Being a huge fan of London’s bike share scheme, and even more so of Ravenna’s free bikes for tourists, it is about time to test Berlin based bike share systems.
Nextbikes go on a winter break, Call a Bikes don’t
There are two commercial bike share companies offering bikes in Berlin: Call a Bike & Nextbike. Call a Bike is run by Deutsche Bahn, Germany’s main railway company. Like privately owned Nextbike they offer bikes in all major German cities. Nextbike has even expanded to various countries around the world.
Since Nextbike does not offer its service throughout the winter, I went with Call a Bike for my test month.
Due to owning a Bahncard right now, which allows a discount on train tickets, I also scored a 7€ deal on a month-long contract with Call a Bike.
153 Call a Bike share stations in Berlin
My goal was to ride as many bikes and check in and out of as many stations as possible. The map on the left shows the app screen listing all stations. It also lets you locate the nearest station and shows your walking time in minutes. And it makes it super easy to unlock a bike. You just type in the number of a bike, unlock, and off you go.
I did fight a bit with their locks, but always managed after a bit of pulling on the tube, or adjusting the rear wheel so it would fit. Instructions on the bike’s display guide you through the process of unlocking & locking in both German & English.
Same goes for registering at a Call a Bike terminal. Bring some extra time in order to tap yourself through the process. And have a card for payment ready.
Registration costs 3€ for the basic contract which runs for a year.
A 30min ride is 1€, the fee for up to 24 hours is capped at 15€.
If you’re in town for just a couple of days, and are not planning on visiting more cities, or using Call a Bike there, I’d suggest you rather go with one of Berlin’s bike rental places.
Call a Bike makes a lot of sense for daily commuters, or people frequently traveling between cities, with a contract you can rent Call a Bikes anywhere. For tourists, not so much. Plus – info on Call a Bike’s website is in German only.