My biking experience is far from being extensive, as the first time I managed to ride a bicycle happened in 2017, in spring. First, I took a bicycle for rent at the local bike shop, learnt how to keep balance for a couple of minutes, and then, in two months travelled to Spain, bought a bicycle in Alicante and crossed the entire country until Santiago de Compostella, completing more than 1000 km. After my Camino de Santiago I had an intention to sell my bike again, but it wasn’t easy to part with my first bicycle, especially after such a long trip. I successfully transported it to my hometown and continued using it as the means of transportation. That is why I was particularly delighted, when my hosting organization provided me with the bicycle for the duration of my project.
When I arrived to my new place, the weather could not be better. For the entire week it kept sunny and warm, despite it was middle of autumn. I used this time for exploring the nearby places, surely with the help of my bicycle. Mainly, my town, which is located in the Brandenburg region close to Berlin, is surrounded by beautiful forests and picturesque lakes. Some of the biking lanes lie through the woods, giving perfect opportunities to adore the nature, observe little animals and enjoy the sounds of birds.
Worth saying, that all nearby cities are well connected with the convenient bicycling infrastructure, which makes it easy and safe to travel with the bike. Unfortunately, I do not have helmet or reflectors, but always use light beamers, bell and hand signals. There are several signs, worth knowing for those, who bike in Germany. For example, some lanes are made specifically for bicycles, and they are usually marked with a distinct color (red or green) and corresponding signs on the road. Some lanes are meant for both bicycles and pedestrians, and they are marked by the sign with bike and people on it. If the sign is divided by a vertical line, it means that biking is allowed on the left side of the lane. However, if the sign is divided by the horizontal lane, it means that bikers and pedestrians are to share the street, regardless the direction of movement. Some lanes for pedestrians are also suitable for bicycles, if they are accompanied by the sign “frei” for bicycles. Bicycling follows all the rules of road traffic. It is important to use the lane in the right direction, show the hand signals when turning or changing movements, using lights in the dark periods. Also, listening to the music in earphones is prohibited, as well as driving in drunk condition. The violation of those rules leads to the financial penalty.
Now, as the weather gets worse, I am using my bike only to get to the train station, but longer trips are about to be postponed until spring. Biking is one of my favorite ways to spend my free time on weekends. It is a great possibility for me to discover new places, keep fit and have time for self-reflecting on the new things and ideas, which are happening around me in my project.