Nation’s first bicycle-friendly airport celebrates National Bike Month

By FloridaBicyclist
Tampa International Bike rack
Photo courtesy TPA | An employee bike rack at Tampa International Airport.

Tampa International Airport, which was named the nation’s first bicycle friendly airport, hosted a National Bike Month celebration, which was headlined by a speech from the League of American Bicyclists.

The event kicked off with a guided bike ride to the Airport, followed by a keynote presentation by Caron Whitaker of the League of American Bicyclists on what local governments can do to support bicycling and other alternative forms of transportation.

TPA’s Sustainability and Resilience Program Director, Eric Caplan shared some of the ways the airport has become bicycle friendly:

  • TPA built a bicycle and pedestrian fitness path around its new SkyCenter building for employees and residents to enjoy.
  • The office building also has an indoor bicycle storage area for employees who want to ride their bikes to work.
  • Several bicycles are available for check-out by employees who want to take a ride while participating in the airport’s wellness activities.
  • The Airport’s North employee parking lot is equipped with a covered bike storage area for Airport tenant employees.

Christine Acosta, founder of Pedal Power Promoters, a social enterprise advancing bicycle-friendliness, helped the Airport submit their Bicycle Friendly Business application.

In 2022, she spoke with the League of American Bicyclists and said, “Tampa International has 10,000 direct and indirect employees, many in lower-wage jobs with few transportation options. Early on we found a need to improve bike facilities for these daily commuters – bikes were exposed to the elements and chained to trees around the employee parking lot. Becoming bicycle-friendly as an airport was not about making it easy for passengers to bike to the airport; the priority was about elevating the dignity and safety of people who already bike to work, the unsung heroes who make #FlyTPA exceptional.”  

Other amenities, which helped TPA get named the nation’s first bicycle friendly airport, are geared toward travelers. Covered bicycle racks are available for the public near the ground transportation pick-up area at the Rental Car Center.  These racks come equipped with a bicycle fix-it station for anyone who needs to add air to their tires or make minor repairs.

Tampa International Airport’s employee bike share wellness program, employee and public bike racks are all in support of airport’s overall sustainability mission. Along with the TPA bike path on the south side of the Airport, several other public bikes trails and lanes can be found around TPA including the Skyway Park Trail, and Courtney Campbell Trail to the Airport’s west, bike lanes along Hillsborough Avenue on the Airport’s north side and a bike trail running along Air Cargo Road along the Airport’s east side.