Friday, July 13, 2012

Fahrradsternfahrt Or That Time We Biked on the Autobahn.

On June 3rd we decided to do the Fahrradsternfahrt (literally bike star drive), which ended up being one of the most fun things I've done in Berlin so far. My friends Nicole, Marion and I biked about 25km through Berlin through major roads and on the Autobahn (highway), through a tunnel and all places that were normally dominated by cars, but were shut down for us during the ride. We took the shortest route, but all the various routes led to an environmental fest in the center of Berlin by Brandenburger Tor going from the very ends of the U-bahn (subway) lines out in the country (see the map of all the routes above). There was even a very ambitious group who left at 3am and biked all the way from Poland! 

Afterwards there were a bunch of speeches and stands, where I overheard that there had been 150,000 participants and that this is currently the biggest bike demonstration in the world! I really thought it was just going to be a small critical mass type thing, but as we rode we picked up more and more people and by the end we were swarms of bikes filling up the highway in every direction! 

For those who don't know, Berlin is a very bike friendly city, so much so that I was able to overcome my fear of biking around cars, buy myself a bike and have since become bike obsessed. I'm still not hardcore enough to fix my bike myself, except for something like putting air in the tires, but I think I've become bikesexual. I've started checking out bikes instead of the people riding them. My first thought after I bought my bike, having only ever ridden a bike around my small neighborhood when I was a child, was "Oh fuck, now I have to ride it home, maybe this was a bad idea." Now I'm considering buying a guest bike so I don't have to take the U-bahn when I have guests over! 

 Anyway, while there are many bike lanes all through Berlin separated from the street, there are still areas and streets that leave something to be desired. One example was leaving the bike happiness zone of our big bike ride on the highway to being thrown into the traffic in the center of Berlin with no bike lanes and construction forcing us to share tiny single lanes with cars on the way to get Mexican food after our trek. Okay, let's get to the important! 

Nicole and I biking on the highway.

The beginning of our journey at Alt-Tempelhof!

Here is the group in the beginning.

About to bike onto the highway and into the tunnel.
We've collected more people! We had to wait like 45 minutes for them to clear the highway at this point.
Biking through the highway tunnel! Blurry, but awesome!

And back into the light!

Biking on the highway!

Marion can bike without hands. I am jealous.

Fellow highway bikers!
There you have it! This next picture was from the Environment Festival and is completely unrelated, but here is a woman milking fake udders for your enjoyment...

So come to Berlin and bike with me!

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