City: Berlin, Germany
Project to promote cycling among all those visiting Berlin without the rental fees. "Two wheels good, free wheels better!"
Photo courtesy of BikeSurfBerlin & thelocal.de
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.
How it works
- Check availability of bikes @ Bike calendars and photos; then
- 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.
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?
- Donate online via the website donate button or at www.betterplace.org; or
- Simply contact the team by email: bikesurfberlin à gmail.com to donate parts and/ or time.
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.