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VELOBerlin 2018

VELOBerlin marked the occasion of the second bike show in Berlin this year, only a mere three weeks after the Berlin Fahrradschau. Despite having a slightly different vibe to the BFS, there were still a ton of awesome bikes and events to check out.

The first big event of the show was the 8bar crit on Saturday afternoon, organised by Berlin’s 8bar bikes. Although it rained for quite a lot of the afternoon, it was an exciting race, with riders from all over the place coming to Berlin to race around the track behind the former Tempelhof airport terminal. Despite the rain, there was a good crowd in attendance, and it was great to see many familiar faces riding. Below is a great video about the crit made by Francis Cade from the 8bar team:

The second notable race was the Berlin edition of the International Cargo Bike Race, held on the Sunday afternoon – this time with much more pleasant weather. A relay race, riders also had to pause to load their bikes up with various cargo as they raced around the area used the previous day for the 8bar crit. Check out the cool video below by pedalkultur for assorted scenes from before and during the cargo bike race:

A big part of VELOBerlin was the International Cargo Bike Festival, hosted for the very first time this year in Berlin. There were all kinds of cargo bikes on offer to check out and ride, including Berlin based manufacturer Pedal Power. In fact, most of the 9000m2 covered space directly behind the terminal building was dedicated to cargo bikes of all shapes and sizes. I won’t claim to know a lot about cargo bikes, but I think most of us can agree that the more of these there are in the city and the less cars, the better. As we mentioned in a previous article, you can now even rent a cargo bike for free; we hope that this trend will really take off and the number of cargo bikes available to rent around the city will grow and grow.

Moving inside, the two huge hangers adjacent to the covered area were occupied by (mostly 2-wheel) bikes, bike accessories, non-profit organisations and other firms promoting cycling, both in the city and further afield.

Many of the ubiquitous Berlin brands and builders were there: 8bar, Fern, Meerglas and Ostrad, all of whom we met and interviewed back in October for this feature. Other Berlin-based firms at the show included Cicli BonnanoGramm bags, and Wheeldan, all of whom we are keen to meet soon.

Many local shops brought their wares to the show: we really liked the bikes that The Gentle Jaunt and Bikedudes were showing off.

Aside from the more Berlin-centric stuff, many bigger internationally-recognised brands were also at the show: Giant, Schwalbe, Abus and Brooks.

Other cool stuff was happening near the entrance to the show: free bike coding/marking to prevent theft, free bike washing, a bike flea market and temporary bike repair stations.

We really enjoyed going to the show, and it was a clear indicator that bike culture in Berlin continues to thrive. If you didn’t go this year, make sure to check it out next year.

16th April 2018 0 comment
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Die fLotte: free cargo bikes to rent in Berlin

The ADFC (allgemeiner deutscher fahrrad-club) has recently started Die fLotte, a new initiative to provide free cargo bike rental to people in Berlin.

According to the Flotte website, Berlin is one of over 40 German cities offering free cargo bike rental, often with support from the local ADFC.

Why a cargo bike?

Whether you want to move your children from A to B, haul a load of heavy shopping or even move your belongings to a new apartment, cargo bikes offer an environmentally-friendly, cost-effective and fun alternative to using a car. They also mean one less car being used: less traffic, safer streets, cleaner air and less climate pollution. Riding a bike also keeps you fit and healthy and looks cool!

Getting hold of one of the bikes

There are currently 7 cargo bikes in the fleet: (names including Lotte, Luise and Walte) with some being better suited to transporting children, and some better for hauling stuff.

If you want to use one of the bikes, the registration process is simple. Simply register here, check the bike you’re looking for is available (you can use it for up to 3 consecutive calendar days) and click ‘book’. You will then receive a confirmation email and code word.

Next, go to pick up the bike with your personal ID (which is photographed or copied) and code word, fill out and sign the form and the bike is yours. A lock is also provided.

When returning the bike, chain it up to something unmovable and ensure you hand it over in person to someone at the rental station.

Although the service is technically ‘free’, donations are welcomed.

What bikes are on offer?

For those of you who don’t speak German, here is a list of the bikes currently available with a note about their specifications and suitability. To see the locations and pictures of the bikes, click here.

Bella is a 3-wheeled Bakfiets Cargo Trike Classic Wide and can house up to 4 small children on its two folding benches. The box can handle up to 100kg of weight and the rear rack another 50kg. 8 gears and powerful hydraulic brakes complete the package.

Inge is another Cargo Trike Classic Wide form Bakfiets.

Lukas is the fleet’s third Bakfiets Cargo Trike Classic Wide.

Lotte is a Bakfiets Cargo Trike narrow.  This bike is 10cm narrower than Bakfiets’ Cargo Trike Wide.

Lisbeth is a Pedalpower Long Harry, the oldest and most experienced model in the fleet. Lisbeth is a two-wheeled cargo bike and has a platform instead of a box, making it unsuitable for carrying children. It has 5 gears. (Pedalpower is one of Berlin companies we met for our 5 Berlin bike manufacturers feature.)

Luise is a Bakfiets Cargo Bike Classic Long, and the fastest bike in the fleet. It has a collapsible bench for up to 2 children and can carry 80kg in its box and a further 50kg on the rear rack. Despite its length of 2.50m, it is agile and quick to get up to speed.

Walter is a PFAU-tec Jumbo. The box can carry up to 60kg, but has no benches for children to sit on. The maximum rider weight is 100kg.

If you use one of the bikes, please let us know how you got on.


11th March 2018 0 comment
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