How do you go to the airport?

This bike is not locked.  I mean, it is now.  But when this picture was taken, completely unlocked.  Scary.

I travel a bit for my work.  For example, this week I am in Oklahoma, and I had to get to the airport with all of my stuff.  Also, I will have to get home from the airport once I finish my trip.  Here is how I do it:

Step one: Assemble your stuff.  This week I am going to be gone until Friday, which is four day’s worth of clothes changes.  All of those clothes will not fit into a backpack, especially if I am planning on doing exercise during the week.  (Which I am.) so I have to make some judgement calls.

For example, I only bring one pair of pants.  Jeans, which, due to the fact they are jeans, are scientifically proven to never get dirty.  And if the jeans do get dirty, you can just wait until it dries, and then scrape it off with your fingernail.  See?  Easy.  Also, I bring fewer shirts than I think I will need. On this trip, I only brought three work-style shirts.  Unrelatedly, I brought a full stick of deoderant.

Step Two: Ride to the airport.  Perhaps I look a little ridiculous riding with a huge backpack on my back, but that is ok.  Looking a little bit ridiculous is kind of normal for people who ride bikes.  We usually wear brightly colored spandex while riding anyway, so jeans plus a huge bag on my back is well within the range.  Plus, my bag is brown, which is a classic color, and rugged.

The VA hospital is a great place to lock your bike.

Step three: Lock up your bike.  There are a couple of good places to lock your bike up on your way to the airport.  One of them is in the parking garage at the VA hospital.  I use this location when I am flying Delta out of Terminal One.  You can also lock your bike in the parking garage at Terminal Two, which is my preference – it is protected from the rain, and looks classy parked next to the fancy cars of people who pay to park in Terminal two.

Bike parking is free everywhere.

When I first moved back to Minneapolis I parked my bike next to the light rail, and did not use a cable lock to loop through the wheels.  Big mistake.

When I came back from my trip (it was late at night… maybe 10 PM or so.) My bike was sitting there under the lights, both wheels missing.  Super depressing way to end a business trip, let me tell you.

Here is the bike.  If this gives you a cold chill, that is normal.

So here is what I did.  I unlocked my bike frame and waited for the light rail to come by.  Standing under the lights of the light rail, I was going through the stages of having your bike stolen: outrage, grief, and humor.  It was a good bike.

I was sorry to see the wheels go. I was especially sorry because home was six miles away, and I was going to be walking home carrying a weeks worth of clothes, and now a bike frame too.

The door to the light rail opens with a whoosh, and I step onto the last car in a the line.  Stepping onto the car felt like saying goodbye.

At the next stop, standing with my bike frame in hand on the last car of the light rail, I see a couple of kids board the train.  One of the kids has a pair of wheels strapped to his backpack.

“What a coincidence! I think to myself, “I have a frame, and that guy has a pair of wheels – maybe somebody ripped off his frame, and now he is riding the light rail home like me.”

I started walking towards him, thinking we could have a discussion about the general depravity of the world, when I realized THAT WAS THE GUY WHO RIPPED OFF MY WHEELS!”

But I wasn’t completely sure – just like 99% sure.  So I walked up to him and asked him, “Hey, did you steal my wheels?”

Friendly, like I was asking him if this was the right stop or something.  Casual.

The poor guy looked at me with a completely unique expression.  Like he had just found a grasshopper in his burrito or something.  Unexpected.

“No,” he said.  “But these might be your wheels though.”

“Ok.” I said.  “Can I get them back please?”

“Yeah.” he said.  “Sorry.”  Then he took the wheels off his backpack and gave them to me.  I put them on my bike, and then rode home.

This is an example of why I think I am really, really lucky.  Also, it is an example of how you should use a cable lock, and how you should park your bike at the VA hospital, or at terminal two.

For this trip, when I rode over to the airport, I forgot the keys to my lock.  I did not have time to ride home and get my keys, because I was cutting it short, like I always do.  So I called Steph and asked her to lock my bike up for me.  I dummy locked the bike into place.

Dummy locking a bike is when you hang the locks on the bike in such a way that it looks locked, but is completely not locked.

I was a little tense for about an hour or so, but then Steph gave me a call and told me that she had saved my bike.  It was at the VA too, so I shouldn’t have worried.  Those vets are not going to steal my bike.

Anyway, those are the three keys.  Assemble your stuff, ride to the airport, lock your bike.  Easy.

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