One look at the streets in Berlin and it is obvious that biking is a facet of the city’s culture. Rain or shine, winter or summer – there are always people on the roads cycling. Biking not only benefits the environment by eliminating CO2 emissions but it also benefits the cyclist’s health. It is a low-cost form of transportation powered by the most wonderful form of renewable energy: your legs!

If you use your bike as a form of transportation because it is fun and a good form of exercise then guess what? You are being accidentally sustainable. If you are not already using a bike as your main form of transportation, or if you don’t even own a bike, do not worry. Plan A is here to get you road ready!

Buying a Bike

If you are in the market for a bicycle be on the lookout for gently used options, as this can give new life to a perfectly good bike. Stores like BIKEFIX offer buy and sell programs where you can sell your used bike to the store, or buy a used bike from the store at a discounted price.  Be on the lookout for friends, friends of friends and friends of family friends’ friends. There’s always someone selling a bike somewhere.

It is useful to know a few parts of your ride. Below is a diagram detailing the parts of a bicycle. That’s what makes the bike work (or sometimes not).

Bike parts

What is a bike made of? (Credit: Plan A)

Travelling by Bike

Once you have secured a bike that matches your needs and your personal style, you are ready to hit the asphalt. At first, it can seem intimidating to get on the road and peddle in the big city. Bikers in Berlin must follow the same rules that cars do. The city is grided with well-marked bike lanes that can get you most places whilst maintaining a safe space between you and traffic.

When you encounter an intersection remember the “left before right” rule. This means that all motorists and cyclists must yield to traffic coming from the right side to avoid an accident. Remember to use your arms as turn signals. This will alert other bikers and motorists of your intended direction.  

Read also: 7 Excuses to tell your Kids on Why You Didn’t Act on Climate Change

Plan A intern Megan Barclay chooses biking as her main form of public transport. For her, it is a matter of convenience. “Cycling means both saving money and being totally in control of your travel – no relying on public transport that could be delayed,” she says.

Berlin is a wonderful place to start biking, Megan points out. “The city is really great for facilitating cyclists and has made me continually choose my bike over public transport.” To make her point, she created a video that goes into more details. 

Repairing a Bike

Should any part of your bike sustain damage, identify what parts are broken and determine whether you can fix them yourself, or if you should seek outside help. As for many other things, your friend Youtube can walk you through the art of performing bike maintenance. We recommend checking out the Global Cycling Network, and Bikeradar for expert advice on bike maintenance and step-by-step repair videos. Bike stores such as The Gentle Jaunt, known for its laid back atmosphere and leisurely approach to biking, Radspannerei – known for its specialization in steel bikes, and Stadler are full of nice real-life people ready to help too! No more hesitation, take the most righteous and enjoyable path of them all: the bike path.

Bike repair toolkit by Plan A

Every apprentice’s toolkit (Credit: Plan A)