On this page we attempt to make available the experience of individual bicycle tourists who have travelled with Virgin (you can share your experiences here).
Contents on this page
- Virgin Atlantic, Bordeaux. British Airways
- Virgin Blue
- Virgin and Recumbent Trikes
- Virgin Trains
- Virgin Blue
- Virgin Blue, Pacific Blue and Christchurch Airport
- Virgin Trains
- Jetstar vs Virgin Blue (Australia) Excess Baggage for Bikes
- Virgin not helpful at SFO
- Virgin Atlantic SFO-LHR
- Disastrous Delta
- Virgin Blue
- Virgin Blue (Australia)
- Folding Bikes along the New River in Virginia
- Virgin Blue (Australia)
- Washington Dulles Airport towards Front Royal
- Virgin Atlantic Airlines
- Charlottesville, VA
- Bike Rental -- Harper's Ferry, WV and Brunswick, MD
- Bike Rental -- Galax, Virginia
- Bike Rental -- Tortola
- Bike Rental -- St. Thomas
- Trains from Gatwick
- Washington, DC Area Commuter Rail (MARC, VRE MTA, Metro)
- Bike Rental -- Northern Virginia
- Amtrak -- Chicago
- Bags vs. Boxes ... (a continuing debate)
- Washington, DC Area Commuter Rail (MARC, VRE MTA, Metro)
- Newport News, Virginia
- Norfolk, Virginia
- Richmond, Virginia
Virgin Atlantic, Bordeaux. British Airways
We flew Virgin Atlantic from Miami to London Heathrow. As per Virgin's policy, stated on its website, we were not charged for either of our bikes which were in TRICO hard cases. The bikes arrived at Heathrow without any problems. We had to transfer to Gatwick for our British Airways flight to Bordeaux. Again, as per BA's policy, as stated on its website, we were not charged for the bikes. British Airways is really strict about carryon luggage at Gatwick and what was a carry-on roll-aboard suitcase on Virgin had to be checked. The bikes arrived in Bordeaux without any problems.
We cycled for 3 days in the Medoc and St. Emilion areas and 3 more days in the Sarlat region of France on our own before joining up with a Backroads organized bike tour. These are both amazing regions in which to ride. There are a number of "piste cyclables" in both areas which are old railway lines that have been paved over as bike paths. Most notably there is the Piste Roger Lapebie which starts in Sauveterre-de-Guyenne and goes for about 50K, terminating just south of Bordeaux. It is a beautiful ride through the "entre duex mers" area with no cars except for at the crossings with roads. We parked in the town, and rode down the hill to get to the entrance to the piste. You can find a map of it by searching Piste Roger Lapebie in your search engine of choice. The main tourist offices in both St. Emilion and Sarlat have brochures/maps on the piste cyclables.
The other piste we rode started in Sarlat and terminates in Souliac and is another rails to trails ride which was really beautiful.
The bike store in Sarlat (Cycle Sarlat) was a life saver as my rear derailleur cable was frayed down to its last strand. The mechanic wasn't speaking English to me and my French was embarrassing, but he fixed my cable and tuned up my rear derailleur for a very reasonable price.
We used a Garmin Edge 705 which is the greatest thing going for cycle touring. I set up loop rides using Garmin's MapSource mapping software on my computer and downloaded the rides to the 705 (yes â you have to buy maps for different regions). On the road, the Garmin gives you both a beep and text cue for the next upcoming turn or change of direction as well as shows you the upcoming route on the map screen. A number of times, we wanted to go off the course I had set as a road looked pretty. The Garmin automatically re-calculates the route to get you back on track to the destination. We really loved having the Garmin on the bike and it made self guided touring a real pleasure for roads we had never been on and had no real clue where we were going, except for the mapping we had done on the Garmin. The mapping feature also includes an elevation screen, so you can see the upcoming incline. Again, this was fun at first, but could be depressing on a really long climb.
The return trips on BA and Virgin Atlantic with the bikes was uneventful, except that one of the straps on the TRICO case broke yet again. The case is pretty tough as even with a broken strap (it was one of the small ones on the short end of the case) the clamshell held together and the bike and gear inside were fine.
We rented a Citroen Picasso to drive between our various destinations. This was a great car for our purposes as I was able to put the rear seats down, making sufficient room to lay the bike cases flat and stack the bikes (front wheels off) on top of the bike cases and fit our suitcases and front wheels in around the bikes. That's a lot of stuff to stuff into a little car.
Sports equipment represents 5kgs of your total free baggage allowance, regardless of the actual weight of the equipment.
For example, a bike that weighs 10kg will represent 5kg of your free baggage allowance. If your allowance is 20kg, you will have 15kg left for other items. These items include bikes.
Virgin and Recumbent Trikes
After we got to the Airport, we surrendered to the Virgin Blue bureaucracy.
We were told it is a CASA requirement the bikes be put in an approved bike box...
Of course Trike's don't fit into an âapprovedâ bike box. Still the book said they âmustâ so we squeezed them in, leaving a big âbulgeâ on one side
Despite our trials and tribulations we finished the job in about two hours,
Our bags (Trailers) were a huge 12kg over the limit and our âboxedâ bikes weighed about 52kg (that is both boxes combined), including tools, helmets, ect.ect... Which, by the way is UNDER the maximum limit for a bike box (32 KG limit per box)
Apart from a $15.00 â per box â fee, we were not charged anything for the additional 64+ Kg overweight and oversize baggage. Thank you Virgin Blue, very much. See pictures on the website - April diary.... Mal & Lee
Virgin operate two networks in the UK, I have travelled extensively on the Cross-Country routes which are very good for cyclists (The other network - West Coast Main Line - has different trains but probably similar facilities).
In theory you must book your bike reservation ahead but in practice you can board any train that your ticket is valid for. I've only seen cyclists turned away once when the bike capacity was full up - that was at a big city station (Bristol) in the rush hour. Most Virgin Cross Country services run at a half-hourly frequency except at the extremities of the network so it's not a complete disaster if you can't get on.
Virgin Cross Country Trains are called Voyagers (each one named after a famous traveller). Each train has a luggage space at one end with storage for 4 bikes hanging on hooks. You must take your bike to the end door on the train, it is the opposite end of the train from 1st Class and the departure board on the station platform will usually say whether First Class is at Front or Rear of the train, there's a big Number "1" displayed on the side of the 1st Class car and a small Bicycle symbol beside the Bike door at the other end of the train. The same car (Coach F) is the quiet coach and usually the least crowded and the first three or four seats in the car, on the left of the aisle, have extra legroom.
You can find out routes, check times and book tickets on www.thetrainline.com. Advance booking online can be a LOT cheaper than paying on the day. Virgin also have a network map on their own website via www.virgin.com
For internal flights in Australia Virgin Blue offers the best service to cyclists. They require you to box your bike (if you haven't already boxed it yourself they can generally supply you with a box at the airport for $15)and your box can weigh up to 30kgs. This item then counts as 5 kgs of your total two piece luggage allowance of 20kgs. For more information check out the Virgin Blue website.Margy Crisp, March 29, 2006
Virgin Blue, Pacific Blue and Christchurch Airport
As a family we have just flown domestically within Australia with Virgin Blue then to NZ with Pacific Blue. They are basically the same airline. We had two single bikes and a tandem all boxed and had no problems. Even though they weighed all the boxes the airline has policy that irrespective of the actual weight of the bike it only counts as 5kg of your luggage allowance. Very bike friendly.
So too was Christchurch Airport with its Bicycle Assembly area, which includes two workstands such as you see in bike shops. Extremely bike friendly and welcoming.
You have to book your bike on the train, but booking is free. My connection was late, but I arrived at the station early and asked if I could take an earlier train, with an unreserved space. The train manager was most helpful, carried the bike even though it wasn't reserved. I made my connection and arrived on time. Nothing but praise for VirginMike Palmer, June 30, 2005
Jetstar vs Virgin Blue (Australia) Excess Baggage for Bikes
Having just participated in the Great Tasmanian Bike Ride, we've been able to compare the airline policies and charges for carrying bicycles. Jetstar charges AUD$5 per kilo for EVERY kg of excess over 20kg, with no special allowance for bikes; and no negotiation.
By contrast, Virgin Blue will only count a bike as 5kg of the total allowance, regardless of what it weights, and their excess baggage charges are less, and they were known to waive it for some people. Based on that I know who I will be flying with next time!
Virgin not helpful at SFO
I arrived at SFO with bike and panniers, ready to take the pedals off and turn the handlebars. The Virgin employee said it should be in a box and that they didn't have a box.
Since I was in Upper Class they went to United to ask for a box but United said no (they compete on the same route). Then they said tough luck, sir, maybe at the travel agency, but otherwise nothing doing. At the travel agency, they told me to go to United domestic (go to special size luggage check-in).
They sold me the box for $10 + tax. Take the people mover it's shorter than walking back. Another employee said something like "usually we have boxes" but the others played ignorant.
At Heathrow I left the box at the Virgin counter and took Heathrow Express.
Virgin Atlantic SFO-LHR
Just wanted to report some potentially suprising info that I found out during my recent tour in Italy. I arranged to fly with Virgin for the SFO-LHR leg of our trip. We got the bikes to the airport via BART, and had them folded flat, no pedals, no air in the tires, per Virgin's bicycle policy stated on their website (under "luggage").
While checking in, the lady at the counter INISISTED that I use a bicycle box, despite the fact that I told her I had researched the policy beforehand and no box was needed. Unfortunately it was the one thing I had forgotten to print out.
She refused to escalate the issue and I spent the next hour frantically searching for cardboard bike boxes (which, by the way, can be found in the United domestic baggage claim) and buying overpriced rolls of packing tape. We got the bicycles in the boxes and *barely* made our flight.
Needless to say I was rather frustrated with the situation and will open a complaint with Virgin. The rest of the trip went fine (2 Ryanair flights, return leg on Virgin).
The unfortunate part is that the woman's colleage did the same thing when backing her up -- she didn't consult the policy but proceded to tell me how I was crazy for not wanting to ship my bikes in a box, and that was how "everyone did it".
Moral of the story: if you're planning to fly Virgin out of SFO, be prepared to need a box.
We fly with our MSR stove whilst on our cycling tour. Basically if the staff find it and smell fuel it won't fly!
Things you must do: Wash the fuel bottle and stove out with soapy water, dry and air. This is difficult to do if you are using it. You can also fill it with vegetable oil that the petrol dissolves in. Qantas were good about our bottle (told us to go and rewash, then sealed in bag for flight), where as Virgin were rubbish (confiscated on the slightest wiff of petrol even though the bottle had been thoroughly washed, aired for 24 hours and posed zero fire risk.)
One idea I heard was to paint the fuel bottle blue then it looks like a drinks bottle and you can deny its presence, especially if the last liquid it contained was water.
The more draconian the airlines get the more likely people are going to deny what is in their baggage.
Just returned from a trip to the UK from California and everything was fine until I made my Delta Airlines connection in New York headed for San Francisco with my custom touring bike in a box. Virgin had handled its transport up until this time, without charge and without trouble or attitude, but due to unforeseen circumstances I had to switch to Delta.
Check in agent at JFK admitted she really didn't want to charge me to carry the bike in the box but she had no choice...so I put the 80-dollar charge onto my credit card and watched it get carried off for loading. When the Delta baggage guy delivered my bike at Oakland airport there was actually very little of the box left.
Fortunately I did an excellent job of boxing the bike so no parts or accessories were missing. But I was furious that this was how the bike arrived after being handled by Delta for 80-dollars! I tried to get the baggage agent to admit that Delta had screwed up but she was having none of it. She said that despite the fact I had paid more to have the bike on the plane that did not mean it was due any special handling or consideration. She said I could reassemble the bike right there if I wanted to submit any damage claims...but that once I took it from the airport all bets were off when it comes to whether or not the airline would be responsible for damage discovered later.
The Delta baggage office staff at Oakland was not helpful, or understanding of my concerns at all, and just downright rude. If I have a choice in the future I will NOT fly Delta again...and would say you shouldn't either if you're taking a bike you care about.
Wanted to include here our experience in taking bicycles on virgin Blue.
We took two flights in Australia during our holiday: one in the middle of august from Brisbane to Cairns and another one from Cairns to Sydney at the end of august. For both flights:All we had to do was at check in to release air from the tyres, turn handle bars, and remove pedals, That was all. On both flights there was no objection and they were EXTREMELY bicycle friendly. 10/10 as a bicycle friendly airline. Highly recommended
Virgin Blue (Australia)
I recieved the following email from Virgin Blue when I asked about their bike policy:
Thanks for your email.
You can by all means take your bike with you but you do need to pack it as we take no resposability for damage to the bike. The bike will represent 5kg of your 20kg baggage allowance and you must ensure the tyres are deflated and loosen the chain and handle bars so the bike can be manipulated. I hope this answers your questions.
Folding Bikes along the New River in Virginia
Folding Bikes along the New River in Virginia http://www.gfarnsworth.com/Famazine/BikeTrips.cfm
Virgin Blue (Australia)
2 of us with bikes had no problems flying between Melbourne and Canberra, even though the plane (737) was fully booked.
All we had to do was let the tyres down, no disassembly or packing of any kind was required. We were not charged and there were no problems at check in, no damage to the bikes.
Compare this with Qantas who wanted us to disassemble them, pack them in boxes and charge us for the privilige. Needless to say we always fly Virgin, even when we are not taking our bikes!
Washington Dulles Airport towards Front Royal
Found on: email@example.com
A few months ago, Ron Hill wrote to the list, asking for help in navigating from Dulles Airport to Front Royal, where he and a friend were going to get on Skyline Drive for a 2-week tour featuring the drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway. I responded with a routing, and Ron invited me to ride along if I could get away.
Well, Ron and his friend Tom arrived at Dulles at 10:15 yesterday morning. I met them at the airport, and helped them assemble their bikes and gear. Unfortunately, I couldn't take time off from work, but I rode with them for an hour or two, before turning around to head back home. My discoveries in researching a route for them include:
(1) There is a great, low-traffic way into Dulles Airport -- use the North Service Road entrance, marked on maps as Ariane Dr, accessible from Ox Road (VA 606). You can bike right up to the terminal, and the only other traffic will be on-airport buses, airport employees and a few savvy taxi drivers.
(2) Exiting from the airport, we took the North Service Rd, then headed west on Ox Rd. You are almost immediately in the country, but this won't last long. At one point, we were on a narrow two-lane country road, with a herd of goats grazing on our right and a new office park going up on our left. Ron said something to the effect that he hoped the goats appreciated the value of the real estate they were on. Somehow, I don't think the goats will be there after a few more years. (sigh)
(3) There is no direct, paved, low-traffic way to get from Dulles due west or west-south-west. I scouted three routes. Option A was a bit indirect, and had about 2-3 extra miles, with 1-2 miles of hard-packed dirt (north of US 50). Option B was very direct, but had about 6-7 miles of dirt (Braddock Rd, south of US 50; I'm going to include it in a day trip, Girls Love Dirt, I'm planning for the local bike club this coming fall-winter). Option C was using US 50 itself, which is 4-lane just west of the airport, then goes to 2-lane about 8 miles farther west, with light traffic on Sundays. Tom and Ron opted for Option C, since their bikes had fairly narrow tires; plus, it was late (we didn't start riding until about 12:30 PM, and they wanted to make Front Royal -- 60 miles from Dulles -- that night). I opted for Option C, too, heading back into town.
My additional discoveries include: Bilenky can make a good touring bike. Bilenky usually specializes in tandems, or so I thought. Ron had a tandem from them, and was so impressed that he had them make up a single. A really nice looking bike, custom, with braze-ons for a front rack and spoke holders. Plus an ovalized top tube that is really neat.
Ron and Tom should now be somewhere on Skyline Drive, heading south. After riding through North Carolina, they are going to split up, Tom riding home to Chattanooga TN and Ron to Atlanta GA. I wish them good weather and a great tour.
Leslie ltierstein AT earthlink.net
Virgin Atlantic Airlines
From Liz.Vallez@fly.virgin.com Thu May 24 14:05:40 2001
To: Thomas Krichel
Dear Mr. Krichel,
Thank you for contacting us.
With reference to transporting bicycles on Virgin Atlantic, our policy is as follows:-
Packing and Carriage Instructions
VAA does not use bicycle boxes. If required by the passenger, these may be obtained from bicycle shops. Tyres should be partially deflated, handlebars turned in line with the cross bar and any attachments should be removed, including pedals.
Gearing systems should be well protected. VAA strongly recommends separate insurance is taken out by passengers as the Airline liabilty of US$20 (GBPÂ£15.89) per kg, is unlikely to cover the cost of the bicycle in the event of damage. NB: Cosmetic damage (paint chips) will not be considered for compensation, and passengers are recommended to protect frame with
bubble wrap or similar material.
As you can see from this, a box is not compulsory, although appropriate wrapping such as a box is recommended to protect the
bicycle from damage.
I do apologise for the conflicting information you were given at JFK, and I have contacted the Virgin Duty Managers to make sure that the check in agents are up to date on this policy.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can help you further
Access is moderate. The best bike route to the airport is via Earlysville Road which is fairly narrow with moderate traffic. An alternate route weekdays is to ride the Big Blue bus to the intersection of Route 29 and Airport Road. From there it is an easy 1 mile ride to the airport terminal.
Airport website http://www.gocho.com/
Bus Schedule is located at http://monticello.avenue.org/jaunt/bigblue.htm
Bike Rental -- Harper's Ferry, WV and Brunswick, MD
C&O Canal Bicycling rents Trek bikes for use on the C&O Canal towpath in the Harpers Ferry, WV area. Bikes come fully equipped with locks, helmets, baskets and a map. In addition to bike rentals we offer limited supplies for those on the towpath who need tubes, etc. as well as commemorative T-shirts for people who are pedaling the entire 184.5 miles of level packed trail,
The rental location is at 36 West Potomac St., in Brunswick, MD - 10 minutes east of Harpers Ferry, WV and only 2 minutes of flat pedaling off the towpath. We are just to the left of the new National Park Service C&O Canal museum in Brunswick.
Bob & Amy Sloan, August 23, 2000
Bob & Amy Sloan, C&O Canal Bicycling
301-834-5180 (voice and fax)
Bike Rental -- Galax, Virginia
The New River Trail is a 50+ mile rail-trail along the, duh, New River in southwestern Virginia. Shady and flat, with a nice selection of tunnels and trestles and little traffic.
George Farnsworth, July 08, 2000
There's a bike rental place at the Galax end called "New River Riders" 540-236-5900. They have pretty good looking Trek bikes for rent.
Bike Rental -- TortolaTortola, British Virgin Islands - possible to rent bicycles - ask around. Is a stop on a Bike & Cruise tour.
All bicycles must be registered at the Traffic Licencing Office in Road Town and the licence plate must be fixed to the bicycle, cost US$5. Last Stop Sports in Nanny Cay rents and repairs quality mountain bikes, rental US$20/day, T 494-0564, F 494-0593. Don Wiss, September 17, 1999
Bike Rental -- St. ThomasSt. Thomas, US Virgin Islands - is a stop on a Bike & Cruise. Don Wiss, September 17, 1999
Trains from Gatwick
Found out some info - Ken mailed me and said he was looking at Gatwick, York, Swansea, Hollyhead.
From Gatwick you need a Thameslink train to London. Bikes go free but you can't take them during rush-hour (0700-1000 and 1600-1900). From King's Cross, London you need a GNER train to York. Need to reserve in advance, costs 3 pounds - book early as space is limited (08457 225225).
From London to Reading you need a Thames train - free except during rushhour (as above). Reading to Swansea you need Great Western - advance reservation recommended, costs one pound (08457 000125), or there may be space if you simply turn up, but costs 3 pounds.
For Hollyhead you need Virgin trains - you can take bikes on nearly all trains except during rush hour. Advance registration required 08457 222 333.
- Generally seems like you can take your bike anywhere but ring first to check, and don't travel during rush-hour. National Rail enquiries were quite helpful (0345 48 49 50), even though you can't actually make bookings through them they gave me all that info. Hope this helps...
Washington, DC Area Commuter Rail (MARC, VRE MTA, Metro)
Folding bicycles (when properly folded) are allowed on all rail and bus transit (although some transit employees may hassle you). Universal access on transit is a primary reason to own a folding bicycle.
MARC does not allow unfolded bikes on board but might in the future. VRE recently acquired several bi-level cafe cars that readily accommodate bikes and now allows full bike access in these cars.
While MARC still prohibits regular bikes, MTA Light Rail--with lines to both BWI Airport and to the B&A trailhead in Glen Burnie--allows bikes on board anytime except from two hours before to two hours after Orioles games. If your new office is near MTA Light Rail, this might be an option.
Using the route of the recent WABA ride between DC and Baltimore, the one-way distance between the Greenbelt Metro and the BWI Light Rail station is 23.7 miles, mostly on relatively low-traffic roads. It's doable for you at least occasionally.
For a carless commute with a regular bike, you could ride MARC (sans bike) on the DC end and just bike to work from a reasonably close MARC station near Baltimore.
Bike Rental -- Northern Virginia
Under "Rental Bikes Around the World" it would be appreciated if you will list a bike shop under the heading "Northern Virginia." They are close to us and have 10 or 12 good hybrid bikes that can be used either on the C & O Trail (no paving) or on the W & OD Trail (paved).
The bike shop is owned by Craig & John DuBois and is called Bicycle Outfitters, 19 Catoctin Cir., NE, Leesburg, VA 20176-3100. Phone: 703.777.6126.
The W&OD Trail is 200 yards from our B & B and we run a shuttle service for our guests to the C&O Trail. It isn't that far, five miles, but there is a bad stretch of highway (Rt. 15) north of Leesburg on the way to Whites Ferry where we pick up and deliver folks on the C&O.
Let me know if there are any questions. I look forward to hearing from you.
Pam & Don McMurray
The Norris House Inn
108 Loudoun St., SW, Leesburg, VA 20175-2909
Web site: http://norrishouse.com
Tel.: 703.777.1806 Fax: (703) 771-8051
Amtrak -- Chicago
As of August 1, 1997, Amtrak is offering a "demonstration project" of roll-on bicycle access on the "Cardinal" trains and between D.C. and Chicago. This is one of the most scenic rail routes in the country, passing through West Virginia's New River Gorge, the Ohio River in Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana, and the Potomac River in Virginia. Reservations are currently required and there is a $15 fee (provisions that the League is working to change); schedule and service information is available by calling (800) USA-RAIL (or at www.amtrak.com).
This progress is, in large part, due to pressure brought by the League, with the support of U.S. House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Ranking Member Congressman Oberstar (D-MN), upon Amtrak's leadership. The League's expectation is for far more service throughout the Amtrak system in the future.
QUESTIONS? (202) 462-8376 (or email).LAB, July 28, 1997
Bags vs. Boxes ... (a continuing debate)
I took a pair of bikes on various trips back and forth from Dulles airport (Washington, DC) to Heathrow on both British Air and Virgin Atlantic last summer when I lived in London for 5 months. My experiences:
Trip #1 - Two bikes: Santana tandem boxed in Santana shipping box, Fuji touring single in Performance rigid case. The folks at British Air wanted to charge $455 to ship the tandem. No charge for the packed single. I talked them down to a single extra bag charge since the box was oversized (105" x 48"). Upon arrival at Heathrow, the box had been shredded and the contents were deposited in a carelessly assembled heap on the floor of the baggage claim area. No announcement was made as to the arrival of the bike, but all pieces were present and no damage occurred. Lesson: NEVER use an opaque large container on an international flight - customs will likely destroy it upon arrival in an attempt to open it. THe single's container had obviously been searched as well.
Trip #2: Heathrow->DC, British Air. Rolled the bike into the terminal, the smiling counter person jokingly suggested that I would need two of the thick plastic bicycle bags and handed two to me, also inquiring if I would need tape to secure the bags (I'd brought some). 5 minutes later the bike was carefully loaded on a baggage cart and hand carried to the plane. No fuss, no muss. Bike arrived intact at Dulles with one minor ding where the handlebars had been pressed against the frame and flaked a bit of paint off.
Trip #3: DC->Heathrow, tandem again. Bagged the bike in the british air bags at home, carried into Dulles terminal. Virgin wanted to charge $80 to fly the bike internationally. I calmly suggested that they take their charge and ... well, I was calm and cordial - but insisted that I would like to speak to successively higher supervisors. I finally insisted that they show me the fee regulation in writing and when they could not produce that they let the bike fly free. No damage, bike fine upon arrival.
Trip #4: Heathrow->DC, tandem. THis time Virgin insisted that the bike be boxed not bagged. I showed them the previous bag stickers and insisted that the bike had flown at least a half dozen times within the last few months packed just as is (in the plastic bags). After arguing for 15 minutes, I signed a damage waiver and the bike went to the plane.
The bottom line is that the airlines pretty much make up the rules as they go. Single bikes appear to have less problems than tandems. US agents seem to want to charge for bikes, European agents seem to be more concerned with packing.Stephen Ciccarelli, June 12, 1997
Washington, DC Area Commuter Rail (MARC, VRE MTA, Metro)
The rules for bikes on Metro have changed. You can bring your bike into the last car of any Metro train weekdays between 10 AM and 2 PM and between 7PM and closing, and any time on weekends and certain holidays. A pass costs $15 for three years.
Kaman Sciences Corporation
Newport News, Virginia
I haven't taken a bike to Newport News airport. I would rate the road access as hard for bikes since Jefferson Avenue is a bad road for biking. 45 MPH with rocky shoulders, narrow lanes, many businesses, and an interstate interchange very close to make biking in that area an "exciting" trip.Mike Brooks, April 21, 1994
I haven't been by the Norfolk, VA airport by bike in a while, but nothing has changed since my HS days when friends and I would bike to the airport because their game room was the most convienent to my house. Obviously, the airport must be easy to reach by bike if it was trivial enough to accomplish for a few video games.
The roads are quite easy for bicycles. The areas near the front airport entrance are residential, with the businesses about a mile away. I don't know about bike racks now or any other storage amenities for bikes. There is motorcycle parking in a wooded area near the short-term parking lot (departures) that could probably accomodate bikes. You will have to contact the airport itself for any other questions. Like I said, I haven't been there on a bike since HS (before my driver's license)(1981). And I have never tried to put a bike on a plane.
Richmond is easy to moderate due to it's access roads. I believe that Baltimore is all interstate, which would make it hard or impossible. But I thought that Dulles was all interstate, but you seem to have a way around that. I am curious to hear how you can get a bike to Dulles.
I presume that this FAQ is for rec.biking or a similar maillist. I haven't biked in a while, but I hope that this helps some.
Good luck with this project.