copenhagen to berlin - in a box bike
December 5, 2010 4:14 AM   Subscribe

have you ridden the berlin to copenhagen bike trail? how much is actually trail and how much is just the road? how tough would it be to ride it with your daughter in the front of your christiania cargo trike?

*the model i would be riding is the ultra light which is 30 kilos
(66 pounds) plus the weight of my infant daughter.
So it's a heavy bike, but not crazy heavy.
posted by compound eye to Travel & Transportation (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I don't know about the trail, but I wouldn't go any distance with a kid in the front of a Christiana bike. 66 lbs is pretty heavy for a bike. Although I'm not sure what a lighter bike with trailer would weigh, you'd get better gears with a road bike/mountain bike, and also a better/ergonomic riding position for long distances. I think it would be a lot of work to pedal the Christiana.

Also, bike trailers for kids are much safer - safety harnesses for the ones with seats like the Burley.

The picture on the Christiana site is cute but I don't think it's realistic.
posted by carter at 7:50 AM on December 5, 2010

I rode the route in the summer of 2005, as part of a larger tour around Europe.
I don't remember any of it being on "trails" - packed gravel, dirt or otherwise - mostly it took paved side streets, back roads, or separated bike paths than ran parallel to larger highways.

My memory is a little hazy, but there may have been points where the bike route went under a highway or rail line, so you might find yourself faced with a short uphill to get back to grade. There may also have been stanchions at some pathway entrances to keep cars out, but I don't remember them being an issue.

The ferry staff at Rostock were very friendly and accommodating, letting me and my bike on first before passenger cars.

I completed the tour on a track bike with 23mm tires, pulling a cargo trailer. Since I don't remember any complications about the route, you'll probably be fine with your cargo trike.
posted by stachemaster at 8:04 AM on December 5, 2010

I haven't ridden that route, but I have ridden in both Germany and Denmark. In Denmark, there was a fair number of separate cyclepaths, but by no means everywhere. In Germany, there are fewer such paths. Neither northern Germany nor Denmark are particularly hilly, but I wouldn't want to cycle a Christiania bike up any hill, even unloaded. They are, after all, only designed for cycling around Copenhagen. Add to this a heavy load of travel gear plus the extremely delicate cargo of your daughter.

I'm skeptical of touring with so much weight on a bike that's designed for low-speed traffic on separate cyclepaths. You'll inevitably have to cycle in traffic, and that sounds hellish.
posted by beerbajay at 8:15 AM on December 5, 2010

Yeah traffic cycling is not good with these things. They're basically trikes and you steer with a two wheel front axle. You are really steering these things with the handlebars, unlike a bike which steers itself a lot when you lean. The added weight makes stopping harder.

I spent some time in Amsterdam a while back and used generic Bakfiets bikes a lot, which are similar. They were hard work. The Bakfiets site says that they are for errands (and by implication not for touring).

You really need to check out sites that talk about cycle touring with kids.
posted by carter at 8:55 AM on December 5, 2010

Going off carter's suggestion, there is a "with kids" designation for touring journals on Crazy Guy on a Bike if you're interested in checking that out. People with recent journals are likely to respond to you if you leave a guestbook entry with questions about specific trailers or whatnot.
posted by BlooPen at 10:39 AM on December 5, 2010

Christiania bikes are actually getting quite popular in melbourne, (where i am from) specifically for moving kids around. They have seat belts and the current ones are easier to ride than you might imagine, and being aluminium, are significantly lighter than some of the original steel versions. I agree with you Carter that bakfiets are hard work, but having ridden some of the latest crop of christiania bikes I have been really surprised at how nimble they are.

Big Hills are nonetheless still big hills so an electric pedal assist is always a last resort option.
I've done a fair bit of long distance cycle touring, so i'm not too daunted by the physical effort involved, and having travelled around Germany by bike a few times before, I have found that the roads was mostly really good to ride on, nothing at all like riding in Australia or the US.

Still I'd like to dig a bit deep for more info on whether the route really is on quiet back roads and seperate bike lanes, and what the conditions of the unpaved off road parts are like.

stachemaster, i came across a reference somewhere about some parts being unpaved and unsuitable for some bikes, but it's pretty easy for something to be unsuitable for a road racer.

Hills I think i can deal with, muddy single trail would be too much, doesn't sound like i've got too much to worry about
posted by compound eye at 3:23 PM on December 5, 2010

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