VeloCity Berlin 2022

Berlin may not be as crazy about bikes as Amsterdam or Münster, but cycling is a big topic in Germany’s largest city. And that despite the fact that the cycle paths in Berlin play in the national district class. It was indisputably overdue that a major cycling event finally finds its way to the city again. The race organized by the SCC, trading under the name “the Velocity – The Power of Berlin”, was a promising start on the course through the city of Berlin on Sunday.

Even if the number of participants (5781 people were at the start) was a little lower than expected, the ambassador of the event was enthusiastic. Jens Voigt, Berlin’s flagship ex-professional cyclist, said at the start of the race: “This is the cycling event that Berlin has been waiting for. And that’s just the beginning, we’re going to turn it into such a great event as the Berlin Marathon.”

The marathon, at least at the top, is an event that also attracts world-class competitive athletes. Things are different at the new cycling event of the SCC, it is a race for all cyclists – and has little to do with what is currently taking place in France at the Tour de France. In Berlin there were no doping tests, but send medals for everyone who came to the finish line.

However, it is now clear that professionals will take part in the event in the near future. André-Odin Reinhardt, Event Manager Velocity, told the Tagesspiegel: “We want to integrate a professional race. And one of the women at that.” Which would then be a small revolution, because in other places it was usually the men’s turn first. The event manager is not interested in the fact that the advance from Berlin also has pragmatic reasons – male professionals (see Tour de France) would hardly get another race integrated into the calendar. “Cycling isn’t just for men, so we’re happy to go this other way.” That would be a special “delicacy” for the spectators, and the pro race will probably take place at the end, because then – according to Sunday’s experience – there will be more fans are on the route. Reinhardt also hopes that this “signal” will increase the proportion of female participants, on Sunday it was around 20 percent.

Despite an envisaged professional race – whether at the top or behind – the Velocity (“we decided on the article ‘the’, but ‘that’ is also possible”, says Reinhardt) should remain the race for everyone. In the first edition, not only racing cyclists but also people on trekking, city and mountain bikes were out and about. Someone even ventured onto the route with a folding bike. Almost all participants stayed within the time limit. There was also a winner: over 90 kilometers, Angelina Bosse (1:57:24 hours) and Max Walsleben (1:56:24 hours) won. On the 60-kilometer distance it was Anna Weitz (1:28:53 hours) and Matthias Bertram (1:18:48 hours). Jürgen Lock, Managing Director of SCC Events, thinks that the “attractiveness of the bicycle, including the mobility it gives” should be “understood as an opportunity”. “The bike can become a trademark of Berlin. With its unique street circuit, Velocity Berlin will gradually develop until it hopefully culminates in our version, a bike week.”

But there is still a long way to go before the Berlin marathon is as big as it is. “That’s not a medium-term goal,” says Reinhardt. In the short term, they now want to see whether it is possible to organize a “bike week” with several events around the race. And of course there is also the hope that the number of participants will then be established “in the five-part range”, says Reinhardt. “But the registration behavior has changed during the Corona period. In this respect, we can be extremely satisfied with the first Velocity.” To be continued, on July 2nd, 2023 and probably on the same route. “The track was good so far,” says Rheinhardt. “We applied for it once, then it will work again. However, we intend to have the route extended.”