Cycling in Berlin

Just like the suburb I normally live in, cycling is very big in Berlin generally, and in Prenzlauer in particular. There are however some noticeable differences.

  1. Very few people wear helmets
    I have seen some children with helmets and two adults, but that is about it. Everyone else wears what they would normally wear out, beanies, caps, or scarves. looking at the laws, since 2011 “helmets are required by law for children under 13 years old”
  2. No-one wears lycra
    Well I assume there are some people who wear lycra, but I have yet to see anyone wearing much more than their normal street clothes. I have seen a couple of people wearing sweat pants and shirt but that is about it.
  3. Most people ride street cycles
    I assume there are bicycles with racing handlebars and skinny tyres but I haven’t really seen any around this area. What I have seen is lots of comfortable street bikes, and customisation is normally to add wooden shopping baskets or the like
  4. Nobody rides very quickly
    Most of the actually cycling I’ve seen is more in the way of a promenade through the leafy streets and cafes. I have seen people in the heavy traffic areas riding more quickly commuting from work, but no packs of riders on the roads. I assume this adds to the lack of helmets as there is little speed involved on either side most of the time.
  5. Cycling is obviously only part of the picture
    Since arriving I’ve seen numerous people smoking as they cycled along, and one guy with his shopping hanging off one handlebar, and an open bottle of beer in the other hand. They looked very civilised. I did also see some-one riding while talking on a mobile phone which I understand is illegal.

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By Rae Allen

Rae Allen is a digital media professional.

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