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Fly and bike

National Bike Month started in 1956 and is frequently a time when people are encouraged to bike to work or just ride a bike for fun (National Bike Day is May 2). Why not celebrate by flying somewhere where you can go riding?

Fly ‘n Bike

AOPA member Bruce Bream has been stowing his Montague 26-inch folding bike in his Piper Turbo Arrow and launching on adventures since 2004, but his fascination with combining flying and biking started in the 1990s when he saw a picture in an aviation magazine of a pilot who had landed near the Grand Canyon and biked to the rim. Since then, he started creating a “database of places to fly with restaurants and trails.” He turned it into a Fly ‘n Bike webpage in 2020 at the start of the coronavirus pandemic. The page includes a list of airports in more than 30 states with nearby bike trails or areas that are suitable for biking. Some airports offer bikes; for others you’ll need to bring your own. Bream indicates which airports he’s biked at and recommends, including Grand Canyon and Marble Canyon in Arizona.

Bream said his favorite trip was a no-car visit to Grand Canyon National Park Airport. Not only did he bike the rim trail, fulfilling the dream sparked by the photo of another pilot doing the same, but it brought him back to his roots in aviation. “That was where I had my first airplane ride at 16 for $15 over the canyon,” Bream explained in an email. “I flew in there just about 40 years after the vacation with my parents.”

Bikes for Pilots

The Maine Aeronautics Association offers a Bikes for Pilots program, staging bicycles at airports across the state for pilots to use to ride into town or visit other nearby attractions.

“Pilots love to fly to any destination but it is more enticing when there are opportunities to do further exploring upon arrival,” the Maine Aeronautics Association’s website says. The bikes are available for pilots and their passengers to use between May 1 and the end of October.

So far, bikes are offered at a handful of Maine airports: Brunswick Executive Airport, Bethel Regional Airport, Pittsfield Municipal Airport, Charles A. Chase Jr. Memorial Field, and Sugarloaf Regional Airport.

Off the grid

If you enjoy grass strips, backcountry flying, and biking in more remote areas, check out the Recreational Aviation Foundation’s Airfield Guide, “a repository for information about out-of-the-way airports and places that most pilots don’t know about.”

You can filter the airports for areas that are suitable for bike riding by clicking on the bicycle symbol in the amenities menu. Once you select a field, more information is available through a series of tabs, including runway information and special considerations. Amenities are listed with notes. For example, Albert Lea Municipal Airport in Albert Lea, Minnesota, has a 5-mile bike trail that runs next to the airport and around the lake in town.

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