At an airport of the future, after checking in and passing security, one grabs a small folding-style bicycle and enters highly visible bike lanes, which takes one quickly to the departure gate. Before the hours of sedentary position in the aircraft, it is the last chance to work one’s cardiovascular system.
Why not? A couple of years ago while I was sitting in the departure wing of the Montreal airport, a security officer was weaving his way through the crowd at “Schritttempo” or translated from German, walking speed.
So, why not carry this concept further? Why do people need to take the 5, 10 or 15 minutes to get to their departure gate on foot? Why not have the convenience of cycling to the gate? Then, on arrival at the next airport and after that long period of bodily inactivity, an opportunity would be available to get the blood moving by cycling to the baggage area.
Now two years later as I was entering the Frankfurt Airport, there was a pool of folding bicycles by the entrance door. Inside the terminal, airport and airline staff were cycling through the departure area and the gate wings on their bicycles, doing their duties. This was not just a case of one staff person and a bicycle once in a while. There was constant traffic.
Now, let’s get the cycling activists involved. First, get some bike lanes defined on the aisles. Then it will be time to get the airports of the future to refocus people movement to facilitate cycling including ramps between the floors. Now, departure and arrival gates are set up so that incoming passengers can use the bicycles left at the gate by the outgoing
customers. A bit of traffic management activity here. Also, tricycles may be more the right vehicle rather than a bike. This way, the one bag (ha ha) that one is allowed to carry on the airplane can be placed in the baggage tray at the back of the tricycle. Now, maybe electric tricycles are in order for those who need assistance within the airport.
The next step, obviously, is a bike share system usable by staff at the airport, as well as, the airline passengers. Now, this could become a user pay system. Then, once people see the advantage of using a bike share system. The next step is to set up a premium bike reservation system so that a bike is waiting for you.
Sounds unreal? Maybe it is or maybe these are next steps in using bicycles within commercial businesses. What about having a tricycle with carrier in the back or a folding bike pulling a shopping trailer while negotiating the kilometres of highways within those colossal shopping super stores?
If this were to occur, what I would find funny is to cycle to the airport, fold the bike and place it into its bag, check it with the airlines, and then borrow someone else’s bike to get to the gate.
First cycling for fun, then shopping, then commuting to work, then to carry on a commercial activity at a place of doing business. That is progress: expanding the usefulness of a marketable product.