Cycling in Berlin is not always easy. Some even describe it as life-threatening. Cars on cycle paths lead to dangerous turning manoeuvres, overtaking too closely brings sweat to your brow and shards on the road make the street an obstacle course.
But once a month, the city turns into a paradise for cyclists for a few hours. Every last Friday of the month, several cyclists gather randomly at Mariannenplatz in Berlin-Kreuzberg to cycle together. In doing so, the group makes a little use of §27 StVO. It says that “More than 15 cyclists are allowed to form a closed group.” And we are always more than 15 😁.
So if the first one crosses a green traffic light, the whole rest of the convoy can “still” cross the traffic light, even if it is already red. With several thousand participants, especially in summer, this can take several traffic light phases 🚲
For me, the last Friday in March has long been (except in the pandemic years 2020 and 2021) usually the start of the cycling summer. Often the weather is good and people finally want to cycle again.
The Critical Mass goes through half of Berlin: along wide avenues like Karl-Marx-Allee or Unter den Linden, past famous squares like the Brandenburg Gate, along the long shopping street via Ku’damm and Tauentzienstraße where tourists regularly take photos.
A friend once said that the Critical Mass comes across like an Graduation Party on Bicycles: a bit awkward, but everyone has fun and is in a good mood. I couldn’t describe it any better.
Just as a graduation party needs good music, it’s also better to roll through the streets of Berlin with a beat. I put the big box on my cargo bike and turn up the volume 🔊.
After a while, a small driving and dancing troupe gathers and we ride through warm summer nights. Driven by the pulse of the city to the beat of the music….
The last Friday in March 2022 is 25.3.2022. I am very happy to be there again this time and start the spring - as long as it doesn’t rain.