Photo courtesy of BikeSurfBerlin &


BikeSurfBerlin was launched to provide budget travellers with the best means of transport: bikes. Bikes are fun, healthy, environmentally friendly and cost next to nothing to keep in working order. From starting with just three bikes, the not-for-profit service now has 19 bikes on offer for free rental.

The BikeSurfBerlin team is building a bike fleet from donated bikes and sharing them with everybody for up to 7 days (having an established BeWelcomer or Couchsurf account makes things easier).

How it works

  1. Check availability of bikes @ Bike calendars and photos; then
  2. Fill out the BikeSurf request form (available on the website)

Note: As all the bikes are usually booked a week in advance (see calendars), it is best to fill in this form at least 7 days prior to your bikesurf. Do not fill in form if none of the bikes are available for your required dates.

What "bikesurfers" can do in return:

  • Not to wreck/steal/maim others with the bikes;
  • A positive review for the profile, if happy;
  • Any advice you may have to help BikeSurfBerlin on its mission; new locations, etc;
  • Any donation you can afford (money or otherwise);
  • Any bike donation to expand the service; or
  • Any help in maintaining the bikes in roadworthy condition.

Added value

Why dedicate so much time/ cash to this project?

  • Nice contribution to the CouchSurfing/ BeWelcome community and Berlin;
  • Promote a greener, healthier way to travel in a city;
  • Prove that such a trust-based system works and is sustainable; and
  • Inspire and facilitate other people to create their own similar project elsewhere.

Getting Involved/ Contributing

How can I get involved or contribute to the project to help it improve?

Objectives & Challenges

Main aims of project:

  • Show people the wonders of riding a bike in a city with good bike infrastructure;
  • Develop a network/ team to help maintain/upgrade the current system;
  • Inform people how the system works and thereby allow similar projects to start/ grow in other cities;
  • Allow people to rediscover cycling and bring the spirit of cycling back to their hometowns;
  • Demonstrate that such a "trust system" is viable for bicycle lending; and
  • Reduce CO2 footprint, dependence on oil and pollution.

The difficulties to achieve these aims:

  • Over-demand of available bikes;
  • Bike theft - Berlin has a reputation that is deserved;
  • Logistical concerns when fleet of bikes exceed 10 - maintenance of bikes, replying to requests. etc.;
  • Financial viability - reliant on unpredictable donations from those who use the project; and
  • Sustainability - holidays, winter, etc.

Links and other sources