“A Visitor from Chicago” by Wolfgang Scherreiks


John near Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin. Photo by Wolfgang Scherreiks.

Last month while visiting Berlin I met up with local journalist and bike blogger Wolgang Sherreiks near Checkpoint Charlie, the famous crossing between West Berlin and East Berlin during the Cold War. I interviewed him about the local bike scene, and then he asked me about Chicago. The following article originally ran on Wolfgang’s bike culture website, fahrradjournal (“Bikejournal”). Grid Chicago reader Greg Dreyer kindly translated it from the original German.

Earlier this week John Greenfield from the sustainable transportation blog Grid Chicago came to Berlin for a short visit as part of a two-week trip that also includes stops in Copenhagen, Amsterdam and a few other Dutch cities. Fahrradjournal talked to him about biking conditions in Chicago, the so-called “Mary Poppins Effect” and his first impressions of Berlin.

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Berlin bicycling: an interview with bike blogger Wolfgang Scherreiks


Wolfgang Scherreiks with his English-made Pashley Guv’nor.

It’s ironic that I’ve written dozens of articles about efforts to make Chicago more like the bike-friendly cities of northern Europe, but until recently I’d never actually been to any of these places. Last month I finally made the trip across the pond to check out bike facilities in Berlin, Copenhagen and several towns in the Netherlands.

It was inspiring to experience places where cycling, walking and transit are given at least as much respect as driving, with the result being livable, vibrant cities. During the trip I met up with various transportation advocates and bloggers to pick their brains about the local cycling scene, in hopes of gleaning ideas for Chicago.

Continue reading Berlin bicycling: an interview with bike blogger Wolfgang Scherreiks