Bicycle storage and rentals
After my presentation I stowed my material in a locker in the main station, and the went next door to the bicycle station (Radstation MoBiel), rented a bicycle and spent the rest of the afternoon cycling around the city.
I paid four euros for half a day for a city-bike with seven gears. Their other prices for city-bikes are EUR 7.50 for twenty-four hours, or EUR 37.50 for a week. (These are the 2007 prices.)
Bike storage currently costs EUR 0.70 for a day, 7.00 for a week or 70.00 for a year. This is a very popular service among people who ride their bikes to the station and then go off on the train somewhere. Those who have a chip card can park and pick up their bikes at any time of the day or night, all year round.
Second photo: Bikes in the storage area of the Radstation.
Third photo: Gates permitting 24-hour access.
Am Bahnhof 2, Bielefeld
52° 1'46.19" North; 8°32'1.36" East
Tram lines in Bielefeld
Bielefeld has a network of four quite modern tram lines that run from 4 a.m. to 1 a.m. For much of this time there is a tram every ten minutes on each of the four lines. All four lines stop at the city hall, Jahnplatz and the main railroad station, and then fan out in all directions.
You could take tram number 4 to the university, for instance, if for some reason you didn't have a bicycle.
Second photo: Tram number 3 heading south. From here it will soon disappear into a tunnel to go under the city center and come up again at the city hall and theater.
Third photo: The trams and the bicycle station are run by an organization called "moBiel" which is pronounced just like the normal German word for mobile but spelled a bit differently so as to incorporate the beginning of the name of the city.
Practicing for privatization
Years ago one of my textbook publisher's sales representatives thought he was doing me a big favor be picking me up at home and taking me with him in his car to our presentation in Franken (northern Bavaria).
That was really nice of him except that we got stuck in a huge traffic jam on the A3 and just barely made it in time to do the presentation.
So automobile travel is definitely not an alternative. (Also it's a filthy and irresponsible way to travel, so I wouldn't consider doing it even if I thought it could get me to places on time.)
Fortunately for us non-motorists, Germany still has an extensive rail system that functions fairly well most of the time. But the specter of privatization* is looming, and train service is getting worse as they try to cut costs and reduce personnel to make the system more attractive to private investors.
On my recent trip from Frankfurt to Bielefeld I had two late trains and a missed connection, but with a bit of luck I did arrive in time to set up my room for the presentation at the Mövenpick Hotel.
The return trip was also chaotic, and I get back to Frankfurt an hour later than planned, but in that case I wasn't so worried because I didn't have to be there at any particular time.
Second photo: Inside the main railroad station in Bielefeld.
Third photo: Under the departure board are the stairs going down to the tunnel that leads to the various tracks. At the right there is also an elevator, which by the way is a fairly new addition. For decades these stations only had stairs, and anyone with a disability or just a lot of luggage was out of luck. But that is fortunately changing.
52° 1'44.88" North; 8°31'59.43" East
* The rank-and-file delegates of the Social Democratic Party have just done the entire country a big service by revolting against their party leadership and passing a resolution which should hopefully have the effect of delaying railroad privatization until 2009 at least, if not preventing it altogether.
Like most cities in Nordrhein-Westfalen, Bielefeld has an extensive system of well-marked bicycle routes. At last count they had 360 kilometers of bicycle routes fanning out in all directions from the city center.
Second photo: In one of the many parks.
Third photo: Bike route from the university to the city center.
Fourth photo: Sign on a bike route.
Fifth photo: Bike route signs pointing to the university and the city center.
The main Railway and Autobahn...
The main Railway and Autobahn (highway) from Paris to Moscow pass Lippe about 100 km (65 miles) west of Hanover (EXPO 2000).Express Trains take You to Bielefeld. There You will find Local Trains and Buses to Schoetmar, Bad Salzuflen, Detmold, Lemgo and other Cities in Lippe. By Car take the Autobahn Exit Bad Salzuflen or Lippe. If You are Riding a bus or car, ask to be Dropped off at the Servicing Station Raststaette Herford instead. There is a paved Road to Bad Salzuflen (half a mile to the city bus stop, 2 miles to the center). Do NOT walk on the Autobahn NOR cross the Autobahn. The Servicing Station is a perfect (and The ONLY) place to be dropped off or hitch.
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