Ask any expat who moved to Germany and they will say the same thing…riding your bike in Germany is pretty normal, it is a culture, a way of life, and the most ideal way to move from A to B.
My bike is one of my precious possesion when I came here. I ride my bike almost everyday, in all season. It became my partner in adventure, and my ever-present help!
Even before Corona pandemic, people here in Germany love riding their bikes to work, school, grocery shopping and to their Sonntags Ruhetag rendez-vous!
Once you moved here, definitely the question of getting your won bike will come to your mind.Just like what they´ve said, do what the Germans do and you´ll be okay.
It´s been decades since I ride my bike before I came here. My husband is Dutch so definitely he came from a country where bikes is more than the Dutch population so it never came to a surprise to me anymore.The first country in Europe that I explored was the Netherlands and seeing its capital, Amsterdam, with its beautiful canals…and bikes was quite a shock to me. I have never seen such number…( and styles!) of bikes in my entire life!
Take for example this Dutch Bakfiets.It´s an infamous Dutch legend. In the Netherlands, people use this so they can transport their babies, groceries, furniture, and even their pets altogether in one time in this sleek carriage, all in two wheels.
Amazingly clever right?!
So do as we are doing here in Germany.Cycling system has become smart, intelligent and the most efficient mode of movement.
Here in Germany, well at least here in Bavaria, I have spotted quite few of wooden Bakfiets in the streets ( or maybe they are also Dutch!), because here, we have a modern one. Bakfiets resembles our sassy Anhängers, or a carrier made of aluminunum, with a water resistant covering panels that is attached to bicyles.Trust me, almost 90% ( or maybe more…) of families here have this in their household.This is the perfect way to tag along your kids and toddlers ( from age 1-5) in almost everywhere you go. We used the Anhänger to go to Kindergartens, playgrounds, shopping, Doctor´s visits, and almost anywhere! We put our stuff in the baggage area and off we go!
Riding a bicyle like Germans do is really something to ponder.Watch a Mama with a Kindersitz in front or back with their child always make me smile and leave me breathless.One time, I even spotted a pregnant woman cycling, with her bump in two wheels! I remember my early days here when my child is still small enough to ride at the back of my bike. It´s such a special bond that we shared. Our first Cycling Tour was so memorable as well!
If you lived here,you will be amazed by German technology when it comes to cycling.Although everyone owns a car, still, many opt to ride their bikes everyday. Children learnd to ride their bike at a very young age, it´s a skill they need to master even while they are still in Kindergarten.Come to think of it, I learned to ride a bike I think when I was 12 or 13! Most children go to school by bike or by their Roller.One thing, cycling here has been made safe and accessible even for the little children.When you see children learning to ride their bikes for the first time in the streets, you will immediately smile.
It is indeed a beloved culture.
From reflective lights to side bags and different Anhänger types and cool Helmets, they got it all. Not forgetting their expensive E-Bikes,most older people ride their bikes as a beloved form of exercise and exploring the surrounding nature.
Every weekend, it is very normal to see people in their bikes, cycling, touring, and sweating.They move from one place to another peacefully, safely, and graciously with their bikes. I asked a friend, where are you going in this time of the year, she´s all amde up, clad in Dirndl and heels, and yes, she´s off to a wedding, in her bike!
Most German cities and town have enough Cycling lanes so pedestrians, cyclists and drivers are seapated in their own traffic.But remember, don´t mess with cyclists because you will hear something that you might not wanted to hear.Cycling is a serious business here.You need to stay on your lane and respect others, that´s how it goes.
During Corona Pandemic, public transport became the last resort of transportation. Nowadays, if you are taking a bus or a train, then you need to wear a mask so most people prefer riding their bikes for free movement and avoiding contact.But guess what, sales of bikes during Pandemic soars!
Basically, If you asked me, you can survived in Germany without a car. But it totally depends on your location and where you lived.If your work is nearby to where you live, approx. within 5 km range then its doable, regardless of the season.If schools and Kindergarten is just around the next street , then I think a bicycle is a good investment.Travelling, shopping, and out of- town trips are different issues because of distance and weather concern.
But then here , there´s a saying that goes;
” There is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing”!
Germans have the right clothing gear for every season. I find it funny that that in most local shops, they have different clothing trend for every activity, in a given season. So from cycling protective gears, jackets and everything, they have solution for it.they even have covering for your shoes so it can´t be wet when it drizzles.I have seen it with my own eyes and I believe that here in Germany, what matters is you´ve got to do things as efficiently as you can. Most of the towns are car´free so looking for parking is quite always a hassle. If you can get through the city in your bike then it´s much better! Within 15km distance range, most Germans opt to use their Bikes to travel.Cycling has become a global trend and it continuous to be the number 1 choice of mobility here in Germany.
Living in Germany have opened my eyes for many things. Life in two wheels has became a great lifestyle for me personally, so I beleive that it can work with you as well. Consider this, you can explore your town so well with a bicycle, plus, you have the time in your hands.Daily exercise with your bike and real time sweating out in Summer days is absolutely priceless!When riding my bike, I always have a reason to take a quick break and sit under the tree and just watch life as it goes by.
Here in Germany, there are many Bicycle Flöhmarkts ( Flea market) who sells Bicycles in reduced prices. There are also many models to choose from to suit your preferences.Local shops like Decathlon, Radhaus, Willner Fahrradzentrum,Dropbar Bikes and Coffee and others offers many special offers if you decide to get your very first bike !
Remember, cycling here is not a routinary mode of commuting. Once you get hooked to it, you might explore more your options of travelling by going on Cycling Tours, which we have so much!It is good for your personal fitness and environment friendly so what´s not to love about it?
So when was the last time you ride your bike?
6 thoughts on “I want to ride my bike , my Life in two wheels”
For me (living in Germany for the past fifty years) bicycling is also a great time saver. To stay healthy, I need at least ninety minutes a day of moderate exercise. I also need around ninety minutes a day of transportation time, just to get to places I need to go around the city. With a bicycle, those are the same ninety minutes.
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My last ride was in Hoi An. It was pleasant because cars and motorbikes are banned from going into to the Old Town. But navigation was a bit challenging because the streets were full of people 🙂
I have absolute great respect with people who ride their bike. Not because of the exercise issue, but because it is really a very respectable way of transport. It is easy, safe, fast and uncomplicated.
I am sure you have written tons of stories together with your bicycle and that´s what makes it even more special.
If we don´t ride our bikes now…then when?
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I love the idea of a bike flea market and a bakfiets! Having been abused in Denmark for straying into the bike lane as a pedestrian, I can relate to bikes being a kind of religion in many European countries! It is wonderful for the planet to see some many folks utilizing this mode of transport. It is still a struggle here to get bike lanes constructed, but we also have many hills….
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One of the challenges of being a parent here in Germany is teach your child to learn how to ride a bike, roller, inline skates and everything..It´s really an evolving culture that you feel like you commit a mortal sin if you don´t go by the flow.
But then, I love riding my bike, it´s really fun.
Oh dear. Sounds like quite a bit of societal pressure but good also to hear that it is an enjoyable pursuit for you and something you can do together with your kids.
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