Tag Archive for Ralph Durham

My Ride: Bicycling the friendlier streets of Munich, Germany

Unfortunately, there won’t be any Morning Links today; dealing health issues — my wife’s and my own — kept me from being able to work yesterday. I’ll try to make up for it with a special Weekend Links tomorrow.

Instead, we’re reviving the Describe Your Ride feature, now retitled simply My Ride, with a special guest post and videos from Ralph Durham, a longtime friend of this site who moved from the Bay Area to Munich, Germany. And found the riding experience much different from the US.

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Well, hallo from München (Munich). Yes the home of Oktoberfest.

I’ve been following Ted’s blog for several years and always find it enlightening. I said I would send him some pictures and video if he wanted them or had space to put them up.

I’ve been living in München for 2 years now. My wife took a position here and was nice enough to allow me to join her. She just wants ‘ein Hausmann’. I am getting around the town more and more. Getting to play tour guide to guests and the like. We are on the Warm Showers list so have met some very interesting cyclists.

I’m now retired so this will not be my commute ride. Back in the SF Bay area I commuted almost daily the 12 miles into work. I’m no stranger to busy streets and highspeed roads. I must say that the cycling facilities are much better than I’m used to having. It’s not Holland where my wife and I rode around for 10 days a while ago. This is a slightly modified version of the route I took last year to my German classes.

The video(s) linked are from my house to the center of town. Comes in at about 8 Km. One video is 36 minutes long and is the whole thing. I have also cut it up into 3 sections. Just in case you don’t have over half an hour to take from your day at one time. I intend to put up on Youtube the other variations of the route. This route is a bit longer and slower than the fast way. The fastest way for me involves staying on the major streets (with separated bike provision) more than other options. The traffic here doesn’t bother me.

Cycling in München and around is quite easy if you know your way…. Very little is on any kind of grid. The interior, inner ring, is old and there isn’t much in the way of direct provision. The speed limit where there is no provision shown is normally 30 KPH (18 mph). I’m currently getting my driver’s license. The book is thick. The tests expensive. If you fail you pay again. They really pound road safety into you. Residential sections are 30. Very limited signs as to right of way. The rule is car on the right has priority. No signs, car on the right has priority. That goes for cyclists also. If I have the priority position the driver must give way. And they do. Which I found very disconcerting. And they found very annoying when I tried to give the right of way.

Traffic signals. There is essentially no right turn on red. The lights are on the near side of the intersection. If you pull up into the crosswalk and bike lane you won’t see the light. There is no benefit to do so because you can’t turn right anyway. Drivers turning right are expected to go part way around the corner so that trailing drivers can pass and then they can see down the bike path/sidewalk for oncoming traffic. Did this scare me to death a few times? Yes. I’m better at it now but still check to see that they will stop for my priority. If streets are single lane one way normally a cyclist can ride contra flow. This is indicated with a sign just under the don’t enter sign.

Please excuse the audio and video. I’m still dealing with my learning flat line (a curve implies improvement).

Full version:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

This video starts from the entrance path to our apartment. Right away you will see that my street has 2 vehicle lanes, parking, trees and or parking, the bike way, and a sidewalk. Both sides of the road. This in Grosshadern and this planned community of high-rises was built up 1970 and on. Underneath is the subway line U6. U6 runs right into the center of town and up past Alliance Arena, home of Bayern München. When I cross the main street further along there are entrances to the U6. One on each corner plus a lift. Two of the entrances have escalators which can go both directions depending on who gets there first. After the intersection the road necks down because the area is older. We pass another U station then a main junction under construction. This used to be the outer ring road but just after we arrived they opened a 4 Km tunnel, 400 million euro. This must have been fun to install when you had to keep the U6 running while you put in a 6 car/truck lane freeway tunnel. They are changing the top to become more of a boulevard. Then we head on to Partnachplatz another U station.

Here I diverge from the U route. A right left at the station will allow you to follow the U and is more riding beside a busy street. So instead I sweep to the left. I will then turn right at the eastern entrance of Westpark. I missed the turn by one short block in the video but that means I also missed a few hundred meters of cobble stones….. We then go back onto the route that has a bike ped tunnel under the S-bahn. This is the suburban train. This system runs though München but goes further out.

Turn left at the Kirche and follow the route until we join the road I normally take for speed. Through the little park, along another road and then duck under a slow intersection into the space where Oktoberfest is held. Theresienwiese, 4.5 million square feet largely used for the 16 day party. On the left side is the Statue Bavaria. Bronze 60 ft high and you can climb up into her head. Not for hot sunny days… We go along the tree lined side of the park and then turn into the older wealthy central area of town. Past the construction at the hospital and we meet up with Lindwurmstrasse. This street is the one I would take had I not gone on the more scenic route.

This is just before Sendlingertor. It is one of the original gates to the city. The only other original gate is Isartor. There is a crazy amount of construction going on here. S-tor has 6 U-bahn lines, 5 tram lines (streetcars), and 2 bus lines meet here. They are rebuilding and enlarging parts of the underground station and revamping the water handling system. The U-bahns are under the water table. Of course all lines will be kept running. München is 1.5 million people. Though S-tor the U-bahn runs 1500 trains per day, each train is over 300 ft long.

From S-tor we drop into the city center and then to the Viktuelmarkt. Good place to pick up lunch from a variety of vendors or other eating places. This has a biergarten also so you can kick up your heels and meet all kinds of people from who knows where at eh communal tables. The road through is a pedestrian zone so vehicle traffic is quite limited (and just horrible to drive through) I turn at the end and go under the building which was the Altenrathaus (old) to show you the Neuerathaus (new) (1907) City offices and main square. The Glockenspiel is also there. It plays 3 times a day, plus you can go up into the tower. Then I head back and turn to Isartor. If you continue through you end up at the Isar river.

Hope you enjoy the video. If you want more info I’ll give Ted my email and you can contact direct or use his handy comments section. I will be putting more up onto Youtube at some point. I’m hoping to learn how to strip the audio but that might mean buying software other than the camera companies free one.

Keep riding. Enjoy life.

Ralph

As an added bonus, he also shared this short clip riding on a bike and pedestrian bridge suspended under railroad tracks over the Isar River.

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My Ride is about your own experiences riding a bike — where and how you ride, whether good or bad, or anything in between. It can be a rant or rave, a description of your favorite route or how riding makes you feel. And any way you want, in words or pictures, bike cam video, or any other format you think tells the story best, wherever you happen to ride.

If you’d like to share your story, just send an email to the address on the About BikinginLA page.

Let’s keep the conversation going.

Morning Links: Munich bike traffic jam, an award for a recent guest post, and teams announced for this years AToC

Just a couple quick notes before we get started.

Ralph Durham forwards a photo from his new home in Munich, Germany. Note the long line of people on bikes waiting in the bike lane for the traffic light.

And Mike Wilkinson is now an award-winning author for the guest post he recently submitted about OC’s bike-riding Todd the Volunteer.

A while ago my wife and I helped our neighbor buy a three-wheel bike. She hadn’t ridden for decades, but now she loves it!

On a whim I sent her a link to your February 24 blog that included my submission about Todd the Volunteer. She told me she was moved to tears. In fact, she was so impressed that tonight she presented me with a plaque and a pop-up bicycle card.

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The Amgen Tour of California announces the teams that will compete in this May’s edition, including defending women’s champ Megan Guarnier and 2015 men’s winner Peter Sagan.

The Guardian says British Cycling’s reputation is in tatters after a damning report was leaked, accusing it of a culture of fear and dysfunctional leadership.

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Local

LAPD officers issue 45 tickets in just 90 minutes during a Lake Balboa crosswalk sting; police will look at ways to reduce speeds on the Valley’s four most dangerous corridors for bicyclists and pedestrians. Too bad we haven’t been able to get them to do a similar sting for safe passing violations. And not for lack of trying.

Pasadena police are looking for a man on a bike who repeatedly stabbed a homeless man after arguing with the victim’s girlfriend; the attacker is described as a Latino man between 30 and 35 years old, 6 feet tall and 170 to 180 pounds, with very short dark hair.

The San Marino Tribune looks at last Sunday’s 626 Golden Streets ciclovía, which drew thousands of people to the three-mile segment within the city. And probably a lot more than that.

Santa Clarita is still looking for input on a proposed bikeshare program.

The Santa Monica Daily Press quotes one of the artists who helped design the gates for the Ballona Creek bike path as saying there are plans to eventually extend the bike path from Griffith Park to the ocean. Wrong bike path; that’s the plan for the LA River bike path, which will eventually extend 51 miles from the San Fernando Valley to the coast, not Ballona Creek, which doesn’t reach that far inland.

Santa Monica police are conducting another of their periotic bike and pedestrian safety crackdowns today and Monday. Standard protocol applies; ride to the letter of the law until you cross the city limits.

Long Beach’s Beach Streets will hold a community meeting this Wednesday to prepare for the city’s next open streets event.

 

State

UC Santa Barbara students will get their bike path back in a few weeks once the school finishes repairing the sewer line underneath.

Bay Area bike riders are complaining that the Bay Bridge bike path, which was supposed to be open 24 hours a day, every day, is still only open during the day on weekends.

 

National

American bikeshare riders took 28 million trips in 2016, up from just 320,000 in 2010.

Some people just don’t get it. A pair of San Antonio TX politicians want to slice $200 million in projects they describe as pure pork from a bond package, including several road diets intended to add bike lanes and pedestrian safety improvements.

Chicago stats show women are more likely to be killed in bicycle crashes than men. In addition, most fatal bike wrecks in the city occur during morning rush hour, mostly in collisions with large commercial trucks, while only one rider was killed in a marked bike lane.

Nice piece from a Minnesota physician, who says drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians all have to know the rules of the road. And suggests stressed out motorists should slow down and try walking or biking instead.

A Columbus OH newspaper calls on drivers and bike riders to both obey the law and share the road safely.

The lawyer for an accused New York hit-and-run driver says a plea offer of 15 years reflects political pressure on the DA’s office. Not the fact that he’s accused of fleeing the scene after running a red light, veering into a bike lane and killing a man on his bike. Which makes 15 years sound about right.

It takes a lot to forgive the person who killed someone you love. But that’s what a New York man did when the drunk driver who took his wife’s life as she rode her bike was sentenced to up to four years in jail.

A New York woman was critically injured when she stepped out from between two parked cars and into the path of a bike rider. As we touched on yesterday, bikes don’t pose anywhere near the risk to others that cars do. But a bicycle can still do a lot of damage if you’re not careful around them. Or on them.

They get it. An Alabama city has eliminated its requirement that adults wear bike helmets when they ride in order to prepare for a planned bikeshare system. Whatever your opinions on helmets — I never ride without one, myself — mandating their use has been shown to depress riding rates, and has been blamed for the failure of bikeshare programs in Seattle, Brisbane and Melbourne.

 

International

A Vancouver company will fit you with a bike and take you on cycling trip the next time you visit the city.

Calgary bicyclists explain why they ride all winter, even at 20 degrees below zero.

For once, a driver’s claim that the sun was in her eyes failed to sway a jury, as a Canadian driver was convicted of dangerous driving in the death of a bicyclist.

A British campaign is looking to replicate nationwide the success of the West Midlands police in educating drivers on how to pass bicyclists safely; using a mat to demonstrate safe passing distances, they managed to cut close passing offenses 50% in just the first three months.

The city of Punjab makes 90% of the bicycles in India, but doesn’t offer bicyclists a single safe place to ride.

Not only is Bollywood star Salman Kahn one of us, he’s also a bikemaker, as he takes the lane on a Mumbai street riding one of his own company’s six-spoked ebikes.

Evidently, New Zealand is no better at keeping dangerous drivers off the roads than we are. A driver with five major traffic convictions in the last ten years was convicted of critically injuring a bike rider — and still got off with community service and a lousy 10-month suspended license.

Aussie cyclists plan to ride bareheaded to protest the country’s mandatory helmet laws.

A tech writer says China’s bikeshare boom is creating an unsustainable demand for bicycles.

Singapore is poised to be the next battleground for Chinese bikeshare startups.

 

Finally…

Until they make a bike with a built-in keg, this will have to do. No, seriously, keep your head up when you’re riding.

And when a bike rider tells you to back up, listen.

 

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