Christian Chrome (1970) Berlin (Germany)
My name is Christian and I was born and raised in West-Berlin, Germany. When I was a kid, Berlin (and Germany) was divided in two parts, East and West. There was a big wall around the entire city of West-Berlin. So living there was like being trapped on an island without a boat.
In my early years my father was an active road cyclist. I remember when he came home one day with an orange Peugeot road bike in the back of our car. This was my first bike and I loved it a lot. Well, it was heavy as a brick, had a steel frame, pretty long brake cables, no quick releases and a dynamo with front and back lights, but still it looked cool and it was fast as hell (Well, I mean for a kid back in those days of course).
Once in a while we did a ride together and my father showed me some of the best roads in our home town with only light traffic, but lots of nature around. Of course there was the famous Havelchaussee, but also some very nice ways around Lake Tegel, close to the place where we used to live. Because of the ubiquitous wall around us we weren’t able to explore areas on the other side, but thankfully Berlin was (and still is) quite a green city and we had a good variety of appealing roads to not get bored over the years.
Something like a decade later my father took me to “Leto” – a Berlin frame manufacturer – and I got my first handmade and personalized frame. It was made of lightweight Columbus tubes, had a Shimano 600 tricolor STI groupset, and was painted metallic blue with yellow decals and yellow bar tape. This was a damned mean machine! Riding it felt like riding a rocket.
Then – 1989 – the wall came down. What a relief! Immediately I started to explore the surrounding ‘Terra Incognita’ – with some caution first, but more and more fearless later. Boy, all the years I thought West-Berlin is nice… But Brandenburg (the surrounding federate state) has so much more to offer for a road cyclist. Endless roads in beautiful sceneries, lakes, rivers, woods, hills, light traffic, nice people, etc. All just a crank turn away. Total freedom. My new road cycling paradise!
Anyways, for me the reunion was also good in some other respect: My wife was born and raised in East-Berlin 🙂 Without the reunion I wouldn’t have met her.
Well, over all those years cycling has become a serious sports to me. My equipment has improved (and increased… – you know, the right number of bikes to own is n+1) and my radius has extended. I like to ride in Spain and Norway, in Italy and Austria, and in other districts of Germany of course.
Furthermore cycling is my preferred way of moving around in the city. I use my bike for cycling to work, to go out at night, to explore virtual worlds (Zwift), to spend some quality time with my family or to simply visit my mother (my father passed away in January 2019). Now that I have two kids myself, I hope to pass the passion for cycling to them.