Saturday, February 2, 2013

Free Parking at the Airport

As I mentioned in the previous post, I flew to Canberra this past week.

The whole airport dropoff/pickup/parking/taxi thing is always an added hassle.  There never seems to be a good solution that doesn't cost a lot.  Taxi's are great, but sometimes you have to wait a long time, and the cost is not insignificant.  Public transport really isn't an option if you are travelling with a big suitcase.  Drop-off and pickup can be tricky if you have small kids and the flights are at odd times (my return flight was scheduled for after 9pm), and parking at the airport for a week requires a second mortgage.  That is, unless you decide to ride your bike to the airport.

I forgot to take a picture of where I actually parked the bike, but it was in a space underneath the Qantas lounge at the Adelaide airport, next to one of the security staff areas.  This is a good place to park a bike for a few days, because there are always airport staff coming and going, and having a smoko.  Nonetheless, for the first time I actually used a 2nd lock on the bike, just to be sure.

I was travelling with a full 23kg 81cm international-size suitcase, a maximum cabin size wheely bag, and a suit bag.

I was surprised that it only took me half an hour to ride the 9km to the airport.  Coming home into a headwind was only marginally slower, at about 40minutes, including a couple of short stops to stretch some post-flight stiff muscles.

Coming home, I decided I would be a bit cheeky, and bring the bike into the terminal and load my suitcases directly in, rather than have to lug them out.  After all, a bakfiets is basically just a trolley with pedals. You can see it here next to the carousel.

No sooner had I parked there than an airport staffer came over, I assumed to tell me that I had to take it back outside (which I would have been happy to do).  Instead, it turned out he was Dutch, and apparently he had posted a picture of the bakfiets parked at the airport the day I flew out, and it was causing much interest among the local Dutch community on Facebook.

A couple of minutes later my enormous Antler case came around the belt, and I was out the door and riding away in no time at all.

Well, nearly no time at all, because to exit the building I had to pass the Qantas Valet Parking desk, which was a photo opportunity that I could not resist.  You can even see that they have a space next to the desk big enough to park the bike.  The desk staff were quite amused to see a heavily laden bakfiets roll past.

If possible, riding a bakfiets full of luggage covered in airport tags attracts even more curiosity than normal.

In any case, the whole episode was successful, convient, and a lot of fun, and I would certainly do it again.


  1. Well done for pushing the boundaries a bit and making the most of your bakfiets. Nice one :)

  2. Very nice :-)

    This reminds me of a couple of anecdotes:

    The first was when I rode to Adelaide airport and parked my bike against the railing right out the front of the doors. They went over the loudspeakers to ask the owner of a black mountain bike to move it. The security guard who was waiting there for me told me that its tubes could be full of C4 explosives. (!) I assured him that (to the best of my knowledge) they weren't, but agreed to move it anyway ;-)

    The second was cycling to Rotterdam to catch a flight to Copenhagen. Dropped off the bike at the start, and picked it up at the end. I can still remember riding out of Copenhagen airport and enjoying the bronzed beauties sunbathing topless along the coast as I rode into downtown Copenhagen. It was a great welcome to Denmark!


  3. I'm glad you got to make the most of the airport =) For the next LCA I'm thinking of taking it a bit further. For a long time I've wanted to make a bakefiest.

    Now I'm thinking about a folding bakfiets that is transportable in its own storage box...

    cheers, Kim

    1. I would still love to make a suitcase that can be transformed into some sort of self-propelled vehicle, pedalled or otherwise. The sight of someone taking their case off the belt, opening it, folding out a set of handle bars and seat, and zooming off into the distance would be sweet, second only to being the person on it. With electric motors these days, it is probably quite feasible. I have a battle scarred antler case that could be up for the task...

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