Biking in Berlin

From May 2nd
I saw the famous Bar Bike, but did not get a ride on it.

Solid Entry Level, Aluminum Shimano 105 BMC  I rented.
This Column Was helpful for getting my bearings

Biking in Berlin
I had found a BMC bike online from a shop in West Berlin. It was one of the few places that actually had regular road bikes and not city bikes available to rent. So I took the subway and got off in the Zoo stop to pick it up. Once I got the bike, I had planned to do a roundabout ride back to the hotel to test her out. It was a really awesome experience biking after having been walking around and using the subway. This made me feel more like a part of the city. Even with my GPS, I ended up going around in circles, but using [insert name of victory statue thing], I was able to find my way back to Freidrichstrasse.
Biking to Potsdam and Back
This ride was only possible because of the Garmin. I didn't have much time on the S.L.O.W. computer at the hotel using Windows 95 in German, so I just used the cycle map on bike route toaster to get directions on bike preferred/bike lane roads. I got up early in the morning and to my huge dismay, it was below 40 degrees and drizzling. It had been sunny most of the trip, and all I had to wear was shorts, knee warmers, a jersey, arm warmers, and a vest. I headed on out to West Berlin until I got almost to the river and went south through [add park name]. While riding, I encountered several commuters--the few bikers I saw wearing helmets. The roads in the forest were the only ones I encountered with hills the entire day. Outside of Potsdam, I ended up going on a scenic route that goes along the river and had great views. You could imagine people going there and hanging out at the several biergartens I saw along the river bank. I had to imagine this, as there was no one around, it was gray and cloudy, and there was drizzle coming down. I went through Potsdam along some crazy route that I never would have figured out without my Garmin telling me which way to go. It included a driveway that turned into a small road along a canal and several other random paths that connected larger roads. Once back outside of Potsdam, I had tried a chancy move of going through another forest, not knowing exactly what surface I'd find on the trail. The surface ended up being dirt, so I rode a race bike for 3-4 miles on singletrack. Luckily, there were not too many rocks or roots, so I didn't get a puncture flat. Getting back into town, I was now in Berlin rush hour traffic, and lucky for me it now really started raining. The road that I was on was a "bike lane" road, but in Germany a bike lane means a lane that can either be on the road or on a sidewalk--which is quite sketchy if that sidewalk is made of cobblestones and wet. Once in Berlin, I was freezing and just wanted to get my ass back to the hotel to warm up. Lucky me again...I get a flat. I did have a spare tube, but I had no pump to blow up the tube. I speak no German. "Woe is me," I thought. What was I to do? As the tire is slowly deflating, I ended up passing a bike shop that had just opened, so I went in and was able to its pump and get myself back to the hotel. This was one of the coldest rides I've ever done because of the 40ish degree weather, rain, and lack of appropriate clothing.
Random Thoughts
  • Even though Berlin/Germany has a lot more bike lanes than we do in the U.S., I actually don't like the bike lanes there. When they were on the road, they were great, but many times they took me onto the sidewalk and it was pretty scary due to pedestrian traffic.
  • With the different road conditions, I actually think a cross bike would have been better to use. Some of the streets were pretty heavily made of cobblestones.
  • I really enjoyed being able to experience the scenery on a bike and getting to see Potsdam as well as Berlin. 


Biking in Amsterdam

From April 31st

This is a travel bike post.  I was doing a trip with Sara, and her parents.  The trans-atlantic flight came into Amsterdam, so we spent 2 days there before heading to Prague and then Berlin.  On the Second day, we rented from Yellow Bikes and guess what we rode Yellow city bikes.  We picked them up and rode them to the canal, where Sara did a Canal trip again that we did the day before.  I think had an hour to ride by myself.  I had brought my Garmin and hooked that up to the bike.  The Garmin is great to know where you are at, the scene is not big enough to use it like a map.  So I rode around on my front brake, and rear coaster brake bike.  I could only get the bike to 17 mph since the gear was pretty small on it.  I rode around and did a lap at Vondelpark which was near our hotel.  On the way back to where the Canal trips started I went through a bicycle, pedestrian only road, this was very cool(Max Euweplein).  The 3 story Bike Parking garage was a site to behold.  After the Canal ride Sara and I biked to the Maritime museum that was still closed so we went to the next best thing the Heineken Experience :-)   The paths were nice enough that Sara felt ok to bike on them, she was a little scared when we were in the city center, and you had tons of cyclists on the path, and some motor scooters.  The most interesting thing that I didn’t see was actual cyclists.  I saw tons of people riding bikes, but only like 5 cyclists on bikes doing a ride.