two terminals).

  11. Deb Says:

    DCA is right next to the Mt. Vernon Trail, and there are bike racks available:

    I haven’t biked there, since it’s a 10 minute bus ride for me and I’d rather ride the bus than leave my bike locked up there while I’m out of town, but it’s nice to know it’s there. And DCA’s location would make adding a CaBi station there a no-brainer, though I don’t know if that will actually happen!

  12. Richard Stowe Says:

    This is a great post.

    I’ve bicycled to JFK Airport, Dallas-Ft. Worth, LAX, Santa Barbara Airport. I’ve bicycled from & to the airport on the island of Bermuda (smelly, noisy mo-peds on the street; not pleasant) In Philadelphia after assembling my bicycle, I boarded a SEPTA commuter train at the Airport terminal.

    Rail*Trains*Ecology*Cycling ( has commenced a campaign for bike access to Amtrak ( and interstate commuter trains.

  13. SteveL Says:

    SFO: OK, but don’t cycle through South San Francisco to get there

    LHR: you can sneak in on tube, take the train, or use the tunnel for bicycles which is somehow also shared with cars now. They don’t make bicycles welcome.

    LGW: pedal in, nicer than heathrow. The hard part is getting there; from London the train is best.

    NCA, Nice, France: easy, turn north, you can be from sea level to 2700+ metres on col de la Bonette in half a day.

    GVA, geneva, easy, though they weigh your wheels on the way out.

    Auckland airport actually had a bike stand for you to prepare your bicycle and showers. This is for the benefit of the other passengers.

    My vote is for Nice, it has the seaside and the Alps.

  14. Dave Says:

    I second DCA; I lived in DC for a while and it is ridiculously easy to ride to DCA, and they provide covered bike parking in the parking garage. I actually did bike there to fly a couple times; it was painless except for getting my wrench confiscated on the way home, and not being able to re-attach my front wheel securely (having taken it off to lock everything up together). Luckily, there are plenty of bike shops right off the trail in Arlington, so it was no problem.

  15. Doug Faunt Says:

    OAK, Oakland CA, is easy to get to, but I don’t know about bike parking there.

    Bike Fridays work even better than Bromptons. The suitcase for transporting them turns into a reasonable trailer.

  16. Doug Faunt Says:

    For OAK, here’s the map from their website, with bike rack information.

  17. academic polemic Says:

    San Diego International Airport (SAN) has ample bike parking at both terminals and a convenient bike trail along Harbor Drive to reach either. It gets a little harry when entering exiting the parking area (motorists are definitely not expecting to see a cyclist), but it’s highly doable.

  18. Bossi Says:

    McCarran (LAS) in Las Vegas is an easy *walk*, except for the excruciating heat at the peak of summer.

  19. townmouse Says:

    I once had to get a bike to Glasgow Airport – took a train to Paisley and then cycled from there. From what I remember, there were reasonably bike paths up to the airport hotels, which was where I was going, not sure about the actual terminal buildings

  20. Ashley Says:

    I once flew from Canberra to LAX with my Dahon foldie. Riding from inner city Canberra to the airport, as Tom says, is very doable and even lovely, with virtually all of the journey from Canberra CBD on a separated path that travels parallel to the lake and adjacent parkland. It’s about 9-10km. When I got to Canberra airport and started packing my foldie for air travel a security guy came up straight away and watched attentively what I was doing. I had a multitool with a knife out to cut tape and bubble wrap etc, and various other tools. Once he understood what i was doing he was pleasant enough and we chatted while i was packing the bike. I was expecting to be questioned at least a bit when I got to LA, but when I started unpacking and reassembling my bike, with knife/tools out etc, I attracted no interest from security, or anyone else, at all! My destination from LAX was Huntingdon beach, and Riverside the next day. After inadvertently heading into a freeway tunnel, it was eventually very easy to get onto the beach path. Two minutes of sheer terror in a highway tunnel and a cold 6am shower outside a beachside changing room is a great way to get over jetlag.

  21. Logarhythm Says:

    Riding to Philadelphia airport would be difficult at best, however there is a Regional Rail line that goes right to the airport and SEPTA typically lets you take your bike on Regional Rail lines. Philly as a whole is a very bike-friendly city, just not the part near the airport.

    Someone else already mentioned DCA (Reagan National Airport in DC) being right next to the Mt. Vernon Trail. Let me add that even if you are not specifically riding to/from the Airport, the Mt. Vernon trail is a fantastically gorgeous trail to ride on. It parallels the Potomac River the whole way, with great views of all the DC monuments. One of the highlights of the trail is Gravelly Point, where it curls around the back side of DCA. You are just 1000 feet from the edge of the runway, giving you really close-up views of the planes as they take off. I doubt there are many other airports left in America where you can get that close to a runway without being Tasered by TSA employees.

    My hometown airport (Richmond, VA) sucks. You can’t even take public buses to the airport, let alone bicycles.

  22. Greg Says:

    This was a big surprise for me, but Anchorage (ANC) is quite doable. I discovered this when a friend picked me up at that airport when I went to visit – in her Yuba Mondo long tail cargo bike with a patio chair zip-tied to the back. Made for quite a ride – much of which was on separated trails. Nice!

  23. Scott Says:

    The airport in Portland, Maine (PWM) is an easy ride from downtown, though not on the most pleasant of streets. (Think high-speed four-lane arterials.) You can ride right up to the terminal and there are free bike racks in the covered parking garage.

    This parking structure is brand new and they did a great job of putting the bike racks in a very visible place in the corner of the garage that is closest to the terminal.

    That being said, unless I was arriving or departing at odd hours I would probably find it easier to just ride the bus.

  24. Doug Says:

    Milwaukee’s airport is surprising accessible by bike. You can cycle from downtown through some residential neighborhoods which abut the airport and the main road approaching the terminal is never so busy that a cyclist would feel threatened. I don’t know about locking one’s bike up within the garages or at the terminals themselves, but I’d imagine a creative person could find somewhere safe.

  25. Daniel M Says:

    Keflavik, Iceland’s main international airport: No problem riding directly out of the terminal. You are not particularly near Reykjavik, however.

    Copenhagen, Denmark (Kastrup): A bike path runs from the outskirts of the city directly to the terminal, with racks outside. No surprise here, I suppose.

    Bilbao, Spain: In addition to an unbelievable terminal designed by Santiago Calatrava, we were able to ride right out of the airport and onto a country road that we followed into town.

    Venice, Italy: Don’t remember the name of the nearest airport, but we were able to ride right up to the terminal.

    My home area:

    If I were to fly into San Francisco International, I would probably just take BART to where I wanted to go. Barring that, I would take the AirTrain shuttle to Long Term Parking and ride the surface street from there. It appears possible to ride directly from the terminal and avoid the tangle of freeway onramps, but I have not tried it.

    If I flew into Oakland International, I would just ride to where I was going directly from the terminal, since a bus shuttle is required to access the BART station.

    San Jose International: I did once take my folding bike on an airport shuttle to San Jose and was able to ride from the terminal to a bike path immediately outside the airport. The first section is unpaved, but not rough in any way.

    Hope this helps.

  26. Sue 'sans' helmet (Freedom Cyclist) Says:

    Here in Australia, both Sydney Domestic and Sydney International airports have free unsecured parking for bicycles (admittedly not much though; in fact from memory, ‘Domestic’ just has 4 spots – not a huge demand in this oil-centric nation).

    The cycle ride out to ‘Domestic’ isn’t too hairy, and I actually find that everyone gives me a wide berth as they’re so startled that anyone would cycle out there with luggage in both the front & back baskets of their bicycle.

    Unquestionably, using your bicycle is by far the quickest & most convenient way to travel to the airport from where I hang out in Sydney – (Newtown!!!)

  27. samantha Says:

    Not clear on details, but at some point in the last couple years, a cyclist GOT ARRESTED for biking to the MSP (Minneapolis St Paul) international airport. Beat that!

  28. Mario Says:

    BWI near Baltimore is also very accessible. When I lived in Annapolis, I often rode to and around the airport because some of the best routes in the area (part of the East Coast Greenway) went there. It’s nearly all a former railroad right of way, with a few former grade crossings in low traffic areas. There are bridges over the major interstate highways in the area. From certain areas, it is possible to ride 20-30mi with only about one traffic light between you and the airport.

  29. Thomas Kent Says:

    When my brother and I were kids (I was about 10 1/2, my brother 9) we rode our bikes to LAX from Hawthorne (East of Prairie) many times. The first time was when the “satellite” terminals where being built. We wandered all over the terminals (through the underground hallways) checking everything out.

    Never saw any security guards or anyone. Of course, this was on the weekend (and back in the 1950’s).

  30. Alex Dupuy Says:

    Bike parking at airports is apparently under attack by Sen. John McCain, who introduced an amendment to prevent airports from using money from passenger facility fees (hidden charge included in price of your flight ticket as “taxes”):

    Probably not the reason that there is no bike parking at LGA, but if it passes, it will certainly make it less likely.

  31. Evan Says:

    AFAIK most main access roads to Brisbane airport in Australia have cycling bans in place now. To get there requires following a designated series of roads and cycle tracks.

  32. João Lacerda Says:

    I’ve cycled to and from Rio’s local airport (Santos Dumont – SDU), Sao Paulo’s local airport (Congonhas-CGH) and Brasilia’s airport.

    Rio’s local airport is one of the prettiest in the world, right on the bay with a segregated bike lane all the way to runway, or to the check in area, you choose. 😉

    Search for SDU on google maps and you will see! 😉

  33. Lee Says:

    BWI is about 1 hour from downtown Baltimore City by bicycle. There is a trail system that takes you there directly. It’s also accessible from Annapolis.

    You are also free to carry your bike on the light rail train which also goes directly from Downtown to BWI. they have a lenient policy towards bikes on the light rail. The bike trail also extends to Annapolis and meets up with the Light Rail line.

    Although it seems that most people I meet have little to no knowledge of any of this, and are baffled by the idea of riding a bike to the Airport. For one thing, they don’t know how to carry luggage on a bike. It’s not a common skill. Maybe it should be.

    My father once paid for a limo service because he didn’t want me to take the train to the airport. He seemed to think that would be just terrible! I was thinking more along the lines of not getting in traffic and then missing my flight.

  34. Tem Says:

    Since we’ve already got Europe’s biggest (LHR) on the list, let me add FRA to it: with the exception of the final few metres of access to the actual terminals (where you’d have to choose to either pretend to be a car or a pedestrian since there isn’t a bike option any more), this is very bikeable, and for denizens of the southern and western outskirts of Frankfurt this actually makes for a pretty scenic ride through the city’s forest.

    In fact, about half of Frankfurt’s plane-spotters arrive by bike :)

  35. AC Says:

    I’ve cycled numerous times to the Toronto City Airport. It’s on the waterfront straight down Bathurst St. It’s got several standard posts to lock your bike to.

  36. ATL Says:

    I don’t think it’s legally possible to ride to ATL. I’ve ridden on a lot of streets around the airport, but any that would go to the terminal would technically be highways. There may be a way to cut through a parking lot, but I have no idea if there are fences or other barriers.

    However, the subway goes directly into the terminal, so if you can ride to any MARTA stop, then you can take the train to the airport. Or now there is a free monorail to the car rental facility that is possible to bike to and from.

  37. Scott Says:

    Re: Heathrow. It depends on the terminal. You can get out of 1, 2, and 3 on bike (or foot) quite well. Google Maps does it perfectly well. Terminal 4 demands that you go in via a tunnel, so you might as well take the Tube, bus, or the most expensive train in Western Europe. 5 is not bad, but I have done it on foot and by bike. I think almost everybody who goes to Heathrow by bike or local transport is an employee, but it is still a nice option and feels like a great victory to get between London and LHR. Also, not strictly bike, but: if you are at an airport hotel, they are all within a 30 minute walk or a red bus ride, so don’t take the airport shuttles (which cost a fortune)! Also, re: Chicago ORD: it’s not actually bad on city streets until the end, so you might lock it at a Blue Line Station such as Rosemont.

  38. Parke Says:


    I also biked to the Anchorage airport (ANC) in late February. Locked my bike right outside the doors to the terminal in the parking garage. Some of the space in the pack I carried onto the plane was taken up by the extra winter gear I had to wear on the bike (I was flying to Phoenix). The greatest thing, though, is that you can take Airport Drive in from North of the airport after getting off of the coastal trail without any obstruction, even in the middle of the night when my flight left. It’s a peaceful ride past the lines of bush planes and float planes until you arrive at the terminal, hop off your bike, and walk on your plane.

  39. Alan Robinson Says:

    I’ve done both Midway Airport (MDW) in Chicago and (YVR) Vancouver. For Midway airport, despite it’s urban environment, the problem of reaching the airport by bicycle is due to the roads that approach it. The main north-south road, Cicero, is a 6-lane highway with no shoulder. One could approach the airport from the east along 59th and the transit loop, but it’s hardly good access. Personally, I rode Cicero Ave. all the way from the Metra BNSF line in the north, and didn’t much enjoy it. One can park bike onto the railings in from of the terminal.

    I’ve ridden to Vancouver Intl. Airport twice. The airport is on it’s own island with several highway style road bridges going to it. However, most of these bridges have marked (if somewhat narrow) bike lanes, and access across the island is good. At least 3 years ago, the last 150m to the terminal was not well layed out. One could either walk or mix with traffic approaching the terminal. Bike racks are provided once you arrive, although watch out for thieves. I had my cyclometer stolen. I’m not sure why.

    What Chicago’s and Vancouver’s airports lack in bicycle accessibility, they more than make up for in transit accessibility. All three have rapid transit lines direct to their downtowns.

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