Saturday, August 31, 2013

E-Bike battery charging in Baden-Württemberg

Whether it is a sign of the growing popularity of pedelecs or whether it is a clever marketing campaign I am not sure. The VCD is persuading cafes, hotels and restaurants in the Southwestern German province of Baden-Württemberg to offer free e-bike charging. The VCD is a German club offering the help that motoring clubs offer such as breakdown assistance, but also campaigns for environmentally friendly means of transport, such as cycling, trains and buses. It argues that  cafes and the like need not buy expensive charging equipment, a short row of plug sockets will suffice. Cyclists should bring their own charging leads. The argument is that there is no cheaper way of persuading a cyclist or even a group of cyclists to stop for another half hour and drink another apple juice. The sticker below is available free of charge from VCD offices in Baden-Württemberg. It is interesting that the local energy supplier in the neighbouring province of Rhineland Palatinate is offering a similar service. (See this blog 6 July 2013)

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Are cyclists intelligent?

I have long thought that cyclists are super intelligent. If you have ever tried to follow one of the older signposted German routes you will realise that cyclists need super powers of observation to find ten pence piece sized marker logos or superb powers of deduction to work out which way to cycle at unmarked junctions. Matters have improved over the last few years, I must admit. My faith in our intelligence is however shaken occasionally by idiots who insist on cycle touring wearing heavy walkers' rucksacks, even when their bikes have luggage carriers. I read a book some years ago where the author claimed that pannier or saddle bags were not "cool", neither is a sweaty overloaded back. Recently I have begun to have more doubts about our intelligence after reading an advertisement in the cycling press which suggested that this company's bags were also e-bike compatible. Fortunately nobody has yet to bring out bags built especially for e-bikes.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Bike Hire in Gothenburg

Gothenburg has a city bike system:

Styr & Ställ 

Styr & Ställ has generated a half million bicycle trips in the city of Gothenburg since its inception in August 2010 . 

You will need a 3 Day Pass or a Gothenburg City Card to use the bicycles. If you only want to use bikes now and again, or you are a visitor to Gothenburg, choose a Three-day Pass.

The first half hour of every ride is always free, regardless of the number of trips per day. You can borrow a bike 46 times in one day, completely free as long as each bike ride does not exceed 30 minutes.

If you would like to borrow a bike for longer than half an hour, find a station, set back the bike and after two minutes, a new bike be can be borrowed. However, if you do not do this, the second half hour costs 10 SEK, the third costs 20 SEK and then it costs 40 SEK per half hour.

Season: 1 March-30 Nov

In other words one use them to get about the city, but they are not intended for use in the countryside. There is more information under

Rent a bike


Chalmersgatan 19
411 35 Göteborg
Tel. 031 18 43 00

Opening Times
Mo-Fr. 10.00-18.00
Sa/Su.   Shut

Standard 3 speed lady's bike
Price Adult Children Trailer*
24hour 200 SEK 100 SEK 100 SEK
3 days 400 SEK 200 SEK 200 SEK
1 week 700 SEK 300 SEK 300 SEK

Child seats and helmets for a fee of
50 SEK for all rental periods.

All bikes are equipped with locks and lights

*Cargo trailer or child trailer

Friday, August 23, 2013

Ghost riders and other problems

One of the problems we have as cyclists are other cyclists who break the traffic laws for their own convenience,  e.g. riding through red lights, on pavements and footpaths, on roads when there are adequate cycleways adjacent to the road and riding the wrong way on cycleways. I was horrified to see two cyclists riding around the Viernheim bypass on Sunday morning. There is an excellent, well marked, fast cycleway adjacent to the road and under German law what these two did was illegal and considering that the speed limit on the bypass is 70kph, dangerous and daft. I always feel that some cyclists feel as they are travelling in a non-polluting manner, they are on the moral high ground and can do what they want. These characters do themselves and the rest of us cyclists no good at all. They provide ammunition for the protagonists of the Lycra Lout ideas. They put themselves at risk and when they cycle on a cycleway on the wrong side of the road they put other cyclists at risk.
Geisterfahrer (Ghost Rider) is the German for someone cycles the wrong way along a cycleway. I was pleased to see that ADFC Lübeck has started a campaign to illustrate the dangers of this practice. There is a film on YouTube about the opening demo ( The film is in German but language is not needed to understand the film. It might be a source of ideas for local groups in other countries. In fact, having cycled round Mannheim on Wednesday afternoon, it would be a good idea in Mannheim too !

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Eurobike and trends

The Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, Angela Merkel is going to open this year's Eurobike Cycle Exhibition in Friedrichshafen on 28 August. This either highlights the importance of the bicycle industry and cycling in Germany or is an attempt by Frau Dr. Merkel to improve her green credentials, depending on your political leanings. There are national elections shortly in Germany.
The Eurobike exhibition is one of the most important bicycle exhibitions in the world, if not the most important.
As usual the bicycling press has been busy rehashing press releases listing the new products at the show. There is a definite trend towards cycle gear that does not resemble the modern brightly coloured wind and waterproof cycle clothing. It is tweedy or in colours that blend in withe the surroundings. I am not impressed by this trend towards cycling gear that does not look like cycling clothes and costs an arm and a leg. I have no desire to mention names in case I receive a letter from Messrs. Sue, Grabbit and Run. It would appear to be de rigueur to wear clothes off a bike that look as though they were made for cycling. I cannot understand why. OK I can see that it is not the best of taste to go to a funeral wearing skin tight lycra shorts and a maillot jaune, but what is the objection in cycling into work wearing a cyclist's wind- and waterproof jacket, then hanging it up during the day. I left a sports coat at work for several years that I put on when I needed a jacket in meetings. Sorry guys, it is a fashion and I am too old to be bothered with such fripperies.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Bicycle rental in Malmö, Sweden

Malmö is a good place to cycle with generous bike lanes and clear signage. You can visit places like football star Zlatan's house, Limhamn's limestone quarry, Turning Torso and the lookout at Öresund Bridge. We were very impressed by the Tourist Office who were very helpful, even though we arrived one minute before closing time.
Some of the Metro stations have bike and ride facilities: These services include lockers to lock up a helmet and clothes, toilet and shower facilities, bicycle pump and service space where the bike can be repaired or washed, and real-time information on trains and buses. Very impressive! (The website is in Swedish but you know how to use Google Translator, don't you?)
The companies listed below are the ones we have found, but there may be others and this list is not a recommendation. Check the bikes before you sign a contract or cycle off.

Hire companies


Norra Vallgatan (the boat sightseeing terminal, near the Central Station)
Hire Charge ca. €20 per day. No children's bicycles. From the photographs the bikes appear to be solidly built city bikes. 
Season April to October.

Cykelkliniken (A Bike Shop)

Tygelsjövägen 155
218 71 Tygelsjö (South of the city centre)
Tel: 040 - 611 66 66
Mobile: 0735 - 34 49 32 (The website is in Swedish, so use Google Translator or the like.)
Children's & adult bikes during the summer season.
Bring identification and deposit (150 SEK).

Rental per day

1 cycle (24 hours): 120 - incl. bike map of the city of Malmö
1 bike trailer (24 hours) 90: -
1 bicycle saddle bag / Day 20: -
1 child seat with a high back / Day 40: -
1 helmet / day 10 -

Rental per week

1 cycle / week 600: - incl. bike map of the city of Malmö
1 bicycle trailer / week 450: -
1 bicycle saddle bag / week 100: -
1 child seat with a high back / week 200: -
helmet / week 50: -

24 "wheel size with two rear wheels and one front wheel. 3 speed with foot and hand brake.
Extra wide sprung saddle.
Rent only weekly / monthly.
690 :-/ week or month in 2150 :-/
NOTE! Limited, book well in advance!

Travelshop AB 

Eurolines Skeppsbron 2 211 20 Malmö Telephone: 040 – 330 570 Openimg times: Mo-FR10-18, Sa 10-15, Su 11-17. Next to the Tourist Office opposite the Central Railway Station.

Price half day
Price whole week
3-speed bicycle
             120: -
           150: -
              650: -
              300: -
           350: -
             1250 -
Bicycle - children nobility incl. helmet
              150: -
           200: -
              850: -
Christiania Cycle
              300: -
           350: -
             1500: -
DSB 7-speed bicycle
              200: -
           250: -
             1100: -
Bianchi 24-speed bicycle
              300: -
           350: -
             1500: -

Saturday, August 10, 2013

De Facto Mandatory Bicycle Helmet Wearing in Germany?

If you cycle in Germany you can choose whether you wear a helmet or not. There is no regulation about helmet wearing while cycling. It is recommended, but not mandatory. In fact less than 20% of German cyclists wear helmets. The minister responsible for road safety indicated in the past that he would prefer this to rise to more than 50%.
A provincial Court of Appeal in the northern province of Schleswig-Holstein recently laid a down a decision in June, that may well put pressure on cyclists to wear a cycle helmet. A cyclist was passing a row of parked cars when the driver of one vehicle opened the door causing the cyclist to fall which resulted in a traumatic brain injury. The cyclist had to spend two months in hospital and spent some time in rehabilitation. The car driver's insurance company refused to pay all of the costs of treatment and the case went to court. The judge ruled that the cyclist should pay 20% of the treatment cost. He argued that a cycle helmet would have added additional protection in this case and since helmets are cheap it is sensible to wear a helmet. This decision was very controversial and the ADFC (German Cycling Club) is supporting the cyclist concerned to take the case to the Federal Supreme Court. If this decision can be quoted as precedent then it could mean a de facto cycle helmet law mandating cyclists to wear helmets. When we know more we will report.

Friday, August 09, 2013

Cycling on the left

The Germans like everybody else in continental Europe drive on the right. In the past as a Brit living in Germany I was subject to a certain amount of banter about why we drive on the left on the island. Reputedly the reason why much of Europe and the USA drives on the wrong side of the road is due to Napoleon. The story goes: Before the French Revolution the peasants in France walked on the left and the gentry rode in carriages on the right. Napoleon ordered his troops to march on the rights, because according to him what was good enough for les aristos was good enough for his lads. The Yanks took this idea over after the War of Independence grateful to the French because they had helped the colonists.
However my gut feeling is that the folk memory harks back to pre-Napoleonic times, especially amongst cyclists. I have noticed that if cyclists meet on cyclepaths they often pass starboard (right) to starboard. Germans walk with their bikes on their righthand side. They stick out into the road when pushing their bikes. This would be a safe option if Germany drove on the left.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Bike Hire in Stockholm

Stockholm has an excellent spread of cycle routes and is a great place to cycle in summmer. The City Bike system also given below seems to me to be complicated and I would rent a bike for a day or so from one of the other two companies given below.

Stockholm City Bikes

Buy a three-day (for 250 SEK) or season pass at the Stockholm Tourist Center or on the web and borrow a bike from 110 sites around the city from April to October for a maximum of three hours before picking up another bike. The three-day pass is also available at many of the hotels around the city. (


Kajplats 18
114 56 Stockholm

Tel/fax: 08-660 79 59
Mobile: 076-22 676 83

Open: Every day (May - Sept) 10:00 - 18:00  

Citybike - Nishiki Swan 
A low frame and the easily adjustable handlebar. The bike has 7 gears, a handbrake and a back pedal/coaster brake. 

Citybike - Nishiki Hybrid 
This is a city bike with a little more durability on tougher roads. It has 7 gears, a hand brake and a back pedal/coaster  brake. 

Citybike - Monark Nordic Tradition 
A classic city bike with 3 gears, hand brake and a back pedal/coaster  brake. 

Mountainbike - Gary Fisher 
100mm travel suspension fork from Rock Shox and a 24 gear Shimano deore shift system. Hand brakes only. 

Tandembike - Monark 
Our tandems are equipped with 4 gears, double hand brakes and back pedal/coaster brakes.

24 hours
2 days
3 days
4 days
5 days
6 days
7 days
1st hour
Per hour

Prices are in SEK (2013)

Bike Sweden

T: +46(0)8-403 07 520
Narvavägen 13-17
114 57 Stockholm
Open hours:
May-September everyday 10-18
Oktober-April, call to book

A: City Bike
B: Mountain Bike
C: Trekking Bike
D: Children's Bike
E: Follow me
F: Child's seat
G: Trailer
H: Road Bike
I: Electric Bike

Price Group








3 hours 150 190 80 50 150 190
Whole day 190 240 140 50 190 290
24 hours 240 270 180 80 250 350
2 days 350 430 280 100 350 500
3 days 500 590 380 120 500 700
4 days 575 750 480 140 575 850
5 days 650 860 550 160 650 1000
6 days 725 950 600 180 725 1150
Week 800 990 650 200 800 1250
Extra days 50 90 40 20 50 90
Month 1850 2700 1320 300 1850 2950

Saturday, August 03, 2013

A new cross country cycle route in Germany

Planning cycle routes in and around Heidelberg, Ludwigshafen and Mannheim is complicated, because the area is at the junction of three German provinces: Baden-Württemberg, Hessen and Rheinlandpfalz. I was therefore pleased to read that the Verband Region Rhein Neckar (VRRN - Regional planning organisation) had set up a new cycle route from Lamprecht west of Neustadt an der Weinstraße to Osterburken in the Odenwald through Ludwigshafen, Mannheim and Heidelberg. Its symbol is a yellow square. The route runs for 171km across the region. It is not a new route, but older routes have had additional signposting and have been incorporated in the route.
I was less than pleased to read that although the section east of Mannheim is finished, the western 55km will be finished next year in 2014. It would appear that road signposting is very tightly controlled in Rheinlandpfalz. It does not give one much hope of utilising the Dutch Knooppunt system in Germany. This is a real pity.

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