Ignore my shameless attempt at content marketing, the real title of this post is ‘4 places in Berlin that don’t have a bike lane, but really need one’. Summer and better weather has come to Berlin and it’s time for the city’s army of part-time, warm weather cyclists (myself included) to dust off the bike, pump up the tyres and brave the streets. Whilst Berlin boasts better cycling provision than all of the cities in my native Britain, it falls somewhat short of European powerhouses such as Copenhagen and Amsterdam. The city’s network of bumpy, brick surfaced bike lanes provide relief from the traffic in some areas, but many central streets lack any kind of cycling provision. Here are 4 cracking examples.
P.S. If you’re reading Angie, sort it out.
Around Hackescher Markt
Centrally-situated Hackie is a popular shopping and eating district. It is also rather crowded with drivers, pedestrians and cyclists all vying for limited space. The multiple tram tracks which line the street create an additional hazard, especially in the rain which I discovered the hard way a few weeks back. Add in a good tailgating by Berlin’s angriest taxi driver and you have the perfect storm.
Brunnenstraße, after Bernauer Straße
In the North of Mitte, the rather nice separated bike lane abruptly disappears after Bernauer Straße leaving you with a choice between playing cosy with the double-decker bus on your left or hitting the pavement and risking a stern telling off from your grandma who happens to be on the way to do her shopping.
Friedrichstraße, between Französische Straße and Kochstraße
Extremely busy and popular with out-of-town visitors, Friedrichstraße boasts attractions like Galleries La Fayette and Checkpoint Charlie. For the roaming English teacher, this road can be a challenge. You have to negotiate cars, buses and Joe Tourist, armed to the teeth with a selfie stick and a sense of entitlement.
Hermannstraße, between Schöneleinstraße and Hermannplatz
What must be the highest concentration of kebab shops and späties in a single street sounds like a wonderful fantasy. However, bear in mind that these places of never ending joy must be restocked on a regular basis and that means the inside lane of this stretch of Kreuzberg road is intermittently blocked by the cyclist’s arch enemy, the white van man and his hazard warning lights.