What’s the best bike sharing service for me?

Berlin is a city full endless options when it comes to finding bars, clubs, restaurants, parks, and sights to see. This abundance of possibilities even applies to getting around, whether you choose to walk (Berlin is very flat), utilize the strong public transit system or pick up a bike to tour the city. We tested five of the most popular bike sharing services for you.
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by Michael Pieracci

In fact, navigating Berlin by bike can be one of the nicest ways to see the city. Berlin has a well developed system of bike lanes, many of which are separated from cars and integrated with the sidewalk. Pedestrians and drivers are (usually) mindful and respectful of bike riders. If you’re coming to TYPO from outside of Berlin, renting a bike will let you get around very easily, comfortably, and let see the city in this great spring light.


Renting a bike in Berlin is easy. There are a few ways to do it:

TYPO Berlin Bike Sharing2.1

Download: PDF: Overview TYPO Berlin Bike Sharing


Renting a bike from a bike share service

Bike share programs offer a great convenience and flexibility. The first program in Berlin was called “Call-a-Bike” and launched in 2000 by Deutsche Bahn (Germany’s railway company). Originally, these bikes lived at special docking stations throughout the city. Reservations were done through a phone call or by sending a special code via SMS. In the last few years the process has evolved thanks to a lot of little enhancements in technologies as well as the development of apps on smartphones.  Today there are seven bike sharing companies operating in Berlin altogether with a huge inventory of bikes to borrow. These are easy to spot: just looking around you’ll start to notice certain logos and colors on fleets of bikes.

All bike sharing services offer a universal, unisex “city bike” with low top bars making it very easy to get on and off. These bikes have kickstands and some type of rack or basket to hold your stuff during your journey. Setting up your account and making reservations is all done via an app on your iOS or Android device.

There is one downside to bike share programs: sometimes you might not be near a bike when you need one. Maybe you’re in a part of the city that isn’t so busy, or perhaps someone else took the last bike nearby. Don’t worry: just open up the app and walk to the nearest available bike.

Coming to TYPO Berlin on bike means you’ll get to ride through beautiful Tiergarten. The location of Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW) is a bit separated from busier areas of the city where most shared bikes are found. At the end of your day at the conference, open the app and see what bikes are nearby. Given the location of HKW, it’s possible you would have to walk to find the nearest bike.


What’s the best bike sharing service for me?

The biggest difference between bike sharing services are the comfort of their bikes, pricing plans, and how you return a bike. You’ll typically pay 1-2€ per hour with the most basic plans, although selecting a different plan could offer revised prices or certain perks.

Pay special attention: bike sharing services all have a slightly different procedure to return a bike and end a reservation. Some also let you “pause” a reservation when you lock the bike, but still hold onto the bike (while still paying). Take extra time to familiarize yourself with how this process will work. If you don’t return a bike properly and complete the reservation correctly, you might be charged extra fees!


Renting a bike from your hotel or a bike shop

Many hotels have bikes to rent, just check with the front desk to see if it’s possible. Compared to other ways of getting a bike, this can be very convenient, however it can also be the most expensive option.

Bike shops are easy to find all throughout Berlin and most of them offer bike rentals. They usually offer a better price if you rent it for a few days at a time. The team at the shop will get you all setup and ensure the bike fits you properly. Another perk of renting a bike from a shop: it supports local business!

Renting a bike from your hotel or a shop provides a certain peace of mind: your bike is yours. Wherever you travel, your bike is always there waiting for you.


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Any public sidewalk/corner within the Ring: means you can park the bike and end your reservation anywhere within the area of the S-Bahn Ring in Berlin.

Disclaimer: This is general pricing information taken from respective company websites. This information may change at any time. Monotype is not responsible for this information.


☞ Nextbike

☞ Lidl Bike

☞ Mobike


☞ Donkey Republic