20 things I wish car divers knew that can seriously affect a cyclist’s safety

I’m sure we all know the following scenario: You’re riding on a street, minding your own business, enjoying the sun and the bees and the birds. Suddenly - and seemingly out of nowhere - a car passes by so close that your heart skips a couple of beats.

You try to keep your cool, but in your head, a voice is raging: “Why? Why did that person have to do that? Why risk someone’s life who’s a lot more vulnerable on the street?”

Honestly, I think that a lot of the times, people just don’t know any better - especially if you don’t ride a bike or you only get to ride on very safe cycling paths outside the city. Those are no real-life conditions to create awareness in car drivers. A lot of them can’t seem to imagine how many things cyclists have to pay attention to if they want to stay safe on the street. For them, we are a nuisance. For us, it often is a matter of live and death - as dramatic as that might sound.

I’m definitely not trying to make excuses for car drivers here; there have been many cases where some ignorant jerk cut me off or just didn’t look and also didn’t care. Many times have been very close passes, and I’m by no means a reckless cyclist who provokes those kind of incidents.

Riding in Berlin and LA not only taught me that I have to be tough, fearless and careful at the very same time, but also to accept that car drivers oftentimes don’t have the same perception as we do. They don’t have to watch out for all those things that we have to develop a radar for. 

So, here’s my TOP 20 list of things that we as cyclists have to pay attention to when sharing the street with cars (of course, that list depends on the area you ride in; countryside probably won’t check all the boxes compared to a city like Berlin).

Top 20 things I wish car divers knew that cyclists have to be aware of

#1 - Potholes and cracks in the road

Classic. I still can’t bunnyhop, so those are a real hazard for me. Luckily, I got familiar with almost every pothole on my way to work.

#2 - Broken glass

Love it. People seem to be doing a really good job in breaking bottles on streets, bike paths and literally everywhere else.

#3 - Pedestrians trying to walk onto the street

They stare at their phones. They don’t look left or right. Sometimes, they use the bike lane to wait for cars to pass so they can cross the street. And a lot of the times, they seem to grossly underestimate a road cyclist’s speed.

#4 - Cobblestones

At least Berlin is full of them. Most of the times, they’re manageable. Sometimes, though, the cobbles are quite far apart from each other or really big, so you risk slipping or getting stuck in between with your skinny tires. Nightmare!

#5 - Tree branches, stones and other stuff

Especially after storms, construction work or similar events, these can be scattered everywhere and become a big hazard for cyclists.

#6 - “Right before left “ (Germany)

I don’t know if you know that, but in Germany, there’s a traffic rule that says that on intersections without a specific sign (“Vorfahrt”) the person who arrives at the intersection to your right first has the right of way. These intersections can come up quite unexpectedly sometimes. Okay, I admit it, cars have to deal with them, too. But cars oftentimes don’t see cyclists as easily as the other way round.

#7 - Car doors opening

The worst! Ever since I heard of someone being doored and ultimately thrown under a truck, I’m super anxious about something like that happening to me. Here’s the thing: If I ride close to the cars, I can easily be doored. If I ride more inside the street to leave extra space, cars might pass me too closely. It’s a lose-lose kind of situation.

#8 - Unleashed dogs

Owner is chatting away with someone while precious doggo is looking around for great smells and the perfect pee spot. And let me tell you, some of them don’t like cyclists at all.

#9 - Low flying birds

Imagine you’re riding fast and you feel safe, and suddenly there’s this stupid sparrow flying in your way. Almost-collisions with birds are not rare at all. Malicious attacks by birds on your head can happen occasionally, as I got to experience recently; so please wear a helmet at all times.

#10 - Bees and bugs

Bugs, well, you just accidentally swallow them and they’re basically out of sight, out of mind. But bees? Imagine getting one of these into your mouth, eye, or under your helmet! You can’t even predict them, either. Ask Mitch, he was stung by one during a sprint down the street only recently.

#11 - Other cyclists

Riding on certain streets in Berlin can feel like unexpectedly joining a giant group ride. A lot of the times, cyclists here have either really shitty, broken bikes that make all kinds of disturbing noises, or they don’t know how to give signals to other cyclists when they’re trying to pass or make a turn. They like to ride in the middle of the bike path, too, so you can’t pass them… and a lot of them jump red lights just to ride like a snail in front of you once you catch up.


#12 - E-Scooters

Don’t even get me started on this topic! I’m grateful that those e-scooters are not as omnipresent in Berlin as they are in LA, but they are a huge hazard. They can go quite fast, and most people don’t know how to properly use them. I definitely like to keep my distance whenever I spot someone on a scooter. 

#13 - Confused tourists

Oh, aren’t they a joy to be around, parking their suitcases right in the middle of the bike path, looking at maps and brochures or fighting over which direction to go? My advice: Invest in a really loud bell.

#14 - Dangerous winds/crosswinds

Crosswinds can be fatal if you have a light bike and a car or truck passes by; which obviously can increase the wind even more. Car drivers are rarely affected by strong winds, while cyclists have to be ultra careful and keep a tight grip on their handlebars.

#15 - Roadkill

Not my favorite, especially if I’m responsible for it (don’t ask). Luckily, it’s not a super regular thing to encounter on a ride and thus technically not a major hazard. But imagine a car that doesn’t keep its distance and thus forces you to ride over one!? Ugh!

#16 - Driveways

Obviously, another classic that we need to keep an eye out for. Wouldn’t be the first time that someone leaving a driveway overlooks a cyclist.


#17 - Suddenly ending bike paths

Happens in Berlin all the time. You’re riding along, and suddenly: Uoah, where did that path go? And why does that sign say “No bikes”? Where the heck is that… Oh, on the other side?! Where was I supposed to cross? — Streets never end abruptly. Why bike paths?

#18 - CARS

Any additional explanation needed?

#19 - Sudden flats or other mechanical problems

Nobody likes the sound of a blown tire. Especially not when you’re going fast and you’re right next to a car.

#20 - Vehicles blocking the bike lane

I saved my personal favorite for the end - vehicles that get too comfortable on the bike lane. I will never get why people do it, and I get very aggressive when they do. Sometimes, they drive out of a driveway and stop right on the lane, see you coming, and back off. THANKS to those, honestly. Most of the times, though, they look you right in the eye and stay exactly where they are.

It’s not as bad as it sounds, though!

Alright, I hope this didn’t sound too much like a rant, because that’s not the kind of message I wanted to throw out. 

My main point is that we as cyclists have so many things to be aware of during our commute, and we’re constantly in danger of getting hit - even if we pay full attention to our surroundings. I know that car drivers won’t necessarily read this blog post and suddenly change their behavior (wishful thinking, ahoy!) but at least it might give a general idea of how tough it is to ride a bike in a world where cars still “own” the streets.

Did I forget anything on that list? Feel free to share your experiences with me under this blog post, on Instagram or on my Facebook page!

Why you shouldn’t feel guilty for skipping a couple of rides


I’m sure we all know the struggle: It’s been raining for days. You come home from work tired and stressed out. Your apartment is a mess and needs urgent cleaning. Plus, you want to spend time with your partner or your family.

And the bike? It’s just standing there, staring at you. If it’s in your shed or the garage, you know it would be staring at you if you were in the same room with it. 

The result: You feel guilty for not getting on the bike more often! You know it makes you feel good once you’re out, but something’s holding you back anyway. Oftentimes, this can lead to anger and frustration that sends you into a vicious cycle of „I want to ride“, „I need to rest“ and „I’m just being lazy and I need to push through“.

Personally, I have experienced two different kinds of guilt if it comes to not riding my bike: Guilt for prioritizing other things over cycling and guilt for not being persistent, strong, healthy or disciplined enough. Today, I’d like to talk about those two troublemakers!

1) Guilt for prioritizing other things over cycling

This kind of guilt is the „justified“ kind. It’s a clear warning sign that a shift in your priorities is happening, and that you need to act now if you don’t want your passion to slowly fade away.

Need an example?

You sit at home and prefer to watch Netflix instead of kitting up and hitting the road. There is no obvious reason why you shouldn’t go on a ride, but you prioritize an activity that will later make you say “I should’ve gone cycling instead”.

If that happens a lot more often than you‘d like it to, it’s probably a good idea to rethink your priorities and how important cycling really is for you.

2) Guilt for not being persistent, strong, healthy or disciplined enough

In short: For being a cry-baby that should go out on a ride, no matter what, because that’s “what real cyclists do“. This kind of guilt is the toxic one that you should avoid at all costs.

It often starts like this: You look at your Strava stats. Then you go on Instagram and scroll through the posts of your followers. They’re all out on their bikes, having a blast and getting stronger, faster and more professional than you with every passing day. Meanwhile, you sit at home on the couch and rest, while you could actually be on the bike.

But here’s the thing: Having to take some time off training because of specific circumstances doesn’t make you less of a cyclist! I know that you know that, but the little devil on our shoulder tends to disagree when we’re weak and vulnerable. If your life gets turbulent and you force yourself to do and achieve even more, instead of taking a break and giving it a rest… now, that will put a ton of pressure on you and your passion for cycling.


I massively suffered from this kind of guilt about a year and a half ago, and it nearly broke me: Mitch and I always trained together, but at some point he started to ride a lot more often and chose more intense routes, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep up until I increased my time on the bike. He even registered for a crit race, and I really really wanted to be part of that, too (more on that topic another time). 

But I had to deal with a divorce, move into a new place and find a second job. This is already a lot to handle for someone who doesn’t burn for cycling. Yet, I beat myself up over it, again and again and again. Until someday, I had a serious panic attack on the bike!

That was when I started to tell myself: No, Aline, it’s okay. You need to deal with those things now and not worry about your training too much. This is your priority because it has to be your priority. If you could chose otherwise, you would. So don’t beat yourself up over it and just get through it.

Of course, that’s an extreme example, but I think it ultimately applies to all kinds of things that can happen in everybody’s life. Most people are not immune to bad moods, nasty weather, fights with family members or significant others, or trouble at work. We all deal with stuff as best as we can.

Always remember: You’re only good on the bike as long as you FEEL good. 

Training when you‘re mentally and physically in a bad place is a terrible idea. It not only makes you feel like a failure because you won’t be able to “just push through” but might also make your current situation worse.

When I’m sick - but technically not sick enough for a workout - I personally still skip the training because I don’t want my body to have to fight a cold AND the effort of a bike ride. But I know that everyone’s different, and a lot of people actually go on a ride anyway. Which is great! But please, if you don’t feel well and you want to stay at home, don’t beat yourself up over it just because others do it differently.


The same goes for mental issues - I do believe that most of the time, we have a pretty good radar for when to go on a ride and when to sit it out. I know that I’m among those people who proclaim that #ridingistheanswer, but to be honest, it isn’t always a good idea to get on the bike when you’re very emotional. I not only had the aforementioned panic attack but also rode my bike very aggressively and kind of recklessly a couple of times when I was really angry. That’s just a recipe for making an already bad situation worse. Listen to your gut and choose another coping mechanism instead if you’re prone to these kind of behaviors!

Last but not least...

I hope you won’t fall prey to rider’s guilt - it’s definitely going to take the fun out of the sport. Choose wisely what kind of guilt you experience and act accordingly. I promise, you won’t regret it - even after looking at the 1000th awesome cycling picture on Instagram ;-)

Do you feel like that from time to time? How do you deal with it? I’d love to hear your experiences, so please leave a comment here, message me on Instagram or visit my Facebook page

ISPO 2019 in Munich - Product Reviews and more

How we got there 


It was a rainy morning when we set out for our journey, and on the train ride, we watched the landscape change from muddy gray into winter wonderland. Slowly rolling hills and cute little alpine houses in Allgäu reminded me of childhood skiing trips with my family. Immediately, I was wondering how people in this area cycle outdoors.

Let me quickly acknowledge something before I continue: We couldn’t have made it to ISPO without the help of my sister Larissa and her family! They let us stay at their home in Starnberg, which is close to Munich, so we were able to get to the fair easily. We were super-spontaneous to ask about coming over, and they knew we would bring the dog, too.  So, thanks to you guys, you are awesome! 


Starnberg is a beautiful town to stay in. We walked along the Starnberger See to the Sissi Castle, had some Krustenbraten at a nice restaurant and drove past villas that would’ve made home-owners in the Hollywood Hills jealous.

It started to snow heavily Saturday night and continued throughout the next day, so getting to the ISPO must’ve been rather difficult for a lot of visitors. But not for us! They drove us there on Sunday morning - and honestly, I don’t remember having seen the highways covered in so much snow, ever. It was scary, but we made it early enough to avoid the masses and to pick up our press passes.

Ready to check out some cool products? But first…

About the ISPO 2019 

This year’s ISPO Munich, the world’s largest trade fair for sporting goods, had about 80,000 visitors from 120 countries. Big topics were sustainability, digitalization and, for the first time, eSports! It was a great chance for new and upcoming, as well as established brands to show their potential! Although a big part of the fair was about winter sports, we certainly found enough companies that produce exciting stuff for cyclists!

So, here we go.

Sleep with Samaya 

Samaya was one of the first booths that we looked at, and I immediately had to think about our future bike-packing trips through Europe. Although I’d like to save up enough money to stay at cheap hotels from time to time, sleeping in a tent somewhere in the middle of nowhere is definitely part of the plan!

The Samaya ultralight tent only weighs 850g/30oz, is waterproof and fits at least two people. How cool is that? It can also withstand winds of up to 70km/h and temperatures lower than -20ºC. Not saying that I’d like to camp under those conditions, but you never know where the road takes you, right?

Click here for more information!

Let rain showers pass by with Showers Pass 


We’ve all heard of Merino wool socks to keep our feet warm, and waterproof socks to keep them dry. But one pair of socks that does both jobs? That’s exactly what we found at Showers Pass!

This brand specializes in waterproof and breathable rain gear for cyclists. They want people to get out on their bikes, no matter what the weather’s like. Perfect for crazies like us, right?

Photo by Showers Pass: Women’s Refuge Jacket

Photo by Showers Pass: Women’s Refuge Jacket

I tried on their Women’s Refuge Jacket in pacific blue, and was amazed by how good it felt. Their clothes also seem to have a lot of convenient details. Some of them are reinforced shoulder patches to keep your backpack from wearing down the fabric, chest pockets with audio port, a removable hood, and 360-degree 3M Scotchlite reflective trim. Even the zippers are waterproof!

They also offer waterproof bags, base layers, jerseys and shorts. Plus, it’s made by athletes for athletes! I’ll definitely write more about Showers Pass once I get to try some of their gear!

Until then, feel free to check out their webpage for more information!

Go backpacking with Vaude 


I’ve always been a big fan of Vaude, ever since my brother told me to stop by the Vaude Outlet in Tettnang, Germany. Their clothes and backpacks seem to be versatile and long-lasting, and they make sure that their outdoor products are environmentally-friendly  and fairly produced!

I got to see a lot of their products for the summer and fall/winter 2019 collection at the ISPO. I was especially interested in their backpacking gear, and thus found out upon the Aqua Light Series for summer 2019!

It’s is a trio of robust, waterproof bicycle bags - the Aqua Light Box, the Aqua Light Front and the Aqua Light Back. 

Photo by Vaude

Photo by Vaude

They feature easy access due to roll closure, can be compressed when not full, and weigh significantly less than conventional models. It also sounds like their super easy to take on and off the bike, especially the handlebar bag.

Sounds like the perfect solution for our bike travels, right?

Although I haven’t tried their bags yet, I can say for sure that my Vaude Women’s Cyclist Padded Jacket and the Women’s Resca Tricot are doing a great job so far. They were not even labeled as “thermal” and surprised me by keeping me toasty when layered properly - even below freezing.

I’ll probably write a dedicated review at some point, but don’t forget to check out what else Vaude has to offer: www.vaude.com

Stay warm and protected with Brubeck 


BRUBECK BODY GUARD is a brand I’ve never heard of before the ISPO, but I started to like them at once. They gave us a warm welcome at their booth and showed us their wide range of thermo-active sportswear, which is their Active Line. They also have a Comfort Line with cotton and Merino wool underwear.


The cool thing about their products is that they use 3D printing to get rid of seams! That’s also how they create double layer material with open holes, ventilation mesh, and much more. 

Their Balaclava is one example of this process. Although it fits quite tight around the head and covers most parts of the face, it’s still comfortable to wear. And breathing - no problem! 

Same goes for their neck warmer. It’s 54% Merino wool, and I can breathe quite well when it covers my mouth. Usually, my neck warmers are either too thin (and drench easily) or too thick. Brubeck seems to do the trick.

Here you can find more information about the company.

Tired of socks and shoes? Try Skinners!


Skinners is a Czech project that was brought into life by a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign. They produce footwear that is neither sock nor shoe, but you can wear them for all kinds of activities: Hiking, running, fitness, or even roller skating!

They’re made with antibacterial fibers, have a water-water-resistant underside, fold down super small and can be worn barefoot. It’s basically like walking around in super comfy socks, but way more protected from the ground. At the same time, their RealFeel™ technology lets your feet experience everything that’s underneath as if you were walking barefoot. 


One thing I could imagine using them for is on a long cycling trip. I’m sure you know that feeling when you ride to a beautiful spot, and all you want is to walk around a bit, maybe sit down on the river, or whatever floats your boat. But you’re wearing cycling shoes, and everyone knows how annoying it is to walk in them. Since the Skinners fold down so small that they fit into a jersey pocket, it would be the perfect companion to turn to when you wanna ditch those cleats for a bit. It’s something I’ll try out and talk more about once spring comes around!

For more information about Skinners here.


Although it’s always great to see and try out new products, there was another important aspect to the ISPO 2019: Meeting new people and making friends. And what place could be better than a fair with tons of people who are excited about cycling?

Patrick, Luca, Mitch and me

Patrick, Luca, Mitch and me

Mitch and I were lucky enough to be able to hang out both days with our friend Patrick from Augsburg, (we recently published our first guest post about cycling in LA on his blog, Born2.Bike), and video producer Luca, whose YouTube channel you can find here .

On Monday, there was also a fun blogger  breakfast sponsored by The North Face (which we almost missed because the S-Bahn stopped and didn’t move for 20 minutes), with a tour to see the most exciting new brands at the ISPO. Talking to other bloggers and  exhibitors was very inspiring, and I’m sure there’s a lot of great collaborations coming up in the future! 

Thanks so much for reading this far, and thanks to everyone who was somehow involved in making the ISPO 2019 such a great experience!