‘VELOBerlin’: Visiting the Mecca for Bicycle Enthusiasts
Entering the premises from Tempelhof Airfield is easier for visitors living in Berlin’s Neukölln or Friedrichshain boroughs. ‘VELOBerlin’, the bicycle trade fair which calls itself a festival, has so much room. Hundreds of previously owned bikes are being sold here.
A few meters away, the racing track around the only remaining ‘Raisin Bomber’ at Tempelhof Airport is a popular spot. Little boys need to compete, and bigger ones obviously too. Some 30 very fast cyclists in those typical rubber suits are racing by several times in a row.
The testing ground is probably the most important place at the trade fair. Here, all of those bicycles offered, including e-bikes, racing bikes, tandems, transport bikes and other bikes, can be ridden and checked. Hundreds of visitors took that opportunity on Saturday.
Safety is an important subject. Right at the airfield entrance to ‘VELOBerlin’, Matthias Cygon stands in front of a large truck and a simulated, deadly bicycle accident. He explains how drivers of large trucks have a blind spot in spite of all the mirrors installed on their vehicles.
As they approach the intersection, the blind spot moves, meaning they can not see cyclists in certain positions, who might be moving towards the same intersection next to the truck. For people on bikes, the safest thing to do is to stay away from trucks, even if this means waiting a bit longer. In reality, bicyclists are being overrun and killed. Awareness is the key to less accidents of this kind.
Inside Tempelhof Airport’s enormous hangers no. 5 and 6, a total of 300 exhibitors are presenting their products. Those include accessories such as bike locks, helmets and that kind of thing, but mainly bicycles in all price ranges. Electric touring bikes start at around 2000 Euro (2233 Dollars or 1728 Pounds), but spending 6000 Euro (6698 Dollars or 5185 Pounds) for a more fancy one is no problem at all, for those who are willing and able to invest.
As Berlin is trying to convert itself from a car city to one which wants to rely on alternative and greener means of transport more, there are just the right products, including transport bicycles, transport trailers for bikes and even rickshaws. For those who want to feel like Dennis Hopper or Peter Fonda, there are chopper bikes.
An interesting, more affordable alternative are the single speed bikes Sven Hoffmann from the Hamburg-based company Bonvelo is trying to sell. For 349 Euro (390 Dollars or 302 Pounds), he is offering nice looking bikes which will not need maintenance for a long time, since they do not have 12 speeds. Therefore they are far less damageable. Single speed bikes are fast enough for cities, Hoffmann assures those who come to his stand. A smart idea.
Yet another trend are bicycles made of wood or composite material. Hans Fokdal came all the way from Copenhagen to introduce these kinds of bikes to ‘VELOBerlin’ visitors. And he seems to be managing to get the attention of many.
‘VELOBerlin’ will be open today until 6 p.m. and on Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.. Tickets are 9 Euro (10 Dollars or 7.79 Pounds)