sunnuntai 24. marraskuuta 2019

“Those who do not move, do not notice their chains.”

It's one hundred years since the murder of Rosa Luxemburg, the socialist who wrote that title quote.

The quote has its double meaning only in English, not in original German. Sure, Rosa meant ideological chains but I'll turn that into a cycling-related t-shirt print as soon as I'm back home in Helsinki.

I googled about Rosa as I took a tram from Berlin Velodrom to Rosa Luxemburg Platz. Next to it was my destination Rapha Clubhouse, in the Mitte area in the former East-Berlin.

One poster on the wall of the Clubhouse is about Friedens Fahrt, or Peace Race. It fits the place well.

Friedens Fahrt was a major bike race of the socialist countries, from Berlin to Warsaw and to Prague. I happened to listen The Call of The Road today and learned its history as well.

My intentions to visit the Rapha shop were purely capitalistic. I don't need to own any more cycling gear but usually I can't resist getting some hobby related souvenir. This time it was the Rapha Berlin collection cycling jersey and cap.


The spirit of Rosa was more present at SpinningWheelz, a small bike mechanic shop serving mainly the Mitte area bike couriers. I enjoyed chatting with the owner Andreas who seemed to live and breathe the bike courier freedom philosophy.

I had tried to enter Berlin Velodrom track but found the doors closed. From Andreas I learned that it is accessible only for big track race participants, local club (serious) riders and young school kids who have the luxury of visiting and riding there a bit. His own son was about to visit it, too.


The marriage of capitalism and socialism manifests itself finest through the city bike system. The public and private parties of die Hauptstadt have done their best to provide a cheap and sustainable form of transport. 

I didn't qualify for the Velodrom, but it was fun enough to do a small ride on a city bike.

Upon her arrival, Rosa said “Berlin has made the most unfavourable impression on me.” Because of the progress towards gender equality, democracy and empowerment, and because of the strong alternative culture, I bet Rosa would have had a more positive take on this city today.

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