It’s taken me this long to get there and I’m very proud of the achievement: after 12 years of going to Berlin about twice a year (20+ times all in all for those who are good at - basic - math), I finally got myself a fine. 125€ worth of it. And for a dumb reason too. Follow these 5 easy steps below if you want the same thing to happen to you:
This is my first time on a bike in a while, and it’s a pretty good bike at that: we got them at a local shop that specializes in refurbishing old(er) bikes and renting them out for a (very) low price to local residents and tourists in the know. Our landlady told us about the place, we likely would have never found it otherwise. But the end result is that I have a very good (albeit older) bike, one that can go quick fast. And Iet’s just say I’m not entirely used to that: my previous bike was so old it was made out of wood (or very near that).
I hurt my left shoulder working out months ago and I’ve been trying to give it a rest last month (it takes a while for me to understand these things), which is arguably not an easy feat when you’re a) on a bike, b) on a fast bike, c) haven’t done this in a while. But that one is mostly on me: I was so obsessed with lifting heavier weights (before the wedding) I got a little carried away. And I’ll end up skinny like the coworking geek that I am by D-Day. So much for trying.
My (soon to be) parents-in-law just got to town and I was meeting them at their hotel. It may be because the wedding is just around the corner and I’m trying to be on my best behavior, or because I’m generally trying to be on my best behavior with my fiancée’s parents, or with anyone related to me or not for that matter, but I was intent on getting to their hotel on time. I’d set the meeting, I wanted to make it. Even if I suspect they didn’t care all that much: they’d woken up at 4:30am to catch their plane and, by the time I met with them, they were still quite visibly in a haze, no matter how much coffee they’d already drunk.
I don’t know the city (or any other city) well. Which means that I have to take out my phone and Google my way to any destination. Even in Paris. Even in my neighborhood. We all have our limitations, f**k you for making fun of me in your head reading this (not that I’m sensitive at all about the topic). Berlin is obviously no exception, especially because distances are pretty long, even if the way to get anywhere is easy (usually 3 lefts and 2 rights).
Which brings us to the specifics as to how I got a German cop to make me pay for 125€ on a bike: as I was just riding down Oberbaumbrûcke and turning right towards the Universal Music building (for those who don’t know, that’s like the equivalent of turning left on Broadway or something), I slalomed across a group of tourists on the sidewalk to get back to the bike path. Thus technically skipping a red light had I done this the proper way, i.e. riding on the street rather than on the sidewalk. 3 to 4 seconds later, I heard a loud German voice behind me and a biked cop showed up: this is not my first time (duh…), I got the gist.
To be honest, this fine is more expensive than our last 3 days’ expenses combined, ice creams included. I’ll just take one scoop next time.
Ok, I won’t. F**k it, let’s live a little.