You’ll find many a bike in Berlin, like most major European Cities, you quickly realise that the two wheel method of transport is so much more effective than that of the four wheel. The Bicycle, mans best friend, after the dog (but you cant ride him) and of course, there’s the old reliable for so many moons out on the prairie, the horse. But you gotta feed and water him, so you might as well have a needy wife at home screaming for the gas money you worked so hard for!
The bicycle of Berlin comes in many different forms, some small, some big, some that’ll blow your mind with speed… Hmmm!
My mate Mike traded a hefty sum of 35 euro the other day, for his first bike in the Northern Hemisphere. He’s an Ozzy, who’s been living here six months, currently working on an extension of his Visa. Hope he gets it. The cat’s got great licks on the six-string banjo. So anyway, he’s playing with this band. After the jam, he’s asked if he wants a bike. To which he responds in typical Ozzy fashion, “Fuckin’ right I want a bike, been haulin my ass all round town on the U-bahns, dodging fares like a fox dodging the fucking hunt”… “OK, here you go”!!
Mike arrived up to me this afternoon on a Communist Western Berlin two-wheeler with those big handle bars, that even a red neck from the deep south of Carolina would find it hard to pull on. Only thing missing was the usual farting noise that comes out the back. A kind of Brmm Brmm Brmm, with a purposefully appointed breathing space between each Brmm in order for it to catch its breath for the next few meters of flat ground. Guitar on his back, he didn’t give a shite! He had his bike.
An independent man of 27 yrs of age, 3 gears, fast, slow and stop, and of course the old back pedal brake. Designed for those nasty moments of induced courage when you do occasionally feel the trust of down hill force while encountering a gradual decline. Unlike those, one may find in Glasgow. Getting caught on the street of Glasgow during a down pour, you’ll be lucky if your new converse are still on your feet by the time you hit the front door.
A distinct colour of purple with a little bell that tinker would be proud of. Like most German inventions strategically placed between the brake and the middle of the handle bars, meaning, if you do have to ‘TING’ some one out the way, you have to quickly decide. Do I warn them with my ‘TINKER’ bell, or do I slow down. Movement of hands are restricted at high speed remember. Doesn’t sound much of a big deal, but in a split second decision, the usual out come is a TINK… “GET OUT OF THE FUCKIN WAY”… BANG… “IM SO SORRY… WAS THERE A CHILD IN THAT PRAM”. See what I mean? Not good, not good at all!
But of course, we have the back pedal brake. Bless the back pedal brake. The savior of all infants, traveling the streets of Berlin, in their mobile bedroom of everlasting comfort of continental under sheets. Bless the back Pedal!
His guitar on his back, hair loosely blowing in the wind I saw a new, and less spooked Ozzy approach me, conscious of the fact that he had no need to pay the required fare of 2 euro 30 cent for his journey above ground on his new wagon, contrary to that of his travels under ground. Who could blame him? He proudly chained her up, with the chain he had bought for more than the purchased amount of the bike. He stood back and said, “Well, what you think?” To which I rhetorically replied, “Is it in tune?”