For walking along? It seems not. The safe zone for pedestrians, post delivery employees and pushchairs have become quite unsafe, or at least according to some social media platforms. I have to agree with a lot of the comments, however it is not the rule, rather the exception.

When I first visited Berlin, my partner explained a lot of cycling rules and penalties to me. She had learnt them at a purpose-built Fahrradschule when young and again when she learned to drive. I regularly saw people stopped by the police for infringement of these rules and therefore respected them myself. It was stressed that driving laws and cycling laws combined would help both engage safely. Something has driven these two further apart but the finger can be pointed in many directions.

Plenty of criticism is levelled at the car driver but some cyclists need to look at themselves. I am a two wheeled tour guide, so I have to observe what I am doing (and leading my guests to do) all the time. I am aware that there are cycle-haters out there who point a camera at you in order to try to catch you out so I adhere to the cycling laws on a daily basis. Those that don’t are really giving all of us a bad name.

You know who you are. You blitz through that red light ‘because you know the sequence of the traffic lights’, not a good example to tourists or younger people.

You wear lots of Lycra and expensive kit and denounce everybody in your path who is not as fast as you and may actually be ‘enjoying their cycle ride’.

You have bright lights on front and rear and reflective wear but you ride on the footpath along an empty, safe side road that is not even cobbles , blinding innocent pedestrians.

You are young, carefree and enjoying a ‘summer in Berlin’. You are not confident on a bike and you are not from mainland Europe. You ride on the footpath on a Felt Beach Cruiser, using your mobile device in one hand, with no lights ‘because everybody else does’.

You are a ‘once-warm, now-cold fast-food’courier. Anywhere with enough space for your two wheels (pedal, electric or petrol scooter) is game for you. An open door into a hof? Ride on through..

Respect is not earned for the majority by the rules and etiquette being ignored by the arrogant few. Perhaps a humourous campaign from ADFC drawing inspiration from the clever BVG taglines would work. Using a typical Berliner schnauze put down against persistent offender groups may encourage others to adopt and adapt.

It is still a much safer and much quieter capital city than most and the sides streets can be virtually empty on a daily basis. If you don’t like the big roads and cycle lane highways, don’t use the footpath alongside, choose a side street, you might discover something along the way…

Es begann in Tadcaster.

Vor einem Jahr bekam ich einen Anruf von Phil. Dein Trailer ist fertig Paul, komm und hol ihn ab, wenn du kannst.
Das Wetter war typisch Januar, eisig kalt und nass. Ich wollte das abholen….

3 Monate vor diesem Foto hatten wir unseren Richardson Double Horse Trailer von Alex in Tadcaster gekauft. Yorkshire als funktionierendes Fahrzeug. Ich hatte es zu Phil gebracht, um es kugelgestrahlt und vorbereitet zu bekommen.

Unser Plan war es, den Trailer in eine vollmobile Reisebügel umzubauen, um ihn bei Hochzeiten/Feiern und Veranstaltungen einzusetzen. Unser Ansporn war nicht nur die Aussicht auf ein komplett selbstgemachtes Rollgeschäft, sondern auch eine Diskussion mit ein paar Tischgästen bei einer Hochzeit in Freiburg(DE) im August 2017, die die Idee so sehr liebte, dass wir eine Buchung hatten, bevor wir überhaupt einen Trailer hatten!

Die Hochzeit sollte im Juli 2018 stattfinden, dem heißesten Sommer Europas seit Jahren. in Süddeutschland….
Wir lebten noch in Lincoln, England. Ich war eine selbständige Bauherrin und meine Partnerin Janine schloss ihre Doktorarbeit ab.

Wir mussten durchdrehen!

The Other side of (the) Tracks

Recently returned from England, I felt compelled to share my observations. The very current issue of sustainable transport links affects us all and there are different approaches in different countries.

Firstly, travelling from the aiport, it was immediately apparent how bad the roads are in England. They were in quite bad shape when I moved to Germany and have got worse in the last two years. This has a double negative consequence. Cyclists cannot/will not use the roads as the potholes and road edges collapsing into drain covers make it too dangerous. Secondly, due to these defects, drivers buy SUVs and more off-road type vehicles because lesser cars suffer catastrophic suspension damage on a regular basis. Local Authorities spend more on damage compensation and road repairs than they do on sustainable transport planning.

The lack of clean, fast and integrated public transport means that there are few alternatives to the vehicle and there are not enough bicycle superhighways between the larger conurbations, especially in the South East where traffic is at a standstill most of the time. Ironically, old branch rail lines between smaller towns which were axed in the 1960’s (like the West Berlin Tram network), have been repurposed as safe, flat cycleways, often in association with Sustrans to form part of the national cycle network.

These do provide a safer leisure experience for all and can be virtually empty on weekdays, however they can end suddenly where an old Victorian bridge or viaduct may have been which has been demolished, or more often, where new houses and roads have been built without incorporating the cycle path. Long ago in the heyday of rail travel in the UK, these branch lines served as a nationwide network of suburban links and cars were often only used for ‘outings’. This enabled locals to have the freedom of the roads on foot and on bike.

Cyclists and pedestrians living in Berlin can count themselves lucky. Yes, I understand the arguments about the unsafe lanes/junctions/attitudes of drivers, but until you have been forced into a gutter and blown a tyre or bent your rim out of shape, you should enjoy what you have in this non-crowded city. True, it is not as perfect as the Netherlands or Danmark but those countries do not have any car industry propping up their eceonomy, they have alternatives to cars and have a positive enough national mindset to move on.

One of the reasons I decided to move to Berlin was the great experience of cycling and walking I have had over the past 10 years coming here. It is one of the better capital cities for green space and its public transport system is good and cheap (and electric). Try getting on a dirty diesel train in England with a bicycle! And my one stop, 6 minute, 8km train journey from Harpenden to Luton airport cost €10! One way, no bicycle.

Wall Fragments

The first time I noticed that pieces of the wall had been used for something other than ornaments outside hotels around Berlin and elsewhere was whilst cycling along the Konigsweg behind Dreilinden. There are several old border buildings/ruins in the woods there and the famous pink tank memorial on a plinth. Closer to the Kleinmachnow road is a service yard with sections of former wall being used for sand and gravel storage.

It is very practical as the cantilever principal design means that the more weight that is added to the ‘foot’ piece, the more load can be put against the upright section. I did read that this design , which mostly was used on the Western facing part of the wall and topped by a half pipe, was to prevent vehicle ramming. The principle that if the wall was knocked over , the ‘foot’ section would lift the vehicle wheels off the ground.

There are still plenty of old GDR roads around, on the Mauerweg, in the forests and in smaller old villages. Very annoying for cyclists to ride on due to the constant bumps every metre!


Berliner Mauerweg

Berlin und Mauer, für immer synonym, und obwohl die Stadt seit 30 Jahren vereint ist, kann man in diesem Jahr die gesamte Route zu Fuß oder mit dem Fahrrad auf dem “Berliner Mauerweg” verfolgen. Er ist etwa 160 km lang und umgibt das gesamte Gebiet, das zwischen 1961 und 1989 West-Berlin war.

Ich habe mich kürzlich entschlossen, die Strecke mit dem Rad zu fahren, und habe dabei ausgezeichnetes Winterwetter und einige wirklich angenehme Abschnitte genossen. Die letzten beiden Extremsommer haben auf einigen Asphaltabschnitten zu Baumwurzelausschlag geführt, aber nicht so schlimm wie ich es in Brandenburg erlebt habe. Mitten im Winter hatten Stürme einige Äste und Blätter auf einigen Teilen des weniger befahrenen Nordabschnitts hinterlassen, aber im Allgemeinen ist es eine gute Route für die meisten Radfahrer oder Wanderer

Mit Ausnahme des Stadtteils (Pankow bis Alt-glienicke) werden Sie überrascht sein, dass dies die Frontlinie des Kalten Krieges war und dass die alliierten Streitkräfte Frankreichs, Großbritanniens und der USA hinter der Linie zwischen der Berliner Stadtgrenze und dem Land Brandenburg eingepfercht waren. Es ist eine Strecke mit Koppeln, Heideflächen, Wäldern, Steinkirchen, verlassenen Eisenbahnlinien, Seen, Flüssen, Naturschutzgebieten und preußischen Bauerndörfern.

Da Berlin ein so großes Stadtgebiet ist, bietet es eine Vielzahl von Lösungen für den öffentlichen Verkehr und das S-Bahn-Netz ist perfekt für die Planung Ihrer Route. Ein besonders angenehmer Aspekt ist die Fahrt mit der Fähre. Ja! Das Boot ist die einzige Möglichkeit, die alte Grenze über den Wannsee, die aus Bojen und Patrouillenbooten bestand, zurückzuverfolgen, und der Fahrpreis ist in der Zone B des BVG-Netzes enthalten. Von Kladow auf der anderen Seite ist sie jedoch bis zu einem gewissen Grad “off grid”, da die weite Ausdehnung der Havel diesen Teil des Westens zwischen den Übergängen Glienicke Brucke und Spandau trennt.

Wenn Sie einen begrenzten Aufenthalt haben und das Beste aus einer Mauerweg-Tour herausholen möchten, verwenden Sie einen Führer, laden Sie eine Route von einer App wie herunter oder besuchen Sie die Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer und suchen Sie das Informationszentrum auf, um weitere Ideen und Karten zu erhalten. Ich würde die Stadtroute von der Bornholmer Straße bis zur Kreuzberg-Arena für alle wichtigen Sehenswürdigkeiten und ikonischen Bilder vorschlagen oder den Rundweg vom S-Bahnhof Wannsee, der mindestens 4 wasserseitige Biergarten-Haltestellen für Erfrischungen hat.

Berliner Mauerweg

Berlin and Wall, synonomous forever and although the city has been unified for 30 years this year, it is possible to trace the entire route on foot or by bicycle on the ‘Berlin Wall Way’. It is around 160km and encircles the whole of what was West Berlin between 1961 and 1989.

I decided to cycle the route recently and enjoyed excellent winter weather and some really enjoyable sections. The past two extreme summers have led to tree root heave on some asphalt sections but not as bad as I have experienced in Brandenburg. Midwinter storms had left a few branches and leaves on some parts of the lesser travelled North section but in general it is a good route for most cyclists or walkers.

With the exception of the City section (Pankow to Alt-glienicke) you will be surprised to think that this was the front line of the Cold War and that the Allied Forces of France, UK and USA were penned in behind the line between Berlin City limits and State of Brandenburg. It is a route of paddocks, heathland, woodland, stone churches, abandoned railway lines, lakes, rivers, nature reserves and Prussian farming villages.

Being such a large city area, Berlin offers a lot of public transport solutions and the S-Bahn network is perfect for planning your route. One partucularly enjoyable aspect is the Ferry ride. Yes! Boat is the only way to retrace the old border across Wannsee which consisted of buoys and patrol boats and the fare is included in Zone B of the BVG network. From Kladow on the other side however is ‘off grid’ to a certain extent as the wide expanse of the Havel river separates this section of the west between Glienicke Brucke and Spandau crossings.

If you have a limited stay and want to get the best from a Mauerweg tour, use a guide, download a route from an App such as or visit the Berliner Mauer Memorial site and find the information centre to get further ideas and maps. I would suggest the City route from Bornholmer Strasse to Kreuzberg Arena for all of the major sites and iconic images or the circular route from Wannsee S-Bahn station which has at least 4 waterside biergarten stops for refreshments.

6 Days Berlin

An appropriate time to start my blog. I have just finished 5 days of  cycling the Berliner Mauerweg (the route of the Berlin Wall 1961-1989) in 5 sections of around 30km each. I followed this with my first visit to the Velodrome Berlin in Friedrichshain and enjoyed the famous 6  Tage Berlin cycling event. I was glad to be in the warm watching other people pedalling hard after my freezing bike rides.

All my tours are recorded and shared on with photos and tips. They are accessible to most cyclists, being more about enjoying the ride and route rather than running down the clock. It is one of the things that attracted me so much about Berlin, its proximity to the countryside and large amounts of green space and open air in which to cycle.