So I have to say, just over 1 week into my epic German adventure, initial reports are positive. So far I really like Berlin- every day I notice something about it which is way cooler than life at home, provided I set aside the ever present issue of not being able to ask anybody anything about what the hell is going on because I don’t speak German well enough.
Time for a series of short posts about things which I like about Berlin, beginning with:
In Edinburgh I was, for a time, a fairly militant cyclist. I cycled everywhere, at high speed, in padded shorts and had gadgets on my fairly nice bike and generally asserted myself over cars wherever possible.
Bike riding in Berlin is, for some, just the same. I’ve seen a few hardened cyclists zooming around on fixed-gear racing bikes, lycra-wrapped thighs pounding away, a sense of steely determination in their eyes.
However, this is not the norm. Most people ride bikes like these:
They ride them on the pavement, in the cycle lanes (which are everywhere), on the roads, but wherever they ride them they mostly ride them slowly. This suits me, as this bike only goes slowly.
Everybody has a bike and it genuinely is one of the best ways to get around – Berlin’s pretty flat, and the cycle lanes are extensive and well-maintained, so I was pleased to make this purchase, all by myself from the Flohmarkt am Mauer Park (Flea market) for 50 Euros.
Admittedly, the bike and I have had difficulties adjusting to our new relationship, as evidenced by these near-mortal wounds caused by a scratchy bit on the chain cover
Given time, I reckon we’ll work out our differences. Either that or I’ll take a metal-file to her till she settles down.