The number of people using bikes in Berlin is overwhelming! For every 1000 residents over 700 have bikes, most of them use it on daily basis. That resulted in a really well developed bike infrastructure and bicycle culture. The city has some 620 kms of cycling paths and they are almost always packed with people riding their bikes like crazy. In some areas of Berlin, those hip / alternative ones (Prenzlauer Berg, Friedrichshein, Kreuzberg) I often have a feeling there are more bikers than pedestrians around!
Even if the public transport in Berlin is excellent after my recent trips I believe the German capital is best discovered by bike! Not only you can see more this way and stop whenever you want to to take a picture or go deeper into the buildings / backyards but you might also feel like a true Berliner, pacing through the city on their favourite mode of transportation. Riding a bike around also made me look at the city from the different perspective, notticing things I haven’t seen before. It was such an enjoyable experience!
The first trip I took was Raw: Berlin Exposed Bike Tour with Fat Tire Bike Tours. I thought I know the city well but these few hours spent on that tour proved me wrong. Even thought we cruised in areas familiar to me most of the places we visited I saw for the first time! My absolute highlight was RAW Tempel, an alternative heart of Berlin, and one of the squats – Tommy Weisbecker House. Before the tour me and my company Agnieszka and Ewa were really reluctant to go biking around for couple of hours – when we were back at Alexanderplatz we all regreted it was already over!
A little over a month later I visited Berlin again, this time to look for remnants of Berlin Wall and learn about its history. This time I took “The Berlin Wall Bike Tour” with Berlin on Bike. On that very weekend I learnt a lot about the recent reality of the German capital and that very tour had a lot to do with it. Our guide, Sasha, is a true Berliner and so he interspersed his personal stories with lots of interesting facts and history of the Wall. These were such an informative few hours that none of us realized how much time has passed by! We biked to well known places such as Bornholmer Strasse or Berlin Wall Memorial but also went to some hidden spots I’d never have found myself, like part of the Wall that still stands in one of the cemetries in Mitte district. The day was sunny, perfect for a bike tour so it was a pure pleasure to ride through cobbled streets and shadowed parks on the old-fashioned alike bike. Even if the tour lasted 5 hours I kind of wished it hadn’t be over so fast!
How these two tours did help me to overcome my biking fears, you might ask. Well, being part of such an excellent bike culture, even if just for a short time, gave me so much confidence I was on a cloud nine when I returned to Warsaw and had to use bikes on a daily basis again. I was almost jumping with happiness when I was using our city bikes on the way to/from work, it’s been often a highlight of my day. In Berlin there are clear rules about riding a bike, drivers respect bikers and the other way around and I just felt safe there, I knew what and how I should do. I only wish other cities , and especially Warsaw, would be like that too!
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Berlin was the first city I went for a bike tour and I’m sure not the last one. It’s such an excellent way to discover the city and understand it better! Both Berlin on Bike and Fat Tire Bike Tours offer a wide selection of tours around the German capital so I’m hoping to go for some more next time I’m there! And when you plan a trip to Berlin be sure to go for a bike tour too, I ensure you it might be one of the highlights of your stay there, just like it was for me!
Have you done any bike tours? Where? Would you like to explore Berlin on bike?
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