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The World on 2 Wheels

June 21, 2013
After one harrowing Friday morning, trapped in the Ubahn after a suicide (literally) put the brakes on my journey to work, the idea of free-wheeling down one of Berlin’s few hills was a welcome change. (Let’s not talk about the journey back up said hill!) SO I bought myself a cycle helmet, dragged my ungainly, quite rusty citybike out of its comfortable hibernation in the cellar and resolved to cycle at least twice per week to and from work. 
 
Aside from the physical aspects, cycling is a great exercise in people watching. I feel my knowledge of the world is richer since I started pootling along the cyclepaths of Berlin on my ladybike. 
 
You have your ‘too-cool-for-school’ types on their mountain bikes, bike chain around their waist/over their shoulder. Their seat is positioned so high that their feet can’t touch the ground when they stop at the lights so they just don’t stop. Attempting to break the sound barrier on a bike, they rocket through the city, speeding past traffic jams and taking out any pedestrian that dares step over the line onto the forbidden red path of doom a.k.a cycle path.
 
Then there are the parents. I am clearly one of these. They ride on the pathway, always (they’re allowed to, don’t you know!) and they either have a child seat on the front or back of the bike. The coolest parents have a trailer, where the kids can kick back and have a kip, whilst mummy or daddy does all the work. Even COOLER parents have one of those box or basket things on the front of the bike, where their 10 kids can sit comfortably. Rock n roll!

The oldies. Riding slowly through the city, as if time didn’t exist. Must be overtaken where possible.

The serious cyclists. Always ride on the road, whether there’s a cycle path or not and wear tight clothing. To be respected / admired from a distance.

Tourists. No idea about the rules. Often found riding the wrong way up the cycle path and never signal when turning. Seem to find safety in (large, annoying) numbers.

Of course, there are probably a few more categories of Berlin cyclist than the ones mentioned above but my cycling world is thus far restricted to the 8 kilometer journey to work and back. I’d highly recommend getting on your bike and experiencing the world from two wheels! Reports on your sociological findings are welcome in the comments section.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 27, 2013 09:35

    Haha. Nice. I wonder where I fit in. Some strange hybrid I guess. The tired looking lady on the hipster bike WITH a bike trailer on back in which a toddler is playing the keyboard. (My favorite toy to put back there with her because when I here her play it I can assume she’s still alive back there.) Heh.

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  1. Biking Germany: The World on Two Wheels | Young Germany

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