How many ride their bike to the airport and park there?

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by tigerboy, Feb 14, 2012.

  1. tigerboy

    tigerboy Tight as a Tiger

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    Well last week I did just that, but certainly not my first choice.

    Of course I was driving to the PIT airport to catch a flight to ABQ. 3pm flight, I leave at 11pm, takes 2 hrs to get to PIT. No problem, right? Driving my '95 Buick LeSabre that I had checked out by my mechanic a week prior. As I got on the on-ramp to the interstate the red temp light came on. Now what?! :eek1

    Thinking I should pull over and check it out, to my shock I'm out of coolant. :eek1 Shoot I didn't think to pop the hood before leaving the driveway, and now I'm going to miss my flight. Stupid me. I pop the hood and sure enough, lots of steam comes from the engine. Overheating for sure. I grab my water bottle and empty the contents into the coolant tank and figure that will be enough to get to the exit where I can then get coolant from a service station. I manage that okay, fill up the container with coolant and start on the road, still have time to catch my flight. Should be okay now:clap

    Shoot, the temp light comes on again! :huh Just my luck, I pop the hood and it's overheating again. Now what? I have to call AAA, no choice. I give them my location, and meanwhile I hope to thumb a ride to the airport by holding out a sign. It does not work, nobody stops, and it's cold and slushy not pleasant at all. Half an hour later, the engine is cool, I figure maybe the coolant has circulated into the system by now, but 3 miles later it overheats again. One thing is sure, I ain't gonna make it to the airport 90 miles away. Clearly I'm going to miss my flight, whole trip is down the drain.

    I'm a bike guy, not a car guy, I'll have to take my car to the shop for them to figure out what is wrong and how they missed what should have been an obvious problem. To me, a car is a money pit and if I have to scrap my car due to a leaky head gasket or some other very expensive repair, I'll go some time before getting another. Besides I don't have the money right now to waste on a friggin' car. They sell for too much money in general.

    Tow truck comes gets me home, and I end up paying $45 because I have the cheap AAA membership that only gives you 5 free miles of towing. I'm a rider, not a driver and I rely more on AMA than AAA. I call up Southwest, any way I can get on the next flight without additional cost? Next day flight will cost me $300 extra they said, but they have a rule : if you miss your flight you can go on standby on the next available one on the same day. They tell me next flight is 4:50pm, and now it's 1:30pm (my original flight was 3pm). How to get to the airport now?

    Of course, by Triumph Tiger. :happay

    As for making the flight it's going to be close. I figure a 2pm departure is going to get me to the airport by 4pm, and flight is 4:50pm. Wow.


    Motivation gets me working at the speed of light to pare down my luggage to one carry on bag and knapsack, strap it on the back of the bike, air up the tires, lube the chain and away we go into fierce blowing snow! :ricky: I tear down the Interstate towards PIT, and my hands and feet get close to freezing. :eek1 Sure wish I had heated hand grips in this rainy/slushy weather. Rest of my gear keeps me dry, I discover my boots aren't quite waterproof, though.

    Two things slow me down. First, I had to stop for gas, next I had to stop to put my rain paints over my boots. Fortunately the snow gets lighter, not heavier as the trip wears on.

    I pull up to the airport parking on schedule. It's about 3:50, actually. Of course, being on a bike, I don't trip the sensor that spits out the ticket, so I have to press for help and the gate keeper comes to manually open the gate for me. There goes about 10 minutes. I use the expensive covered short term parking because of two things. It's closer to the terminal, and given this crappy weather, I'd rather have my bike with a roof above. It'll be there 5 days @ $24 a day. We'll worry about that later. I park the bike, strip my motorcycle gear, lock it and my boots into my topcase, put on my spring clothing for ABQ and rush towards the terminal.

    First order of business, Southwest tells me standby so far is good. 4 unsold seats and if a single seat is still available by the time I get to the gate I'll be on the flight, so my gamble paid off. But....Fool, I was! The security lines are LONG, and because I have two carry ons, I can't use the express lane. Stupid me, if only I left the knapsack with my bike. Now I had to hope I can make it thru the ridiculous security without any delay. Thanks TSA. It takes 20 minutes, I now have about 15 minutes left to catch the flight. By the time I take the train to get to the concourse, I get to the gate with 5 minutes to spare. And thankfully they still have a seat, so I get on the plane I call my friend in ABQ to meet me, which is now going to be later than my original plan.

    Wow, had anything gone wrong, I would have missed the flight and the entire trip (I would have cancelled out at that point). The trip to Albuquerque (and Phoenix) was great, and the only painful part was after I got back to PIT. Two things. First the cold ride home but checking the forecast while I was away, it could have been worse, I suppose. Stupid me again, I should have worn my motorcycle boots, all wet at the time, to ABQ, because now they were frozen and I could barely get my feet in now. Next, I had to pay the $133 for parking, and they showed NO mercy for me parking a motorcycle and next, the cold ride home. I was thinking if I had been there a couple months, I might have chanced an early exit because a bike easily gets around a gate, that was present before you get to the tool booths. Of course that would adding stupid on stupid because I would get caught and rightfully charged for theft of parking use. I don't need a criminal record right now, nor did I need a lecture one typically gives to a child. So, I paid the fee, though I did express a bit of frustration.

    The ride home was okay, I thought if I kept my toes and hands moving at all times, I'd make it home okay, yesterday. It was now around 8:00pm. The temp was just below freezing. Had it been 20° or something, I might not have made it home in one shot (probably would have needed to make a stop to warm up).

    I had no heated handgrips, no heated vest and my motorcycle boots were only semi waterproof, and semi-frozen. I don't ride in bad weather as a rule, so I did take a gamble. Heck just riding is a gamble, every time I get on the machine.

    My conclusion? Day jobs suck. :1drink I wish I didn't have to have one. My dream would have been to simply RIDE to ABQ from WV :ricky: stay 2 months there and help out my friend with this and that, then ride home and get to enjoy all the scenery in-between. And I would have left two days prior when we had really nice weather, all going to a waste. :lol3
    #1
  2. stuckinUT

    stuckinUT I Wanna Ride!

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    Thats some good luck or something to make it with only minutes to spare. Cold feet suck.
    #2
  3. tedder

    tedder irregular

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    quite a few (55 actually) in Portland at the end of september:
    [​IMG]


    I've picked people up at the airport, I've done fly-and-rides, but generally I take public transit to the airport.
    #3
  4. Bucho

    Bucho Long timer

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    I rode my bike and parked it at the airport once. At my destination I was able to borrow a friend's motorcycle to get around, so since I needed my riding anyway. I figured I'd just ride. There was a big sign saying NO MOTORCYCLES at the long term parking lot. But they took my money to park anyway.
    #4
  5. Naq

    Naq Kitsune

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    I've parked in the remote lots. Sometimes the attendants are finicky. I had one refuse me entry even though I had called ahead earlier in the day to verify motorcycles were allowed. The next lot had a "No Motos" sign, but the guy just waved me through.:norton

    When I got back a couple days later I wished I had brought a cover. The bike was coated in sticky, greasy grime.
    #5
  6. MikeJansen

    MikeJansen Lost

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    I've done it several times at airports around the UK.

    Heathrow, Gatwick, Stanstead and EMA.

    Free parking is a plus. Taking your helmet, boots, 'stich with you is a big minus. Too big to carry on in the EU so ya gotta pay for checked baggage. If flying to the states I generally pack light enough to have room to check them for free.

    The train to the airport is stupidly expensive and a massive time suck.

    M
    #6
  7. rdwalker

    rdwalker Long timer

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    There is moto parking in NY-area airports.

    JFK has a row of outdoor spots in front of a fairly distant airtrain station: Long Term Parking A/B area @ Lefferts Blvd. The parking row is near "Kiss & Fly". It's free!

    Newark has a weather-protected section on the lowest level of a parking building: P4 at the Valet Park site, just before the garage barrier.

    La Guardia is supposed to have one, too: Marine Air Terminal outside Lot #7 on the Fiorello Lane side. This one I did not check out yet.


    Directional marking is between poor and none. You will not find the sites unless you know about them. Those who are interested, should scout out the locations beforehand. And, of course, motos are banned from regular lots - the gate barrier will not open for a bike. DAMHIK...
    #7
  8. thehomealien

    thehomealien Been here awhile

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    I picked up a girl on the Versys at the airport once. She was coming back from three weeks in Italy, so I had to weld a rack to carry her luggage. The ride home was 2.5 hours.

    She's a keeper :D
    #8
  9. LittleRedToyota

    LittleRedToyota Yinzer

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    i've picked up friends at the PIT airport on my DRZ.

    i was thinking about riding it out there and parking it for a weekend trip i took once, but i don't want to ride out there without gear, and i don't know what i would have done with my helmet, boots, etc. (no checked luggage for me and no storage on the DRZ.) it would be really nice if they had discounted motorcycle parking (half price for half a space) and lockers where you could lock up your gear while you were gone.

    i usually just take the bus to the airport if i'm going somewhere...one advantage of living in the city.
    #9
  10. dwoodward

    dwoodward Long timer

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    This is the ONE thing done right for motorcycles in Portland. Go to the airport, motorcycles park right next to the terminal, under cover, and free. :clap

    EDIT- leave it to Tedder to count how many motorcycles, and remember that number five months later...
    #10
  11. tigerboy

    tigerboy Tight as a Tiger

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    Props to anyone who rides a DRZ to the airport to pick someone up.

    The responses so far generally affirm that riders get a better treatment on the West Coast vs. the East Coast :puke1. On the East Coast we don't have things like free airport parking :nod, lane splitting :nod or even a lower toll on highways and bridges :nod (it often goes by axles where bike has 2, a car has 2, they both pay the same :huh ).

    Had PIT been like Portland, I'd be saving $133. Wow, that buys a lot of gas. £u¢k, I could ride my MZ Baghira over 1600 miles at that rate.
    #11
  12. LittleRedToyota

    LittleRedToyota Yinzer

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    more props to her...she doesn't mind/actually sometimes likes riding on the back of it!

    we once did a ride where i picked her up at the airport, rode to visit her father in steubenville...from there to my sister's in cranberry...and then back to my place in the city. lots of highway miles on the back of the DRZ...that had to be something close to torture.

    but, after that trip, she still wanted to go ride through the twisties in schenely park. and then she asks me "what type of motorcycle should i buy? do you think a cafe racer would be good for me?" :clap

    yeah. it's a shame pittsburgh does not embrace motorcycles more fully. it's a perfect city to get around via motorcycle...lots of hills and twisty roads and narrow side streets and potholes, etc.
    #12
  13. PoundSand

    PoundSand Long timer

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    I haven't done it, due to not being sure what to do with gear (i don't check bags, ever, if i can help it), but LAX airport parking is free in the central (i.e. closest) parking structure. :clap

    the procedure is a little shady though- you're not supposed to pull a ticket- drive around the gate arm. also not supposed to park in a parking space. basically find areas that aren't parking spots and don't block traffic (end of lanes, behind barriers, etc) and park there. then drive around the gate on the way out.
    #13
  14. dwoodward

    dwoodward Long timer

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    Note that while PDX invites you to ride a motorcycle, and LAX seems to be OK with it... San Jose does not offer any benefit to motorcyclists. Erm. Oops.
    #14
  15. tedder

    tedder irregular

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    I counted and kept the number with the photos. Otherwise I wouldn't still remember.

    I had a bit of free time. My ride was late on picking me up :evil
    #15
  16. ibafran

    ibafran villagidiot

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    Chicago O'Hare has (expensive) deck parking. I have never seen a bike there. Nor have I ever seen designated space for bike parking. Remote lots are open air. IF one was to make a scouting trip to one's airport, one might negotiate some fancy parking for a bike with security or fire or parking personel. The luggage has always precluded me from picking up/dropping off others. Although, persons flying with nothing more than a duffle and a backpack would be easy for me. Having the bike covered to keep noxious air particulate off the bike while parked would be a dang good idea.
    #16
  17. der_saeufer

    der_saeufer ?איפה בירה

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    I do this every week with my V-Strom lately. Lots of people do it, and there's more "non-space space" than you'd think. The most popular areas seem to be near the walkways but under the cover on the top levels, but there's no shortage of corners, areas near pillars, etc.

    If you pull a ticket, it trips the license plate reader they use to keep people from cheating. The arms are intentionally short on all the gates so they're easy to get around.

    My jacket and helmet fit in the top box where my little carry-on bag is while riding. The only problem with the LAX setup is that every airport doesn't do it. I'd even be willing to pay something for it, but most airports make you use and pay for a whole car spot while there are plenty of unusable corners, row ends, etc. Bastards.

    A number of airports have "employee" motorcycle parking that's enforced to varying degrees (I know at least one where that degree was zero when I worked there), but nothing for passengers.

    In a perfect world I could park my KLR at SMF and go from bike to plane to bike.
    #17
  18. SactoPat

    SactoPat Adventurer

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    Depending on the airport policy (or how strict the policy) on employee parking, if you can buddy up with an airport employee and he/she just might be able to get you free parking in the employee parking area. I worked at our airport for almost 10 years and left the job in good standing. My manager told me when I left that anytime I'm flying out contact him and he'll get me a parking pass. I've flown out on vacations a few times and he has kept his word.
    #18
  19. Kommando

    Kommando Long timer

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    Always wear your beaten old gear for the ride to the airport. If it gets stolen/vandalized...'no big deal.

    Get an 80L PacSafe stuffsack, and a lightweight $20 cover from Target. Put a Lojack on your moto, and probably a paging alarm too. Carry a sturdy disc/U lock and a 30ft security cable. Lock your moto to something solid (big lamp-post, guard-rail, etc.). Stuff your riding gear in the 80L sack and lock it to the bike tightly. Throw the cover on. Set the alarm. Carry full-coverage insurance.

    Park anywhere without any serious concern.
    #19
  20. steve3b3

    steve3b3 Been here awhile

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    I couldn't get a ticket at the Providence RI garage a few years ago and had to park in long term parking.

    Yesterday, I found a Suzuki sport bike on the 5'th level of the Central Parking garage at Boston Logan.

    Steve
    #20