Archive | Biking

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)

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:

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.)

Berlin bike accidents roundup February 2015

Welcome to the first monthly roundup of serious bike accidents in Berlin. Serious as in serious enough to make it into a short press release by the Berlin police. (Those short “meldungen” can be found here.) It’s interesting to see what kind of situations led to the accidents, and whether something could have been done to avoid them. So I’ve made a simple illustration of each accident to make them easier to understand. (Sorry for inconsistencies in style, I just started this and am trying out various ways of illustrating accidents.)

Traffic deaths in Berlin

In 2014 there were 52 traffic deaths in Berlin, up from 37 in 2013, according to the yearly traffic safety report. 31 of these 52 deaths, or 60 percent, were cyclists or pedestrians.

I partly do this out of self-interest. Always when I come upon a notice in the newspaper about an injured cyclist, I ask myself: Could this have been me? Usually the answer is no. These roundups of serious bike accidents in Berlin, where I live, will provide a more substantial picture.

I will only make illustrations of the accidents involving cars – there were four of those in the last month. The post ends with a couple of unillustrated incidents that involved pedestrians.

I could not get access to the “meldungen” from the first week of February. I asked the police if they could provide me with these somehow, for the benefit of this micro research project, but they replied that those reports were not available to me.

9 February 2015: Hit when crossing the street

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Female cyclist, 18, crosses between cars when turning left on Luisenstraße from a bike path at 18.45. She is hit by a female car driver, 21. The cyclist suffered severe injuries and was taken to the hospital. The car driver was not hurt. (Meldung #0333)

10 February 2015: Hit in the bike lane

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Female cyclist, 28, bikes in the bike lane of Friedenstraße at 17.30. The bike lane is of the most visible kind, where the tarmac has been painted red. A female car driver, 62, ignores the give way sign as she turns right into Friedenstraße. She hits the cyclist, who was taken to the hospital with severe injuries. (Meldung #0340)

18 February 2015: Hit by taxi in the bike lane

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Female cyclist, 34, passes through the Moritzplatz roundabout at 21.20. A male taxi driver, 49, ignores the give way sign and hits the cyclist as he enters the roundabout. The cyclist suffered severe injuries to the head and was taken to the hospital. The taxi driver was not hurt. (Meldung #0411)

19 February 2015: 83-year-old cyclist hit by opened car door

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Female cyclist, 83, bikes on Groß-Ziethener-Straße in Lichtenrade at 13.45. An unknown car driver (the police is currently looking for witnesses) opens the door of his or her parked car and hits the cyclist. The cyclist suffered severe injuries to the head and was taken to the hospital. A later press release from 23 February 2015 said she is now being treated for an intracranial hemorrhage and may not survive. (Meldung #0421, #0454)

Bike accidents not involving cars

Except for the accidents involving cars, there were also two bike accidents with pedestrians among the press releases in February 2015:

  • 13 February 2015: Female cyclist, 57, biked on Adalbertstraße, Kottbusser Tor, when a male pedestrian suddenly crossed the street and collided with her. The cyclist fell and suffered severe injures to the head. She was taken to the hospital. The pedestrian disappeared, police are looking for witnesses. (Meldung #0425)
  • 15 February 2015: Female cyclist, 74, biked on the pavement and was pushed to the ground when passing a bus stop with waiting pedestrians at S-Köllnische Heide in Neukölln. She suffered severe injuries and was taken to the hospital. Three young men, 20, 21 and 22, claim the woman tried to hit them with her bike. After she fell, they insulted her. The police are looking for witnesses. (Meldung #0380, #0388)

King of the Mountain – feeling a rocket in my butt

It was windy today: Beaufort 5 or “fresh breeze” (8-10.8 m/s). I rode right into it for about 30 kilometers towards Henningsdorf, only to enjoy going back (a slightly different way) with strong tailwind. Ended up at Tempelhof, where I missed both Simon and Max by just a few hundred meters according to the Strava flyby animation that we watched in frustration afterwards. I’ll include the gps track on an openstreetmap at the end of the post.

Spring is slowly, slowly making its way through the winter. It’s been around 0 degrees on all my last rides. On Thursday Tempelhof was still a dirty pile of wet snow, but today it was totally cleared up. Otherwise roads are in general better than paths this time of year, I’ve realized. Several of the less ridden paths around the lake I circled were covered with ice today.

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Anyway, when you bike, spring is not really a season; it’s a determination.

Managed to get number one on two segments on my way back:

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I don’t check them while I ride, because I don’t care so much about them. But it’s fun to see what you were matched against afterwards. I also got place 2 on one segment, but as all cyclists know, being number two means you lose.

And then we’ll see if the map manages to get the correct locations for the photos:


Edit 1: Where is the map?! For some reason the OSM shortcode won’t display. I even tried to copy the exact shortcode of previous posts with working maps, but they don’t display either. I guess this post is fucked somehow. Never mind.

Edit 2: Funny. Had to make a new post and now it seems to work – though the photos are still not marked on the map.

Biking in January 2015

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Veloviewer provides a beautiful wheel of your activities, and as with all other stuff on Veloviewer, it’s highly customizable through various filters.

So this wheel covers my first biking month of 2015; I biked 393 km (15 hours) spread out over six rides in January.

And yes, I deliberately tried to ride on new streets to make the heatmap more impressive. Only one ride was Tempelhof only, but several rides ended with a few rounds there. Tempelhof is the beating heart of all my heatmaps!

As you can see, my Garmin doesn’t always get the altitude right from the start. However, once started, it seems to be correct relative to the faulty starting point, so the gained altitude (1,299 m in January) should still be correct.

Having a break now obviously, since I’m traveling.

In cobblestone hell

Tried to bike a shorter version of the laktatrunde today, but ended up in cobblestone hell. Let’s see if the geotagging works.

Schönefeld airport.

Schönefeld airport.

Not good but ok.

Rotberg.

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Kiekebusch.

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Miersdorfer See. It was surrounded by a high fence – to stop children from falling in, or because it’s some kind of private lake? I peeked the camera through the steel net.

Zeuthen: Café Dreißig.

Zeuthen: Café Dreißig.

Eichwalde: Seestraße/Friedenstraße.

Eichwalde: Seestraße/Friedenstraße.

Eichwalde: Paved Grünauer Str ends in cobblestoned Bahnhofstraße (though pavements were ok here at least).

Eichwalde: Paved Grünauer Str ends in cobblestoned Bahnhofstraße (though pavements were ok here at least).

Seriously, it was like a maze! And I got cold cause I couldn’t bike fast through it. Though it helped when I realized the Openstreetmap I use in my Garmin actually shows which roads are cobblestone ones.

Note: This post entirely made on my phone, browsastyle.

Edit 1: I realize there are some errors with the automatic geotagging of photos. Some of them display at the correct places on the map, some in the place of another photo, and some not at all. I don’t mind, it adds to the grassroots feeling of Openstreetmap that things don’t work perfectly!

Edit 2: When digging deeper into this, I realized that it was the photos that were incorrectly geotagged! I suspect this is because the GPS in my phone didn’t have time to adjust; I noted recently that the location (GPS) icon blinks for some time before showing steadily on the display when taking a photo. I guess one has to wait for that.

I’ve now retagged the photos through a wonderful little exif editor named pyExifToolGUI, and voilà, they now display correctly on the map! (Since the photos had a time stamp, I could see in Strava Flyby exactly where I was when the photo was taken.)

Only problem remaining is that the faulty tags are still there – it’s the marker which has a lot of shadow behind it since several photos with the same geotag are (still) stacked in one place. It’s only the lake photo that belongs there.

Biking in the cold

So it’s possible to ride in the winter too. I rode 100+ km yesterday – the year’s first longer ride – in temperatures between -2 and 0. The day before I had shopped a softshell jacket, which is amazingly warm – I even had to take off my middle layer 20 km into the ride because I was too warm. I also bought a balaklava to protect my face from the cold wind. So now I look like this when I ride:

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Brandenburger Tor in the background – it still feels historical to casually pass through it!

I went to Potsdam on the west side of Havel, and then back over Wannsee, Zehlendorf, Lankwitz. I wanted to try out new roads, but most of those on the way back were quite bad. So it was nice to end up at Tempelhof where I changed from podcasts to music and rode five faster rounds until it got dark.

And here is the ride, as plotted on an Open Street Map. It wasn’t that easy to get it to work, and I might not be able to do it from my phone; basically you download the ride as a GPX file from Strava, upload it to your own Uploads folder, and then the OSM plugin can use it through a short code. Avoiding Google is a fun challenge!


I also experimented with geo-tagged photos. The three points on the map represent exactly where the three photos below were taken. In fact, I took them partly to be able to see afterwards exactly where I was at a certain point. The bakery for example; when you ride an expensive bike without a lock, and you’re alone, you’re on a constant lookout for places where you can buy a coffee and an apfeltasche (or water for that matter) without leaving your bike out of sight. I found the perfect such bakery, so taking a photo right there makes it easy to get the exact coordinates afterwards.

Here starts a wonderfully empty yet paved road that took me along the Havel through the little village Sacrow and back to the busy B2. I was afraid it would turn into cobblestones all of a sudden, but it never did. Will ride here again!

Here starts a wonderfully empty yet paved road that took me along the Havel through the little village Sacrow and back to the busy B2. I was afraid it would turn into cobblestones all of a sudden, but it never did. Will ride here again!

The bakery, see how perfectly situated it is: I could place my bike just outside the big window, step inside through the door (duh) and watch my bike constantly while drinking my coffee and eating the apfeltasche.

The bakery, see how perfectly situated it is: I could place my bike just outside the big window, step inside through the door (duh) and watch my bike constantly while drinking my coffee and eating the apfeltasche.

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Tempelhof by night. Or well, at 17.16. Still the gates had been closed when I left some 15 minutes later, so I had to use the oneway turnstile, which is big enough to fit my bike.

Why does Eurosport Player suck so much?

Last summer I tried Eurosport Player. I paid 5 or 6 euros for a month, but the service was so bad that I quit my subscription after that. Just a short summary of the little things that annoyed me:

  1. Eurosport only let me use their player on one (1) computer. I have two computers on my desk. I work from my laptop and use the old Imac with its big screen for entertainment. But sometimes I prefer to watch videos on the laptop, for example if I’m going to bed. So I use two computers. Which is hardly unusual nowadays. But this was not allowed. And I’m supposed to pay for this?
  2. Since it’s technically possible, and since I’m paying, it would have been great if Eurosport let me choose which geographical version of their broadcasts I preferred to watch. But they didn’t. Instead I used a VPN to get Roberto Vacchi’s Swedish commentary.
  3. Player was full of bugs and annoying bad energy, such as the volume always starting at the *middle* of the level bar (why!), and that level bar sometimes freezing on screen even when you move away the cursor.
  4. Microsoft Silverlight.
  5. Can’t watch it on my Wii U or PS3, see above. This is true for Adobe Flash too, but SVT Play’s HTML5 video works beautifully on my Wii U, so it’s not impossible.

And those were just my minor complaints! My main complaint was that the video quality sucked like I’ve never ever experienced before in the area of professional networks’ paid services.

It always started ok if I watched the video in the small window in the browser:

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When I chose full screen, it also started in ok quality for the first seconds:

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But then it quickly switched to this quality:

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And from there it just got worse. Now you would say it’s a bandwidth problem. But it worked in the small window; it’s the same amount of data that is transferred, just scaled to full screen! And look how beautifully the ZDF videos play:

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Not to mention SVT Play:

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Meanwhile, this is what I enjoyed on Eurosport Player:

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This is at 17,4 km. Or 11,8. Or something like that.

This is at 17,4 km. Or 11,8. Or something like that.

Sort of reminding of this painting by Monet:

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Look at this beautiful scenery!

Look at this beautiful scenery!

Only 800 meters to finish. This is getting exciting!

Only 800 meters to finish. This is getting exciting! (Note the frozen volume level bar down right.)

So exciting!

So exciting!

OMG I can't watch!

OMG I can’t watch!

Seriously: I CAN'T WATCH!

Seriously: I CAN’T WATCH!

This was Giro d’Italia. As for Tour de France, I watched it on Eurosport on my regular TV with DVB-T in 576 pixels interlaced. Meaning a real resolution of 288 vertical pixels. So it’s very good news that the Tour this year will come back to ARD (the public service broadcaster in Germany), which I can watch in “HD” (720p).

Note: All screenshots in this post were saved in their original size as jpegs with quality 60.

Sunny but cold

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I was planning to join my friends to the “bürgertag” at the old Stasi headquarters in Lichtenberg, but somehow ended up at Tempelhof instead!

Wonderful sunny weather but quite cold, around 3 degrees. And it’s going to get colder from now. My gloves weren’t warm enough. Otherwise perfectly dressed.

Note: This is the second test post from my phone. It’s written from the admin interface in the web browser. I think I prefer it to the app.