Mikael Colville's Brazilian Friend Biking From Rio's Airport. Image: Vimeo screen capture.
There was a wave of bike celebrities visiting Latin America a few weeks ago when David Byrne hit the road to promote the Spanish version of Bicycle Diaries and Copenhagenize's founder Mikael Colville-Andersen visited Brazil.
Both figures left with good impressions of the growing bike culture in Latin America, but perhaps the most interesting find was done by Andersen, whose friends in Rio picked him up at the airport on bikes and rode him back (carrying luggage on a cargo bike and everything) thanks to the city's protected bike paths.Rio has the largest network of bike lanes in Brazil, with 200 kilometers (124 miles) covered (up from 140 kilometers in 2009), and is planning to increase the number to 300 kilometers (186 miles) by 2012 to become the Latin American capital of bikes.
More impressively though is that hose paths can get you to the airport on a bike safely. According to Colville-Andersen: "There are few cities in the world where you can get picked up at the airport by friends - on bicycles - and ride all the way into the city on safe, separated bicycle infrastructure. But Rio de Janeiro is one of them," he says at the beginning of this video that shows the ride.
According to Streetsblog, another city that has lanes to the airport is San Francisco, although they're far from perfect. TreeHugger's Lloyd Alter says he bikes to the airport in Toronto quite safely. Riding to the international airport in Buenos Aires would be nearly impossible given it's only reachable by car or very few buses. On the other hand, the local airport in Buenos Aires is in the middle of the city, just as Quito and Lima's, although reaching it by bike with luggage would be a very scary endeavor since it's located next to a highway.
Do you have any experiences riding bikes to airports? Would you do it?
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