I've been given permission to have a regular feature on 50%, and I need an outlet to vent about a recent "hobby" I have taken up. I speak of Fahrradsport or cycling. Every Wednesday, you'll hear about my musings on riding a bike in Berlin.
Over the last year yelli and I had year tickets for riding the local public transit system. We could ride them any time to any place. Very nice and very convenient. But at nearly 700 euros a pop, we decided to let them expire and try to cycle more. So I've been cycling to work, there and back, 40 min each way.
I would say cycling in Berlin is pretty easy, overall. Many streets have dedicated bike lanes. And I don't mean just a lane painted on the side of the road. In many places, they actually have a lane, running along the sidewalk what is laid with bricks! And at many busy intersections, there are streetlights dedicated just to cyclists. They have paid attention to the fact that cycling is an important way to get around, much more than any place I've seen in the US.
One drawback (I'll will be coming back to many other drawbacks in future posts; after all, a blog is often just an outlet for ranting more than anything) is that Berlin is more or less a city that has a prominent East-West Axis, given that a major rail line runs in the middle of the city in this direction. In general, at least where I am in West Berlin, there are lots of nice bike lanes running east and west. But there are hardly any that are dedicated to running north and south. This sucks for me because that is the direction of my commute. So I end up taking a silly route that goes on streets along with traffic with little turns onto small bike lanes, back onto the street, and back.
More next week!