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September 2002 - Nr. 9


The Editor
Antje berichtet
Alpine Fest
KW and Beyond
Hier O.K. Berlin!
Siegfried & Roy
Minister David Turnbull
Dick reports...
Sybille reports
Tourists safe
Rent a Bike
In the Flood's Wake
Automarkt Stabil
Fast 1000 Tote
Cook with Sun

Call-a-bike in Berlin

  1200 Rental Bikes Stand Ready At Train Stations, Main Attractions and Intersections

Toronto – Germany’s 40,000-kilometre network of bike trails has just received capital competition: Since the beginning of August, DB Rent, an affiliate of the country’s railways, DB GermanRail, has distributed 1200 rental bikes in Berlin. They are ready for riders within the city greater core, as defined by the urban S-Bahn train ring, parked at train stations, main intersections and such attractions as Potsdamer Platz and the Victory Column in Tiergarten park.

Anyone can rent one of the sturdy bikes, for just a short ride or a whole day’s excursion. To pick up a bike, choose one whose rear-wheel lock displays a green light, phone DB Rent’s toll-free number indicated on the lock, and receive a four-digit code from a voice-activated computer to open the lock. At the end of the rental period you simply lock the bike to a stand or a traffic sign and sign off with DB Rent by phone, indicating the drop-off location. Registration is easy by phone once in Berlin, at 0800- 522-55-22.

A 15- Euro ($21) deposit paid by credit card will give you up to a total of five hours of rental time taken in short, discontinuous trips, or one continuous rental period of 24 hours. For 80 Euros ($112) you can rent the bike for a whole week. The base tariff is 5 cents ($.07) per minute, or 3 cents ($.035) if you prepay 20 Euros ($28). Charges exceeding your deposit will be charged to your credit card at the end of the month.

As in Canada, biking in cities is becoming increasingly popular in Germany, as much for dodging traffic as for recreation. In fact, cities and even small towns boast extensive webs of bicycle-only paths for the sportive and ecologically minded. Munich has had a call-a-bike programme for two years. Since DB Rent took over the project in 2001, it has grown to 9500 customers, increasing by 80 more every day, with rental bikers taking an average of 600 trips per day.

In Berlin, DB Rent plans to increase its rental bike numbers in coming months to 2000. As an affiliate to DB GermanRail, DB Rent sees this as a break-even, not a profit proposition. The project is an extension of long-standing GermanRail programme that provides rental bikes at hundreds of train stations across the country for day trippers or visitors exploring Germany by train. For bikers with their own wheels, most trains in Germany (except the high-speed ICE and some other express trains) have special cargo compartments to transport bicycles from town to town.

To explore Germany’s countryside from the height of a saddle, the GNTO guide called Discovering Germany by Bike presents more than 200 clearly marked long-distance trails forming the 40,000-kilometre path network across the country. It highlights 48 of the most attractive routes and regions, organized from north to south – from the shores of the North and Baltic Seas to the picture-perfect peaks of the Bavarian Alps. Different from Canada, most country bike paths in Germany keep cyclists safely away from heavy-duty traffic on car-free trails meandering along the riverbanks, coastlines or lakeshores, through lush meadows and vineyards, quiet villages and small towns.

For more information on Berlin, please visit the Web site www.berlin-tourism.de or contact berlintourismpr@aol.com.

For more information on exploring Germany by bike, contact a travel agent and ask for packages offered by Toronto tour operators Active Journeys, or visit the German operator Velotours’ Web site www.velotours.de

For a copy of Discovering Germany by Bike, please call the German National Tourist Office’s toll-free number, 1-877-315-6237, or contact the office by e-mail, gntony@aol.com. An interactive version of the manual is also available on GNTO’s Web site at www.germany-tourism.de.

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