Munich in English - selected by independent Locals for Cosmopolitans, Newcomers and Residents - since 1989

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July 2001

Freedom Trails

Greater munich by bike - you're in the driver's seat

An environmentally- and therefore, bicycle-friendly city, greater Munich boasts approximately 700-km of paths, providing residents and tourists alike with countless bike excursion possibilities as well as the obvious economical and health benefits. An alternative to the confinement of public transportation, cycling offers the opportunity to discover the Bavarian capital, its sights, sounds and scents, at your own pace, stopping where and when you wish—for as long as you wish.
In Munich, it is easy to remain oriented with the knowledge that major streets run either parallel or at right angles to the Isar River. Take along a map for reassurance, though major intersections commonly display signposts for bicyclists. Within the city, most bike lanes are separated from the sidewalk or street by a white stripe, over which many unaware pedestrians wander. Though designated paths offer direct and efficient traveling, always beware a of possible confrontation with “the enemy”—the automobile. An essential bike component is a bell, the most readily understood warning signal to motorized and foot traffic.
Most major sites in Munich—the English Garden, the Olympic Park, Nymphenburg Palace, the Munich Zoo and Bavaria Film Studios—can be reached by bike in 30 minutes, starting from the city’s center. Signposts seen throughout the city—green with a bicycle and arrows directing the way—indicate the distance to these destinations as well as others along the way. Many local bookstores carry a number of good cycling guides containing maps and tour suggestions. Points of interest are highlighted on these, such as historical buildings, and accompanied by a short description. Some tours begin from S-Bahn stations that lie outside of Munich, while others explore the inner city areas, pointing out sightseeing opportunities. For example, from the Pasing station pedal 23 km to Starnberg, then another 15 km to Wolfratshausen and return with the S7 train, or go all out and follow the Isar the challenging 30 km back to Munich. Along the way, you will encounter a couple of muscle-burning hills that require you to rest and take in the stunning views of the southern Bavarian landscape.
Winding along shady trails that weave through the wooded areas of the city’s outskirts, you will see yellow signs for bikers, albeit some are ill placed. It is often the case that when a left turn is required, the signs appear on the left side, not in the cyclists’ right-lane line of vision. Bikers who overlook the signs may end up on a much longer journey than originally planned!
Spontaneous side trips can be an enriching aspect of biking. While en route to a chosen destination, you may discover other enticing destinations listed on the aforementioned yellow signs. Once your “inner explorer” is awakened, you may roll a kilometer too far. If so, watch for signs brandishing the green circle with an “S”—the opportunity to travel home via S-Bahn comes as a relief for tired legs after an adventurous ride. In fact, the MVV (Munich’s public transportation network) makes getting out of town with a bike or back home after a long one-way excursion an effortless shuttle. Marked trails that begin just outside the city limits from S-Bahn stations loop back to the same or another station, enabling exploration of the region in between. A Fahrradtageskarte is valid all day on all S- and U-Bahn and regional Deutsche Bahn trains, though not during weekday rush hours, 6 am–9 am and 4 pm–6 pm.
A short, leisurely ride through Munich or an all-encompassing sightseeing exploration of the region—including the obligatory “pit stop” at a local beer garden—always make for a excellent summer-time activity. <<<

Though the following books are in German, their maps, symbols, photos of points of interest along bike paths, distance charts and concise descriptions of routes make them easy to understand. Das Münchner Stadtradelbuch (DM 19.90) describes 24 tours in and around the city, and includes information on sights along the way. Radeln mit dem MVV (DM 19.90) includes 52 trips within the city and to such neighboring areas as Dachau, Wolfratshausen, Starnberger See and the “Five Lake Region.” The guide includes S-Bahn travel times and ticket information. Krumme Touren (DM 36.80) A fascinating history book-cum-travel guide for those with an above-average command of German. Enjoy a literary exploration of Bavaria, from Aidling to Wang. Fahrrad am Bahnhof, offers information about traveling with a bicycle on Deutsche Bahn trains as well as bicycle rentals at train stations throughout Germany. Downloadable brochure at:, See also our Red Tape column on page 15 for information on bicycling laws and bike safety in Munich.

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