King of the runway

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The storm “Niklas” has caused a state of emergency in Berlin. Hurricane blasts reach between 120 and 140 km/h. Trains and cars have been crushed by falling trees. And the TV tower had to be evacuated; the visitors had to take the emergency stairs to the ground – that’s 986 steps!

Naturally I wanted to see what it was like to ride in such weather. Maybe I could set some personal records on the runways on Tempelhof! Unlike yesterday, which was only rain storm, there is also sunshine today. But the weather changes so fast.

My first attempt at the northern runway was wonderful. I quickly reached 60 km/h and pedaled at 115 rpm on the highest gear. Yowamushi Pedal fans would say I pedaled like Onoda Sakamichi (who I don’t really care for) but used the wind like Manami Sangaku (my favorite). I couldn’t keep up that speed though. And I wasn’t even warmed up.

Manami Sangaku

Manami Sangaku

Then came some rain and I took a break before slowly making my way back to the western part of the field. Then I tried the southern runway, but it was nothing like the northern had been. I only reached 50 km/h, though funnily speeding up and keeping at 56 for the last part. Don’t know if it was lack of wind or if the southern strip is simply laid out differently than the northern.

I ventured for a third attempt to see if I would have better luck with the wind. I didn’t. But at 49 km/h the tube of my back wheel burst with a loud bang. I quickly released the wheel and started changing the tube. But then the storm came – really quickly, you can see it approaching on the photo. And it was stronger than I thought would be possible today (cause yesterday was fiercer). The big trash container next to me flew away about 50 meters. Within a minute I was soaked by rain, which gave way to hail. Imagine changing a tube in a hail storm. And to top that, there was suddenly thunder as well. And I was in the middle of the field (you always are when you get a flat). I did the changing pretty fast and pumped up the tire just enough to be able to roll, but then I couldn’t get the wheel on again, the chain was total chaos, and I had lost the feeling in my hands, so I started walking – bike in one hand, wheel in the other. No, that wouldn’t work. The storm subsided a bit and I managed to get the wheel on (how hard can it be). Hadn’t really pumped the tire very hard, but at least I could roll slowly towards the exit. Then the rain and hail subsided as well, and soon it would be sunny again. But I was soaked and swearing and just wanted a warm shower. How could I have been so stupid to go out and ride in the storm!

But then I came home, took the shower and uploaded the ride to Strava. And damn it if I didn’t take the KOM of the northern runway! With over 2 km/h margin; my average speed was 57,3 km/h – number two has only 55,2:

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So now I’m number 1 out of 429 competitors. The record will probably last for quite a while, or at least until the next storm strong enough to cause an Ausnahmezustand. It was worth it after all.

Berlin bike accidents roundup March 2015

Note: This is not a summary of my bike accidents. Thank god. Rather, it covers all bike accidents in Berlin which were serious enough to make it into a public report by the Berlin police. Read more about the background here.

3 March 2015: Car driver hits cyclist on pedestrian crossing

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Male cyclist, 29, crosses Jaffestraße at 22.00. A male car driver, 38, turns left from Messedamm and hits the cyclist on the pedestrian crossing. The cyclist suffered severe damages to the head and was taken to a hospital. (Meldung #0541)

5 March 2015: Car driver hits 79-year-old cyclist on bike path

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Street view of the scene. (Meldung #0555)

Street view of the scene. (Meldung #0555)

Male cyclist, 79, bikes on the bike path along Falkenseer Chaussee at 15.10. It’s the kind of bike path that is painted red. A male car driver, 53, ignores the give way-sign as he wants to turn left into Falkenseer Chaussee. He hits the cyclist on the bike path. The cyclist was seriously injured – among other injuries he broke a leg – and was taken to a hospital. (Meldung #0555)

5 March 2015: Car driver hits cyclist in the bike lane

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Male cyclist, 50, bikes in the bike lane on Tiergartenstraße at 19.35. A female car driver, 51, drives in the same direction on the road. She sees a free parking space and turns right over the bike lane and hits the cyclist, who came up from behind, probably as the car driver was slowing down. The cyclist was taken to a hospital. (Meldung #0558)

9 March 2015: Police causes bike crash, escapes the crime scene!

This one is not described in enough detail to be illustrated: A plainclothes cop was tracking a suspected thief, 15, in his car when he got stuck in the opposite lane when turning left into Boxhagener Straße, probably from Kynaststraße, at 19.45. Meanwhile a male cyclist, 31, got a green light and entered the intersection, but slowed down when he saw the chaotic traffic situation. The cop got his car free and accelerated, thereby somehow causing the cyclist to fall and break his collarbone. The cyclist was taken to a hospital. The cop fled the crime scene, but managed to catch the 15 year old he was tracking. The cop is now being investigated for careless driving and abandoning a traffic accident. (Meldung #0600)

18 March 2015: Car driver hits cyclist in the bike lane

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Male cyclist, 36, bikes on the bike path on Kiefholzstraße at 10.25. As he crosses Südostallee, a male car driver, 48, driving a Ford Transit van, comes from the opposite direction, turns left without respecting the cyclist’s right of way and hits the cyclist. The cyclist got severe head injuries and was taken to a hospital. (Meldung #0665, #0679)

18 March 2015: Drunk driver hits cyclist

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Male cyclist, 39, is biking on Wisbyer Straße at 21.00. A male car driver, 54, waits for a tram to pass. He then ignores the give-way sign, crosses Wisbyer Straße, and hits the cyclist. It’s not clear whether the cyclist was biking in the bike lane, but the police writes that the cyclist had the right-of-way, and the street view also shows the double give-way signs:

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The cyclist got severe head and leg injuries and was taken to a hospital for intensive care. The car driver smelled of alcohol, a breath test showed 0.3 promille. (Meldung #0673)

25 March 2015: Truck driver hits cyclist when turning right

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Female cyclist, 29, bikes on Friedrichstraße. She bikes straight in the intersection of Kochstraße/Rudi-Dutschke-Straße, but is hit by a male truck driver, 60, who turns right into Kochstraße. BZ reported:

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The truck rolled over the cyclist’s legs, so she got severely injured and was taken to a hospital. The intersection remained closed for traffic for two hours. (Meldung #0748)

Non-car-related accidents

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3 March 2015: Male cyclist, 26, bikes on the bike path on Bismarckstraße at 13.00. The bike path is of the heightened kind that goes on the outer edge of the pavement between parked cars and pedestrians. A line of trees divides the bike path from the rest of the pavement.

At the intersection with Am Schillertheater a woman walks into the bike path. (My comment: This happens all the time – it’s the most dangerous kind of bike path for cyclists and pedestrians alike!) When the cyclist tries to avoid hitting the woman, he crashes into a tree.

The cyclist got severe injuries and was taken to the hospital, where he is still (as I write this on 5 March) being treated. The woman escaped the scene and the police are now looking for witnesses. (Meldung #0549)

More non-car-related accidents:

  • 8 March 2015: A female cyclist, 21, biked in the bike lane on Schlesische Straße at 5.40, while chatting to her boyfriend, 25, who rode on his skateboard on the pavement. The cyclist lost control and bumped into a parked car, hurt her head and was taken to a hospital. (Meldung #0578)
  • 24 March 2015: A male cyclist, 62, was found lying on the street at 20.30 after having fallen from unknown reasons. He had severe head injuries and was taken to a hospital. (Meldung #0736)
  • 29 March 2015: A female cyclist, 66, crashed with a male scooter driver, 50, who had the right of way. The scooter driver broke his leg, the cyclist was not injured. (Meldung #0776)

Bicycle theft update

In 2013 there were 26,513 reported bike thefts in Berlin.
  • 14 March 2015: A male e-cyclist, 26, was approached by two men in Kreuzberg at 5 in the morning. When the cyclist stopped, a third man appeared. The three men knocked the cyclist to the ground and stole his e-bike and his phone. (Meldung #0635)
  • 23 March 2015: Plainclothes cops caught a male bike thief, 48, in the act when he stole a bike in Reinickendorf. (Meldung #0272)
  • 25 March 2015: Two men, 48 and 57, loaded several bikes into a van in Prenzlauer Berg. Witnesses called the police, who caught the bike thieves. (Meldung #0746)

Let the fun begin

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It’s gonna be a productive week! No biking. And as you can see, I wake up at eight sharp since I’m so moral.

Swedish media lie about Assange

Swedish news agency TT (and thus most Swedish media) reported yesterday that Assange welcomes Sweden’s decision to go to London to interrogate Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy. The article also claims that Assange has never been interrogated:

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The highlighted part says: “But no interrogations with him have been made.”

This is false. The same news agency reported some years ago that Assange in fact was interrogated, in Sweden by Swedish police:

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Headline: “Assange interrogated by police”. Intro text: “Wikileaks founder Julian Assange was interrogated on Monday night by Swedish police in the police building on Kungsholmen in Stockholm.”

Just another example of the many misconceptions about this case, repeated even by the media.

The facts are: Assange was interrogated in Sweden and then left the country, legally. Then Sweden decided they wanted him back, which is when the story turned into this dragged out cat and mouse game.

Breaking the 200 km wall!

It’s been a great cycling week, I ended up biking over 600 km, which is probably my record, I’m not sure.

The highlight was today, when I was invited by some cyclists on Strava to join a tour to Neuhardenberg. I knew one of them from before: Matthias, a friend from Tempelhof.

The tour was 165 km, but another 10 km on each end to my home made it 185. So I thought it would be fun to reach 200, so I biked some extra streets before going home, thus reaching 205 km!

Wonderful weather; very cold (a few plus degrees, actually dropping to under zero at the end) but glaring sun the whole time. And great company; except Matthias also Stefan (our leader, since he had created the route), Olaf, Rita, Nik and Ralf. And the route was great as well. Stefan had searched out lots of smaller paved paths in the woods. (We also encountered some shorter stretches of the worst kind of cobblestone, but no one got a flat.)

I started out from my home at 10.30 and came back shortly after 21.

We kept a moderate cruising pace – average speed was 28.0 km/h – and made two stops: One at a very nice café just after Buckow, where I had two wheat beers (alcohol free of course!), a sandwich and an apple cake for 10 euro in total. Then we stopped again at the end of the ride at a beach bar by Müggelsee, just when the sun set. I had another wheat beer (4 euro) and we stayed for a while, enjoying the warmth from a hearth. In addition, I ate three bananas and two energy bars. And just before reaching my house, I bought half a chicken with pommes, which I ate in front of Yowamushi Pedal 22. Then I had a pizza. So just maybe I made up for those 5,001 calories that were burned during 7 hours and 15 minutes on the saddle!

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Matthias and I actually have identical bikes (Caad 10) but in different colors. Oh, and Stefan and I have identical softshell jackets. :)

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And here is the route on an Openstreetmap embed:

Noterat om yttrandefriheten

Lite gammalt, men det måste sägas. Att svensk kultur- och politisk debatt nu delas på ett extremt tydligt sätt efter attentaten i Paris och Köpenhamn.

Å ena sidan har vi de som försvarar yttrandefriheten. Som menar att yttrandefriheten inte är en fråga om just det eller det uttrycket – det må vara kränkande teckningar eller kränkande ord – men att vi i väst måste ha rätt att uttrycka även detta, även om någon blir kränkt av det, eftersom vi annars riskerar förbjuda fler och fler uttryck som riskerar kränka någon eller framkalla ett terrorattentat. Vad blir nästa steg om vi låter bli att publicera vissa uttryck? Kan bögkyssar visas i svenska media framledes om de riskerar trampa någon på foten (vilket verkligen inte är långsökt)?

Å andra sidan har vi de som försvarar yttrandefriheten. Men lägger till ett “men”. Och sedan säger: Vad ska det där vara bra för? Man vill fråga Virtanen: Vad ska bögkyssar i teve vara bra för? Vad ska kvinnor som kör bil vara bra för? Är inte alltför explicita artiklar om sex i tidningen “onödigt”? För det är till den dystopin hans logik tar oss. (Vilket för övrigt gör honom till en utmärkt chefredaktör för Bladet inom en inte alltför avlägsen framtid.)

De två viktigaste texterna som skrivits i denna debatt, och som tar upp just denna vattendelare, är dessa:

Faktum är att de uttrycker mina egna åsikter så exakt att jag inte ser någon mening med att fortsätta skriva det här inlägget. Bye bye!

Eller okej då: Tilläggas kan väl att vi knappast ser något stöd i debatten för rätten att publicera tecknad barnporr. Västvärldens version av kränkande karikatyrer, komplett med blasfemilagar och omgärdande tabu. Nej nej, vi är inte aaalls religiösa!

Tillägg: “Nu lever vi visserligen i en tid då friheten att håna andra människor utnämnts till den viktigaste mänskliga rättigheten av alla, men ändå.” Skriver Martin Aagård. Imponerande fingerspitzgefühl i den balansgången. Officiellt försvarar han förstås yttrandefriheten. Men med detta lilla nålstick ifrågasätter han den. Och maximerar på så vis den massa som kan tänkas tycka om honom. (Aagård förekommer även i denna post från 2011.)

Internet – en handbok för journalister

Vi läser om “internet” (sidan 12):

Internet har länge varit populärt bland makthavare och journalister, vilket gjort det till ett strategiskt val för att få spridning på egenproducerat material. Men senaste året har Internet ökat även bland andra grupper och 2011 fördubblades antalet aktiva svenska internetanvändare.

Och vidare om “webben”:

Webben är ett utmärkt verktyg för att släppa in allmänheten på redaktionen, visa vilka ansiktena bakom rösterna är, och för att bygga förtroende och samarbete. Webben är tack vare sin storlek svårslaget när besökarna vill hjälpa till att sprida en story och genomslaget kan bli explosivt.

Ja, så hade det kunnat se ut i Sveriges Radios handbok för sina medarbetare. Men “internet” och “webben” heter naturligtvis “Twitter” och “Facebook” i Sveriges Radios version. Tycker Magdalena Nordin gör helt rätt. Det är ett jävla tjattrande om TWITTTERRRRRR och FEJSSSBUUUKKU när man har P1 påslaget. För att inte tala om SUVÄRIGÄSU RADIO PURÄÄÄÄÄJJ men där är det i alla fall den egna tjänsten man gör reklam för.

Biking in February 2015

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In February 2015 I deliberately tried to search out new bike routes around Berlin, with varying success.

I’ve never biked this much – 865 km – in a February month. It’s been a race against the weather. Sure, I have warm clothes, but I don’t bike in the rain or snow, at least not in February. So I’ve monitored the weather forecast closely and found the perfect sunny holes in this otherwise so gloomy month. Each ride was a victory!

Other cyclists are slowly turning up: I met Martin and Fabian on Tempelhof. The highlight, however, was a sunny ride to Mittenwalde with Paul last Friday on very good roads; my first fast ride (average speed 31.4 km/h including slow roaming) this year.

Some photos: The map below (hard coded, not embedded) shows my rides in January and February 2015, with markers 1-5 where the photos were taken.

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11 February 2015: Street vs bike path on Adlergestell east of Grünau, just before Schmöckwitz. Exact position on the OSM map below!

1: 11 February 2015: Street vs bike path on Adlergestell east of Grünau, just before Schmöckwitz.

2: 17 February 2015 at 13.36 - entering Landkreis Potsdam-Mittelmark.

2: 17 February 2015 at 13.36 – entering Landkreis Potsdam-Mittelmark.

3: Same ride. It was my shorts premiere and I got cold from waiting for the ferry in Caputh when the sun disappeared. (Next shorts ride was on 27 February and then it was perfect.)

3: Same ride. It was my shorts premiere and I got cold from waiting for the ferry in Caputh when the sun disappeared. (Next shorts ride was on 27 February and then it was perfect.)

4: 19 February 2015 - enjoying a quarktasche and coffee before ending the ride to Großbeeren with 5 rounds on Tempelhof.

4: 19 February 2015 – enjoying a quarktasche and coffee before ending the ride to Großbeeren with a few rounds on Tempelhof.

5: Perfect road next to Landstraße 40 between Großbeeren and Güterfelde.

5: Perfect road next to Landstraße 40 between Großbeeren and Güterfelde.

And a some photos that are not on the map:

13 February 2015: A trip to Tegel. These paths are nice in theory, but not suitable for fast biking because of pedestrians.

13 February 2015: A trip to Tegel. These paths are nice in theory, but not suitable for fast biking because of pedestrians.

Same ride, ended it - as so often - at Tempelhof.

Same ride, ended it – as so often – on Tempelhof.

15 February 2015: Dropped a water bottle and it broke. So I adjusted the length of the ride accordingly. (Sunday = no shops open, and I don't enter any shops anyway if I can't monitor my bike while inside.)

15 February 2015: Dropped a water bottle and it broke. So I adjusted the length of the ride accordingly. (Sunday = no shops open, and I don’t enter any shops anyway if I can’t monitor my bike while inside.)