Several aspects of our lives can hold us back from
traveling. It could be a nine to five career or a lack of funds. For me, there
has long been one constant impeding my ability to travel long, hard and
continuously: my flat-as-a pancake-feet. When you are visiting a city the size
of Berlin, it can be overwhelming to cover it by foot, especially when you
inherited the flattest feet in the world.
However the uplifting sound of bike bells and the clicking of gears all
across the city suggest an alternative, a respite for barking feet.
My first day in Berlin with AirBerlin consisted of walking
and more walking. By day two, I was excited to get on a bike and give these
flat feet a break. I was worried about a few elements, namely being hit by a
large bus or being the target of a German road-bike rage incident. After safely
avoiding taking down pedestrians and dodging bus accidents, I can see why so
many take to Berlin by bike. I joined up with a Fat Tire Bike Tour of Berlin to
see what Germany’s massive capital would be like off of my feet. If you are
contemplating how you want to see Berlin, whether by bus, bike, boat or on
foot, here’s the skinny on biking in Berlin.
Flat Berlin: One
element that worried me about biking around a major Europe city was the strain.
Do I need to be Lance Armstrong? Having not ridden a bike since the age of 12,
I hopped on my beach cruiser named Lola and found the saying to be true. You
never forget how to ride a bike. The ultimate test was putting this into
action. Not once on my bike tour of Berlin did I have to work hard to keep
peddling. Berlin might be as flat as my feet, marrying the perfect
relationship. You don’t have to worry about massive hills or being the best of
Bike Paths Galore and
Accessibility: The Fat Tire Bike Tour largely followed bike paths around
the city. On a general sights tour of Berlin, I mostly traveled on smooth, wide
bike paths. This also puts travelers’ minds at ease while in traffic. The bike
paths are wide enough that you don’t feel as though a car could run you off of
the road. Berlin has worked continuously on creating and updating its network
of bike paths to accommodate locals and visitors. There are also plenty of
spots around Berlin to pick up a rental for anywhere from 10 minutes to several
hours, making the accessibility of biking in Berlin that much easier.
Attractions: Due to the size of Berlin, you might only see the major sites
on foot on a three-day visit. However by bike, you can see so much more of the
city, including its quirky attractions. Fat Tire Bike Tours do a good job of
telling little tidbits about Berlin that in essence sum up its multifaceted
personality. From where Michael Jackson infamously dangled baby Blanket out the
window in Puriser Platz at Hotel Adion, to a look at one of the last surviving
watchtowers in East Berlin, the diversity of sights and information bring to
life Berlin rather than keeping it flat in your imagination.
For The Time
Crunched: On a walking tour of a small section of East Berlin, I realized
after a few blisters, Berlin is not completely the most walkable of cities.
Spending several hours walking in Berlin doesn’t equate to several hours on a
bike. On a bike for four hours within the city, I observed Bebelplatz, the site
of the Nazi’s infamous book burning, the Brandenburg Gate, the Memorial to
Murdered Jews of Europe and the Victory Column in the midst of Tiergarten. As
we continued on through the 2.5 kilometer park in Berlin, it was clear to me I
saw far more on my cruiser than I ever could by foot. Being that I only have
two and half days with Berlin, time was important. If you are only spending a
weekend or even just a week in Berlin, a bike tour will not only help you
orient yourself with the city, but it will also allow you to see more than you
ever could by foot.
Have you traveled through Berlin on a bike?
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