In Berlin about 500 thousand of its 3.5 million inhabitants use the bicycle as a daily means of transport. Except during the winter, of course. Here the cycle lanes are many and the streets are wide enough for car drivers and cyclists to coexist peacefully. Our website went out on the streets to know some of these mates from the cycle lanes and to know a little bit more about their bikes and their lifestyles.
I met the actress Ann-Julie at the exit of the supermarket by chance. I was completely intrigued by her bike. The story behind the funny vehicle is as interesting as its owner.
One day Ann was in a park with a group of friends and an old lady approached them, offering her bicycle for only 10 Euros. Ann didn’t have the amount with her, so she suggested that they should go together to the nearest bank. Detail: Ann cycled with the woman sitting on the back of the bike. The deal was closed and now the actress moves everywhere on her two wheels. There is almost no space left for further adornment on the bicycle but Ann always finds space to add another one.
Jonas Bonnetta is a Canadian musician and composer who was visiting Berlin when we met in the Mitte district. Like many tourists, he did most of his tours around town with a rented bike (they can be easily found at major tourist spots).
From a distance Jonas’ style may look ‘hipster’, but the buckle of his belt shows that the reference of his style is more to ‘folk-rock’.
Joschua Tonay is one of the many taxi-bikers that work in the city. We met when he was in his first week of work. His ‘office’ in this case is nothing less than Brandenburg Gate. The standard tour he offers includes the main tourists attractions and it means to him one hour of cycling.
His clients are transported in a kind of Indian Rickshaw, or rather a Berlinda – term that describes a horse carriage produced here from 1670 onwards and which was named after the city of Berlin. To Joschua the work as a taxi-biker is rewarding because it is a way for him to combine a hobby with a job.
This group of young cyclists, meet in a square in Mitte every Friday after work. Parallel to their jobs as Fahrradkurier (Bicycle courier), they all have activities or hobbies related to sports or to arts.
Gordon Teßmann works as a delivery boy for more than two years now. His bike is full of stickers and one of the wheels is decorated with flyers and some of his favourite images.
He dresses himself with high-tech fabrics to optimize his performance while cycling. His passion for bicycles can also be seen on the amount of tattoos he has.
Holger Matthias also works as a delivery boy and during a very busy working day he is riding his bike up to 9 hours. His single indulgent act may be the comfort of the anatomical leather saddle of Brooks England.
His bike is one of the most beautiful, fully in silver color and with various customized items that were chosen by Holger himself.
Jim Pirus also began working as a delivery boy about two years ago.
Another collector of stickers, his bike is full of them including one that supports the vegan cause – being himself a vegetarian.
Feliks Aleksander is so connected to his bike that he decided to bring it from Frankfurt by train under the care of his own hands. Now it is his main working tool.
Feliks is also a photographer, producing a very interesting work about Berlin.
Useful links for those who are planning to ride in Berlin:
Photos: Hermano Silva © Berlin, 2011