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Crossing the Chesapeake Bay by/with a bicycle - is there any practical way to do it?

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Crossing the Chesapeake Bay by/with a bicycle - is there any practical way to do it?

Old 01-18-16, 02:33 PM
  #26  
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I like using ferrys .. took some open ocean ones .. northern England to Norway . Baltic sea , mouth of the Schelde river
Calais - Dover, Larne - Stranraer


the SF to Vallejo one in the bay area ..


the Megler Bridge opened in 66 here.. used to be a ferry running to WA and Back, to link US 101.
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Old 01-18-16, 02:44 PM
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Yes. THE bridge.
Not for beginners.
Fortunately, Pacific County offers inexpensive bus service across.
I think there are 4 crossings per day, except weekends.
So, if you are queasy, just load your bike on the rack.

Too bad there is not this perfectly reasonable option on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.
People in the Pac NW are so - - - - smart.
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Old 01-18-16, 02:57 PM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by maxine View Post
I don't believe that the police/transit authorities nowadays still provide the walk-up van service that suburbanbeat describes (actually, I'm surprised that they were, apparently, still doing so in 2014 -- I thought that they had stopped years before then.)
Thanks Maxine. I think I may not have been completely clear though. I need to cross the the Virginia bridge (which I really should have called the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel), not the Maryland one (which seems to have almost the same name, but it's at the other end of the bay. I actually considered the Tangier ferry route, but that takes me out of the way and worse still, puts me in a position to deal with river crossings. Thanks for the links, though.
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Old 01-18-16, 03:42 PM
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Ohhhhhhhhh!! Sorry, I probably wasn't paying close enough attention! (The "unofficial" name of the one in Maryland -- "the Bay Bridge" -- is too similar!)

Never mind, LOL!

I have been across the Bay Bridge/Tunnel numerous times in my car, but never on my bike, and have not heard of anyone hitching a ride (officially or otherwise) across. Good luck!
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Old 01-18-16, 05:02 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by maxine View Post

I have been across the Bay Bridge/Tunnel numerous times in my car, but never on my bike, and have not heard of anyone hitching a ride (officially or otherwise) across. Good luck!
Lots of cyclists have done so.
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Old 01-18-16, 07:11 PM
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Is there a reason to not circumnavigate the Bay? In Washington state people either take a ferry boat across Puget Sound or they ride around it. Here in Wisconsin people either ride around the Great Lakes or take a ferry across where one is available, but I'm not sure if one can walk or bicycle across the bridge at the north end of Lake Michigan. So I'm just curious about why not ride around the Chesapeak (sp?) unless it is a time constraint issue. In any case, hope you have a good ride and that the tour goes well, have fun no matter which way you get across the Bay.
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Old 01-18-16, 07:43 PM
  #32  
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I think the ferry option to Tangier would be fun. I have taken the ferry from Virginia (Reedville) twice although not with a bike. It's quite a nice ride and Tangier is the type of place you would want to visit when on a tour anyway. You could ride around the entire island in 10 minutes and then have lunch and enjoy the soft shell crabs.
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Old 01-18-16, 09:57 PM
  #33  
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A few summers ago, my s/o and I rode our bikes from Pocomoke City, MD (where we were staying at a B&B) to Crisfield, MD and then went over on the mail boat to Smith Island. Rode around the island, visited the small museum, had lunch (with, of course, Smith Island Cake for dessert!) Fun day. We'll have to try the Tangier trip some time.
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Old 01-19-16, 12:05 AM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by treebound View Post
Is there a reason to not circumnavigate the Bay? In Washington state people either take a ferry boat across Puget Sound or they ride around it. Here in Wisconsin people either ride around the Great Lakes or take a ferry across where one is available, but I'm not sure if one can walk or bicycle across the bridge at the north end of Lake Michigan. So I'm just curious about why not ride around the Chesapeak (sp?) unless it is a time constraint issue. In any case, hope you have a good ride and that the tour goes well, have fun no matter which way you get across the Bay.
All depends on the cross-US route I think. Unless heading northward, riding up the DelMarVa peninsula to mainland might take one thru some more heavily-populated & unscenic areas. One can ride across DelMarVA & take the Kent Island Express taxi across the Bay Bridge--easy ride into DC & then there's a 50-mile long paved trail to the foothills.
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Old 01-19-16, 07:55 AM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by punkinevil View Post
I know this was a fairly old thread, but I have been trying to find someone who has used the shuttle over the bridge. I was thinking about riding down to Portsmouth this Spring to visit family and that crossing is the only real obstacle. Did you have to schedule the van in advance? If so, how long in advance and how precisely did you have to schedule a time? Ideally, I would love to roll up whenever I get there and do it as a walk-im since it would be the end of an all day ride. I would be grateful if you could share how it worked out logistically. Thanks!
Hey Punkinevil, sorry for the delay. So, this process was actually super easy and straightforward. Basically, the bridge/tunnel has big operating facilities on either side of it. These operating facilities are staffed full-time. When we went there, we saw workers, police, and administrators in that building.

We simply called the morning of the day we were going to arrive, probably around 10 a.m., to let them know that we would need a shuttle across the bridge/tunnel around 3:00pm. They said something to the effect of 'no problem, someone will be here.' I believe I called again about 30 minutes before we arrived to reconfirm.

When we pulled up, it seemed like no one was really expecting us, I had to re-explain that me and my crew needed a ride across the bridge. Still, it wasn't a problem. The receptionist working the desk (on the north side) just let a cop know that we needed a ride. One of the bridge workers helped us load our bikes in the back of his van, and off we went. We couldn't all fit in the van with the bridge worker, so I rode with the worker while the other guys rode over in a cop car.

But really, you shouldn't have a problem. It seemed like there was plenty of staff that, whether you called ahead or not, you would be taken care of. Although you should call just to be safe. I will add that the road leading up to the bridge on the north side is very busy. You do have a nice, wide shoulder, but just something to keep in mind. Once you're on the other side, you can get on side roads pretty quickly.

Oh, and you do have to pay the toll, which is over $10 if I remember correctly.
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Old 01-19-16, 08:07 AM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by treebound View Post
Is there a reason to not circumnavigate the Bay? In Washington state people either take a ferry boat across Puget Sound or they ride around it. Here in Wisconsin people either ride around the Great Lakes or take a ferry across where one is available, but I'm not sure if one can walk or bicycle across the bridge at the north end of Lake Michigan. So I'm just curious about why not ride around the Chesapeak (sp?) unless it is a time constraint issue. In any case, hope you have a good ride and that the tour goes well, have fun no matter which way you get across the Bay.
Hey Treebound. We began our trip at Assateague Island and rode south to meet up with the TransAmerica Trail. Our starting point pretty much meant that we had to cross the bay at some point to get over to the mainland. I can't remember why I ruled the other bridges out, but the CBB/T made the most sense anyway, since it was the most direct route south. Also, riding along the MD/VA eastern shore was one of my favorite parts of our cross country trip, so I'm glad we went down that way.

Also, by using any other bridge, we would have had to ride through Washington D.C. I guess that to some people that would be awesome, but we weren't looking to ride through any metropolitan areas if we didn't have to.
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Old 01-19-16, 12:49 PM
  #37  
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Bikes are not allowed on the Bridge-Tunnel, although they do offer a shuttle. See below. I've heard mixed reviews of the responsiveness of the tunnel staff with the bike shuttle. You can always try to hitch a ride across. Heading south on the peninsula side, there is a rest area literally right next to the toll booths where a lot of people stop (nice restrooms, tourist info, etc.). You'll find plenty of people with pick-up trucks crossing the bridge. Offer to pay their toll and you'll probably have good luck (note that the toll referenced below is outdated - current tolls are $13 during the week and $15 on the weekends May through September, one-way). Heading north on the Virginia Beach side, the toll plaza is at the end of a short stretch of highway. There is on on-ramp just before the toll plaza at Shore Drive (Rt. 60) that you could easily park yourself at to look for a ride.


From Bicycling and Walking in Virginia

The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, which is not a VDOT facility, offers a shuttle van for cyclists. The cost is $12, the same as a passenger car toll. You must call ahead. For more information:

Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel
32386 Lankford Highway
P.O. Box 111
Cape Charles, VA 23310-0111
Phone: (757) 331-2960
Fax: (757) 331-4565
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Old 01-19-16, 08:55 PM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by suburbanbeat View Post
Hey Treebound. We began our trip at Assateague Island and rode south to meet up with the TransAmerica Trail. Our starting point pretty much meant that we had to cross the bay at some point to get over to the mainland. I can't remember why I ruled the other bridges out, but the CBB/T made the most sense anyway, since it was the most direct route south. Also, riding along the MD/VA eastern shore was one of my favorite parts of our cross country trip, so I'm glad we went down that way.

Also, by using any other bridge, we would have had to ride through Washington D.C. I guess that to some people that would be awesome, but we weren't looking to ride through any metropolitan areas if we didn't have to.
After all, most US folks have already visited Wash DC anyway. Eastern suburbs have some sketchy higher-crime areas also. OTOH while I haven't biked thru Norfolk/VA Beach area, that's a pretty built-up area also.

Originally Posted by briwasson View Post
Bikes are not allowed on the Bridge-Tunnel, although they do offer a shuttle. See below. I've heard mixed reviews of the responsiveness of the tunnel staff with the bike shuttle. You can always try to hitch a ride across. Heading south on the peninsula side, there is a rest area literally right next to the toll booths where a lot of people stop (nice restrooms, tourist info, etc.). You'll find plenty of people with pick-up trucks crossing the bridge. Offer to pay their toll and you'll probably have good luck (note that the toll referenced below is outdated - current tolls are $13 during the week and $15 on the weekends May through September, one-way). Heading north on the Virginia Beach side, the toll plaza is at the end of a short stretch of highway. There is on on-ramp just before the toll plaza at Shore Drive (Rt. 60) that you could easily park yourself at to look for a ride.
Good info thanks. I wouldn't have thought that CBB/T still offered a shuttle service since the (MD) Bay Bridge discontinued a similar service years ago. Kent Island Express across the Bay Bridge costs about $25 at least I think. OTOH they're pretty nice & even though I didn't have a reservation I only had to wait about 20-30 minutes for the ride. Unlike the CBB/T the BB doesn't have esp good spots to hitch.
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Old 01-21-16, 11:17 AM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by suburbanbeat View Post
Hey Punkinevil, sorry for the delay. So, this process was actually super easy and straightforward. Basically, the bridge/tunnel has big operating facilities on either side of it. These operating facilities are staffed full-time. When we went there, we saw workers, police, and administrators in that building.

We simply called the morning of the day we were going to arrive, probably around 10 a.m., to let them know that we would need a shuttle across the bridge/tunnel around 3:00pm. They said something to the effect of 'no problem, someone will be here.' I believe I called again about 30 minutes before we arrived to reconfirm.

When we pulled up, it seemed like no one was really expecting us, I had to re-explain that me and my crew needed a ride across the bridge. Still, it wasn't a problem. The receptionist working the desk (on the north side) just let a cop know that we needed a ride. One of the bridge workers helped us load our bikes in the back of his van, and off we went. We couldn't all fit in the van with the bridge worker, so I rode with the worker while the other guys rode over in a cop car.

But really, you shouldn't have a problem. It seemed like there was plenty of staff that, whether you called ahead or not, you would be taken care of. Although you should call just to be safe. I will add that the road leading up to the bridge on the north side is very busy. You do have a nice, wide shoulder, but just something to keep in mind. Once you're on the other side, you can get on side roads pretty quickly.

Oh, and you do have to pay the toll, which is over $10 if I remember correctly.
Thanks for the info. I have been over the bridge many times (by car and buss) and knew about the alleged bike shuttle service, but really wanted to hear from someone like you who had actually used it. My plan is to ride down the Eastern Shore from Rehoboth. Since that is a fairly long ride, I don't think I could really schedule and arrival time at the bridge. I am not sure if I would even do that segment in one day or two...depends upon how much time I want to spend exploring along the way. I will still call ahead, but it is good to hear that they were pretty accommodating without a whole lot of advanced notice.
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Old 01-21-16, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by punkinevil View Post
Thanks for the info. I have been over the bridge many times (by car and buss) and knew about the alleged bike shuttle service, but really wanted to hear from someone like you who had actually used it. My plan is to ride down the Eastern Shore from Rehoboth. Since that is a fairly long ride, I don't think I could really schedule and arrival time at the bridge. I am not sure if I would even do that segment in one day or two...depends upon how much time I want to spend exploring along the way. I will still call ahead, but it is good to hear that they were pretty accommodating without a whole lot of advanced notice.
No sweat. Like I said, those first few days of riding the eastern shore was one of the highlights of our cross country trip. For being close to so many metropolitan areas, it feels incredibly remote. Definitely the most severe rural poverty I've ever seen.

We weren't able to get to the bridge from Assateague on our first day. We instead rode halfway and camped in the back yard of an abandoned house in Onley, MD. Stealth camping is about your only option as there are no campgrounds in the area.

In fact, here is my Strava route from that day. My GPS stopped a few miles before we got to our camp spot, though.

https://www.strava.com/activities/163662841
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Old 01-21-16, 10:06 PM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by suburbanbeat View Post
No sweat. Like I said, those first few days of riding the eastern shore was one of the highlights of our cross country trip. For being close to so many metropolitan areas, it feels incredibly remote. Definitely the most severe rural poverty I've ever seen.

We weren't able to get to the bridge from Assateague on our first day. We instead rode halfway and camped in the back yard of an abandoned house in Onley, MD. Stealth camping is about your only option as there are no campgrounds in the area.

In fact, here is my Strava route from that day. My GPS stopped a few miles before we got to our camp spot, though.

https://www.strava.com/activities/163662841
DelMarVA definitely has some poorer areas. Chicken production is huge, not exactly a glamour industry. OTOH sometimes it's hard to gauge things by appearance. Some country folks might have half-decent jobs but not esp interested in impressing neighbors with fancy home remodeling & cars.

BTW in re cycling & the Eastern Shore--the biggest # of bicyclists are Eastern European/Russian young folk who come over for summer beach jobs. They pay high rents but economize by buying used bikes for transport & cook their own food. One year I drove to the beach & was a bit surprised at the large # of slim/cute/blonde young women riding bikes but later learned they were guest workers, not vacationers working off the Thrasher's Fries.
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Old 01-22-16, 08:55 AM
  #42  
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Two things, getting over the bridge is easy. The shuttle is pointless. Go up the last on ramp and thumb it. I've done this numerous times. Each pick up has been by a sheriff in a pickup. They are use to seeing cyclist trying to get back and forth.

Second, I cringe each time I read or hear some tourist speak bad about the possibility of cycling through DC. It's probably the easiest system in America. I'll tell you why. It is the only one the spans separate trails over numerous counties. Other city cycling routes are designed to keep you in town. Ours gives even the shyest the ability to go far safely. You can access DC cycling network via WABA website or Google for the PDF file. The map covers most of MD and VA too. People who fear our city, just should ease up.
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Old 01-23-16, 08:45 AM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by Teamdarb View Post
Second, I cringe each time I read or hear some tourist speak bad about the possibility of cycling through DC. It's probably the easiest system in America. I'll tell you why. It is the only one the spans separate trails over numerous counties. Other city cycling routes are designed to keep you in town. Ours gives even the shyest the ability to go far safely. You can access DC cycling network via WABA website or Google for the PDF file. The map covers most of MD and VA too. People who fear our city, just should ease up.
People who fear our city should just ease up? Haha. Cyclists are stopped and robbed on the Northeast Branch trail during the middle of the day! There are many safe and easy routes through DC but there also are many dangerous places as well. It's not Detroit or Baltimore but cyclists still need to plan and ride accordingly.
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Old 01-23-16, 09:57 PM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by Teamdarb View Post
Two things, getting over the bridge is easy. The shuttle is pointless. Go up the last on ramp and thumb it. I've done this numerous times. Each pick up has been by a sheriff in a pickup. They are use to seeing cyclist trying to get back and forth.

Second, I cringe each time I read or hear some tourist speak bad about the possibility of cycling through DC. It's probably the easiest system in America. I'll tell you why. It is the only one the spans separate trails over numerous counties. Other city cycling routes are designed to keep you in town. Ours gives even the shyest the ability to go far safely. You can access DC cycling network via WABA website or Google for the PDF file. The map covers most of MD and VA too. People who fear our city, just should ease up.
When I tried hitching (westward) I waited about 20 minutes & gave up, perhaps more persistence would have helped but I didn't want to get off-schedule.

Metro DC does have an extensive bike route system but it's thinner on the eastern side. Some of the (even major) roads are not well-signed. Riding back thru PG County at night I encountered a hostile drunk in a pickup & when I took the Metro train from Prince George County to Fairfax County a guy sitting near me asked if he could "borrow" my phone...yeah right. If one gets sidetracked into Anacostia risk of becoming a crime victim zooms. So I would advise folks going thru PG County & eastern DC to have their route down pat & hopefully go with partner(s) during the daytime.

& even in NW DC the bike path system has some quirks. Like the Capital Crescent Trail with the poor connection to Chain Bridge which requires 2-mile detour on the C&O or else scrambling down a steep & rocky path & then crossing busy Canal road & hopping over a steel barrier. Rock Creek path is still the pits after decades. Alexandria-Mt Vernon bike path has many slow & challenging sections also. I lived in the area a long time but still discovering new routes & shortcuts.
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Old 01-23-16, 10:22 PM
  #45  
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I'm a native, and it saddens me when cyclotourist avoid the most diverse in history the city has. Especially due to "fear". Get a guide. I love showing people around SE and NE. I'm from Good Hope, Eastover and up Montana/Saratoga. I strongly welcome anyone to contact me if you want to see DC beyond media and personal insecurities.

I will admit going west over the bridge takes longer. I've acquired many contacts that remedy that issue. Here's a west ward tip, stop into the bait shop next to McDonald's before the bridge. Those folks are always willing to get you a ride over. Coming from the east is easy I think due to the two cycling loops right at bridge.
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Old 01-24-16, 05:58 PM
  #46  
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^^ Note to the last few posters: the OP is asking about the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, not the Annapolis Chesapeake Bay Bridge.
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Old 01-24-16, 08:13 PM
  #47  
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It's even easier to cross. Plenty cycle along that stretch. You will get a lift even without calling.
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Old 01-25-16, 12:16 AM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by Teamdarb View Post
I'm a native, and it saddens me when cyclotourist avoid the most diverse in history the city has. Especially due to "fear". Get a guide. I love showing people around SE and NE. I'm from Good Hope, Eastover and up Montana/Saratoga. I strongly welcome anyone to contact me if you want to see DC beyond media and personal insecurities.

I will admit going west over the bridge takes longer. I've acquired many contacts that remedy that issue. Here's a west ward tip, stop into the bait shop next to McDonald's before the bridge. Those folks are always willing to get you a ride over. Coming from the east is easy I think due to the two cycling loops right at bridge.
Thanks for the tip! In re personal insecurities--I've lived in DC (proper)--I & most folks I knew there had been crime victims. Just biking-wise: been chased by a bunch of kids/teenagers hollering to "get that dude's bike!"; got slugged by a 6-yr old kid at a stop light (with encouragement from nearby adults); had bike stolen from inside my workplace. I'm not trying to scare folks; after all I've also ridden 1,000's of miles in DC with no problem also.

Originally Posted by briwasson View Post
^^ Note to the last few posters: the OP is asking about the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, not the Annapolis Chesapeake Bay Bridge.
Actually suburbanbeat asked: Crossing the Chesapeake Bay by/with a bicycle - is there any practical way to do it? Hi everyone. I'm kind of at my wit's end trying to figure out ways to get across the Chesapeake Bay in a way that is at all practical/cheap. It seems that literally all of the bridges that cross the bay restrict bicycles.

SB did mention the CBBT but noted it was further south than optimal. Of course it is important to help folks avoid confusing the 2 bridges.
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Old 01-25-16, 12:26 PM
  #49  
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Uber have any Pickup owners you can call?
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Old 01-26-16, 09:12 PM
  #50  
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That's a good idea, I'd imagine that some Uber drivers at least have minivans or SUVs that would accommodate a bike fairly easily. Haven't used Uber myself but folks say it's often fairly prompt so it might be a good way to minimize time & hassle of getting a shuttle or taxi ride.
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