With almost every major city in Europe offering endless stretches of road and hundreds of bike tours available perfect for cyclists, visiting Europe on two wheels is an ideal way to see any city on the cheap. Paris and Berlin are two cities well known for keeping cyclists close to its heart. Let’s see how these cities stack up to each other in sheer pedal power!
Cycling in Paris:
Well-known for its dedication to cyclists, but of course Paris is in a country that’s always loved cycling, it’s the home of the Tour de France. The popular Velib, the first city bike scheme in Europe, was introduced in 2007 and since then, the city has been a haven for city cyclists whether they’re trying to beat the traffic to work, or just want to look around at their own pace.
You pick up a bike from one of the Velib stations and for your first 30 minutes of exploration it’s free. They’re more subtly coloured than their counterparts, in keeping with the French-style. There are over 20,000 bikes available 24/7 and 1,800 bike stations located at 300m intervals. Tickets are available as 1 or 7 days, or you can rent for 30 minutes for free as long as you leave a deposit.
The streets in Paris are wide and smooth and you’ll pass the cars and buses as they stick in traffic easily. There are just a handful of cycle routes, travel will be mostly via bike lanes alongside the main traffic. Or, with the traffic using the road markings. Because of the popularity of cycling in Paris, road users will be aware of cyclists. In this bicycle friendly city, there are many cheap Paris hotels and hostels for you to rest your tired legs after a long days cycle.
Cycling in Berlin:
The best thing about cycling in Berlin are the wide streets – Karl Marx Allee is 90m wide. Perhaps the worst thing is that Berlin is huge! But don’t let that put you off – you can easily take shortcuts through parks and you can take them on all tubes and trains as long as you buy a ticket for them.
The government has decreed that all new roads in Berlin must have cycle lanes, and they are dedicated to ensuring the existing ones are updated. Currently there are over 620km of cycle paths and 190km of off-road routes – so you can get anywhere in Berlin on two wheels.
Signing up to the city’s ‘Call a Bike’ scheme will save the pennies over an expensive tour. After registering on the scheme you can unlock the bikes by using a code you’ll receive on request to your phone. Bikes don’t have to be docked at a station, the iconic cycles can be left at a designated area, like next to a crossing, and the integrated lock mechanism keeps them there. Bikes cost 5cents a minute and €15 for 24 hours.
There are lots of great accommodation option in Berlin for the cyclist and for those just wanting a leisurely ride, many cheap Berlin hotels and hostels also offer free bike rental, such as Three Little Pigs Hostel, a former 19th century convent at the famous Potsdamer Platz Square.