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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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Tempelhofer Feld

Tempelhofer Feld is the best place in Berlin.

There, we said it.

It’s also one of the best places to go for a ride in the city: central, accessible to all, away from cars and totally, totally Berlin.

The best thing about cycling on Tempelhofer Feld is its inclusivity. Are you a parent, looking for somewhere to let your child safely learn to cycle? Do you have a €4000 racing bike you want to ride at 30km/h? Do you want to have a gentle (or not so gentle) ride to unwind after work? Do you want to hire some bikes and show your guests one of Berlin’s best spots? You’re in luck, because you can do all of those things here. 

Your first impression might be that the field is vast, but from two wheels it doesn’t seem so big. This ride is an easy 11.4km and will take no more than an hour even with several stops.

We recommend starting from the Neukölln side at Herrfurthplatz/Herrfurthstrße: there are several great food and drink options in this cool Kiez to explore before or after your ride. The field is not hard to find, just look to the end of the road and follow the huge void.

Cycle onto the field, pause to have a look at the map, or quickly climb the few steps to the observation deck on your left and gaze out at the vastness ahead of you.

Get onto the path, cycling towards the right past the first block of toilets. Follow the path anti-clockwise as it snakes around the perimeter of the park. After a while, you’ll come to the beer garden. There are also several table tennis tables in this shadier part the field, so pack your paddles and balls before you set off.

Continuing anti-clockwise, you’ll see the huge former airport terminal building looming ahead of you as you come to the tennis and baseball area. This building was designed by Nazi architects and completed in 1941. It was an integral part of the Berlin Airlift in 1948-49 and an incredible place to see if you have the chance to go inside. Tempelhof was an operational airport until 2008.

Stick to the path and continue towards to the terminal. Start edging towards the left, get back onto the main path and continue anti-clockwise directly in front of the terminal.

Cross over the two runways, get onto the perimeter path and start cycling east. After a few hundred meters you’ll spot another observation deck on your left.

On the way to the south-east corner of the field, keep your eyes peeled for the skatepark to your left. It’s worth getting off the bike here and checking out local BMX riders and skaters attempting tricks.

Near the south-east entrance to the field at Oderstraße, you’ll find Picnic, a small cafe where you can pick up a cold drink or piece of cake to sustain you through the next part of the ride.

Continue north, with the unique ‘Gemeinschaftsgarten’ (a community garden of improvised hippy-esque allotments) on your right and turn left onto the second runway, cycling all 2km of it. Look out for kiteboarders!

Once you get to the end, turn left and left again and repeat the process, this time cycling west along the parallel runway. Tempelhofer Feld can be very windy, and it’s fun to see how much difference the tailwind (or headwind) makes to your speed on the bicycle.

After you finish on the second runway, continue past the community garden and turn left, eventually exiting the field where you came in.

If it’s Summer, feel free to bring your disposable barbeque and do some ‘grilling’, as the Germans like to say. Just make sure to take your rubbish away with you!

7th March 2018 0 comment
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