How I Bike to the Airport

I am frustrated by the experience of getting to & from airports:

I do like public transit, although my options for reaching my nearest airport by transit are much slower.

This is especially true in the early morning, late evening, or weekends when service is least frequent.

Without enumerating for you my transit options to the airport, I recently acquired a new folding bicycle to take me to my nearest airport!

I was inspired by similar posts like this one and videos like this one.

Enter: the Kwiggle (I have not been paid to write about this bike)

At ~25lbs, it folds small enough to be an airplane carry on, I investigated cargo carrying options and discovered that it comes with a front-loading pannier hook.

I went out and bought an Ortlieb pannier to get the job done and to serve as my second of two carry-on items for my flight.

I loaded up the morning of my flight and headed out, with a 30 minute bike ride ahead of me:

It was an absolutely stellar ride with the sunrise in full view:

I arrived at the terminal with time to spare (no traffic):

And took the elevator up to the security gates:

The airport security gave me no questions as the bike passed through the X-ray, and I made my way to my gate.

At the gate, a flight attendant told me that because it is a bicycle it would need to be checked but a second agent told him to cut it out and let me board.

This caused me some stress, as I realized the bike would likely be damaged as a checked bag (with no case).

Here are some photos of the airport/airplane experience:

Having the bike at my destination was nice indeed:

I have researched the option of disassembling your bike at the airport and find it totally unattractive.

I am not interested in budgeting/spending extra time at the airport disassembling a bike & packing it into a bag, as well as assembling it at my destination airport.

Brompton is another, more popular brand of folding bike.

Besides selling customized hardshell cases for luggage checking, there are overly complex videos on how to navigate bringing it as a carry-on item.

Looking at alternatives, I could stow the bike in a checked bag without disassembly:

I plan to visit a discount luggage store in the future (riding with my Kwiggle) to purchase a snug-fitting hard-shell case for it.

This should alleviate any problems with security or the airlines, although it will likely mean checking the bicycle in as luggage.

If you’re looking at the long-term parking option, then there of course tradeoffs:

On the one hand, you do not require folding or disassembly of your bike.

On the other, you risk bike theft.

There is a sign at SFO that says:

Bicycles must be secured to the rack.

24 hour parking limit without registration.

14 day parking limit when registered with attendant.

Bicycles parked in excess of the time limit will be removed and disposed of.

The Airport is not responsible for theft, damage or loss to bicycles or any items attached.

Bicycle locks left on rack will be removed and disposed of.

It was entirely unclear to me where you might go to register your bicycle with an attendant.

Here are a couple photos I took of the long-term bike parking at the airport (underneath the international terminal at SFO):


Happy to share my experience!

· bicycles, transportation, micromobility