By Steve Kopandy - Bike Tourist and Cycle Cities Manager
There’s a reason I’ve visited Berlin more than any other city. It has everything, even a beach. But as a cyclist there’s one thing I love more than anything… space.
First time I went there I took a guided bike tour. It was the first one I ever took. We started at the bottom of the TV tower. I never saw a photo of Berlin before I went there. I knew nothing about it. The first thing you notice about Berlin is the TV tower- so a logical tour start point.
It was a while ago, and I remember seeing all the major sites, carving a route through Mitte, Museum Island westwards.
We stopped for a photo in front of the former Palast der Republik. Thinking back at that photo (I should find it and put it on this blog!) I remember all the space there was to cycle. Much of Berlin at the time resembled a large parking lot, as old buildings from the Soviet era (such as the Palast der Republik, RIP) were being razed. Berlin reinvents itself again.
The space we had on this first Berlin bike tour I took over 10 years ago was something I loved about the city. We continued west to West Berlin’s Tiergarten (a different kind of open space) and cycled in front of the Reichstag (again, acres and acres of space). Fortunately these spaces still exist today, and less resemble a parking lot, which I think would appeal more to the average traveller.
Berlin has everything, and a lot of space for cycling in between it all.
And that beach I mentioned- Monbijoupark. I wonder if it’s still there? Let’s not let a city reinvent itself TOO often.
Steve Kopandy spent his 20's taking short trips to Europe from his base in London, and has taken guided bike tours and cycle trips in, and to, many European cities. He works as the Business Manager for London Bicycle Tour Company and started Cycle Cities to give more profile to bike tours worldwide.