Summer in the city: Lauren Oyler on a bike accident in Berlin


Lauren Oyler

The US author and critic recalls a summer of cycling in the German capital in 2018

• Read other authors on their memorable urban summers

Every summer when I come to Berlin, someone says, “Wouldn’t you rather be at the beach?” No. I want to drink beer from the Späti (corner shop) and marvel at the sudden appearance of disparate architectures. But increasingly, there are heatwaves.

If pressed, even these I can romanticise: everyone is carefree and dirty (even more so than usual) and doesn’t work (even more so than usual). I always end up crossing Alexanderplatz on a bike thinking, this is like a desert, but more than once I’ve run into someone I know in the bike lane, which renders the scene even more hallucinogenic. Still, I dread the heatwaves as if they are worse than they are. “They’re going to have to get air-conditioning,” I mutter with the rest of the Americans. The only real respite is, unfortunately, to go to the beach.

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