Der Unfall, A Bicycle Adventure

Evan Weyrauch
March 13, 2014

It was about 8:15 AM and for once since I’ve come to Berlin, I wasn’t running late. I had enough time for a quick bowl of cereal and then I was on my way to my first ‘official’ day of class (starting at 9 AM). It was a colder morning, but to save time (and attempt to enjoy the cool morning a little more) I decided to ride my bicycle –  it is not really my bicycle, but after talking with Petra (my most gracious host) about biking in Berlin, she offered me her extra bike that was being stowed in the basement.

So I was off! I took somewhat familiar streets until I reached the largest park in Berlin (Tiergarten – literally means ‘animal-garden’ which got its name from the many animals that the kings and nobles used to hunt back when Berlin was a part of Prussia). Instead of going around it – and since I had a little extra time – I decided to cut through the park and ride on the many paths. I weaved my way through until I came upon the Brandenburger Tor (a very large and famous ‘gate’ in Berlin). I passed through and made my way onto Friedrichstrße (literally Friedrich’s street). Unfortunately the construction on the side of the street- sidewalk area- forced me from the bike path to the street along the cars. This was no problem, especially since I had ridden on the streets the day before.

But then a truck opened their door.

Now before you imagine me running my bike straight into the truck door and flying over the handle bars, let me put your mind to rest! It didn’t happen… like that! I saw him way beforehand and, with plenty of foreknowledge, merged my way into the street.

Then Boom! Quicker than you can say, “Evan watch out for that Tram line!” my tire slid into the tram track as easily as a snake sliding back into its hole. The tire bent, twisting the handle bars from my grasp. I immediately spread out my legs in hopes to catch my self and ended up half running while straddling this bike.

Picture that.

The guy from America doing everything he can to keep himself from hitting the street with his front tire in the tram track. I got out of the street (I never completely fell) and was able to bend the handle bars back to original position.

Its 8:50 and I still have time to make it to class. So I do what anyone else would have, continue to ride my bike to class. I realize this odd noise the bike is making as I am riding, but know that Ich muss pünktlich sein (I must be on time!). I walk into class at 8:56 and recount to myself my accident (der Unfall) in the four minutes before class.

Little did I know, that wasn’t even half of the adventure.

Turns out that the wheel-rim bent decently badly and wasn’t entirely a full circle. I manage to look up a street corner for a bicycle shop – Stradler - and after a decent time of my face in the map, I figured out which trains to take to get there. It is located in a part of Berlin called Charlottenburg which is on the West side of the city. The trip out there from IES was a little long (about 30-45 min) and I did not want to haul my broken bike out there. So I decided to take the wheel off and just bring that.

Now imagine that interesting guy on the subway who is carrying around a wheel for some weird reason. That was me, but thankfully, after a lot of searching, I was finally able to find the shop!

With my awesome German-speaking skills- and a lot hand gestures pointing to the wheel I was carrying- I got a new rim and a new tire.

Stadler bike shop. Hands down the biggest bicycle shop I have ever been to.

I then realized the tire seemed a little too big. Not by much, but just enough. I stood outside for a second, after I had paid, wondering if it was worth it to go back in because I knew it would be a trek to get to the shop again.

You know what? YOLO! (for those who don’t know this is an similiar to Carpe Diem but a little less sophisticated)!

I made my way back to my bike which was sitting outside the IES facility with only one tire. Some friends were waiting outside, almost as if they were waiting for me, and helped me change the tire. The brakes needed some adjusting so the thicker tire would fit (and I put it on with the tread facing the wrong way first) but it worked! My 3 hour project was not for nothing!

I started traveling home a lot later than I wanted to (after getting a schokolade [chocolate] croissant with a friend) and started taking random streets home. I guess I should explain this. Recently, to explore the city, I have been experimenting with taking different streets and trains home. It really stinks when it goes wrong because I become hopelessly lost, but when it works, its amazing! Plus the more I do it, the more I recognize all the streets and what-not.

So it’s night time and I find myself passing Der Reichstag (German parliament building). It’s near my house but I’m not exactly sure the exact way. I ask a local Berliner for directions and after an awesome conversation about Chicago, Berlin, and Milwaukee, I head on my way.

I get home safe and sound but because of the day’s events, I was able to see some parts of the city lit-up for the night that I normally wouldn’t have and took some awesome looking pictures.

If you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation where things don’t go your way, don’t get angry and don’t get stressed. Know that things will work out and there are almost always people- even complete strangers- who are willing to help you. Enjoy your day, know it could be worse, and remember what seems to be a setback at one point could turn out to be the reason you found something you wouldn’t have normally.

Enjoy the photos!

Bis Bald

Mexican Embassy Building (colors only visible at night).

Der Reichstag (German Parliament Building)

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Evan Weyrauch

<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">My name is Evan, I am a student at Carthage College in Kenosha, WI, and am currently a foreign exchange student studying in Berlin, Germany. I enjoy writing, reading, and photography. I meaningful experiences and I try my best to show that meaning through my work.</span></p>

2014 Spring
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German Language
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