In Heidelberg, Bike Craze is Contagious

Heidelberg Castle atmosphere shot
Heidelberg Castle and the Altstadt historic district, from across the Neckar River.

I’ve reveled in bicycle crazy towns before – Boulder comes to mind – but Heidelberg, Germany, takes cycling to a new level. Senior citizens in berets, ladies in dresses and heels, University of Heidelberg students wearing huge backpacks, dads with kids in baskets or trailer – everyone seems to be on a bike.

University of Heidelberg bike stands
In front of the University of Heidelberg’s iconic library, bikes are jammed in parking spots.

When my husband, Allyn Vonderchek, and I went to Heidelberg for the Sept. 29 weekend, I could tell he was bike-smitten.

Bikes can go so many places that cars can’t – even in the wrong direction.

Bikes go everywhere signs
Notice the bike “frei” sign here. Bike on!

Even espresso is brewed and sold from a bike.

Das Expresso bike

On Sunday morning, though it was chilly and wet, we went in search of rental bikes. We found NextBike, a rental service that’s all over Germany. It reminded me of RedBikes back at home in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Next bike leading lines
Allyn Vonderchek finds a jackpot of NextBikes in Heidelberg’s Altstadt district!

You just go online and download the NextBike app. Of course, they want your credit card info.

Next bike app and contact info
Enter the bike number on the app, or call their service to do it.

They unlock the bike from the stand remotely, and then you must unlock the hefty padlock, too.

Bike lock

Then we were off – riding up and down the Neckar River, with great views of Heidelberg’s historic Altshadt district. And the castle, of course.


After all that biking, the husband thought he deserved a brat. And beer, of course. Prost!

Allyn Heidelberg Oktoberfest Beer

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