There are few better cities to discover on two wheels than Berlin. With its mix of neighbourhoods, architecture and people, it's a place of constant change. This large metropolis, with 3.5 million people living and working together, is also the home of BMW and the place where the new C evolution electric scooter is being built. We borrow one and join model Ioannis-Stavros Gkolemas, known to everyone as Yanni, for a whistle-stop tour of some of the city's hotspots.
The day starts at the 25h Hotel Bikini Berlin, housed in an interesting building designed in the 1950s by the architects Paul Schwebes and Hans Schoszberger, and celebrating an era hallmarked by dynamism, freedom, optimism and consumerism. Nestled between the Memorial Church and Kurfürstendamm, with views to the green oasis of Tiergarten Park and Berlin Zoo, it is the perfect place to wake up and start the day.
When your living depends on the ability to look good and move gracefully, there is no better exercise than yoga that combines inner strength and body control as part of a balanced lifestyle. Yanni is an active participant of yoga and meditation, so it's fortunate that the 25h Hotel Bikini Berlin's Monkey bar has a rooftop studio with fantastic views over the city. This allows yoga followers to contemplate the sights and sounds of this vibrant city while performing this ancient art of natural flowing movement designed to help us move easily and freely, without restriction.
These same attributes can be applied to the ethos behind the BMW C evolution, which was designed with similar aims in mind – to allow us to move quickly, yet safely, around the urban jungle, without harming others with noise or pollution. The knowledge that you are part of the solution, and not part of the problem, just adds to the enjoyment of sustainable riding pleasure.
Energised and relaxed from this intelligent form of exercise, it's time to turn the key and activate the fully-charged battery cells that will power this futuristic maxi-scooter up to 100 kilometres on a single charge. Unless you are a professional motorcycle courier or someone who travels daily between two cities, it's hard to imagine anybody whose commuting needs wouldn't be covered by the impressive range of the BMW C evolution. This range can be extended even further with careful riding technique, selectable power modes and a braking and throttle system that incorporates regenerative technology that charges the battery as you slow down. It's also very fast, too, although the electronically-limited top speed of 120 km/h is unlikely to be reached riding within the city limits…
Leaving the hotel, the next port of call for Yanni is the Hackescher Markt – a shopper's paradise and the place to see and be seen. There, designer boutiques rub shoulders with chain stores, bars and restaurants, and you can find everything you need, whatever your requirements. It's also the perfect place to people-watch, with plenty of cafes where you can rest and refuel while watching the hip and cool Berliners go about their daily business.
Bustling with life and all kinds of lifestyles, the Hackescher Markt is not the best place to drive to, because just like most city centres, there are simply too many people chasing too few parking spaces. No such problem for the BMW C evolution though, as it barely takes up more room than a bicycle, allowing you to get right up close to where you need to be, stress-free and with lots of room on-board to stow your purchases. A perfect shopping companion, one might say?
In this case, the destination for Yanni is the iconic weekly market at the Hackescher Markt, where he finds some of the best organic products available in the city, without the usual inflated prices associated with these foods that are produced using environmentally friendly and animal friendly farming methods. You are what you eat, as they say, and many people now recognise the direct connection between our health and how the food we eat is produced.
The same goes for the way we move around our towns and cities. Our desire and need for goods and services results in the rapid movement of these same goods and services from producer to end-user – and of course us, the workers – from our homes to offices, factories, schools and all kinds of industry. We can't all enjoy the luxury of working from home, so those that have to travel, feel better if they can do so in a sustainable way, right from the front door to the workplace. A zero-emissions vehicle like the BMW C evolution provides guilt-free riding pleasure – and let's not forget that they are seriously good fun to ride – while getting you exactly where you need to be, fast and safely, thanks to its powerful electric drive and advanced safety features such as traction control and anti-lock brakes.
Although the C evolution will go serious distances on a full charge, us humans require regular fuel stops in order to keep pace with the demands of our busy lifestyles. Fortunately, in the heart of the city you are never far from a good place to eat and one of Yanni's favourite pit-stops is the LuckyLeek organic restaurant, which is well known as the best place in town to eat freshly prepared gourmet vegan cuisine.
“Berlin is a fast growing city in the heart of Europe where many different cultures meet and live together. You can see the different epochs very clearly in various districts, which is one of the many reasons why the city is very interesting to discover,” says Sebastian Sinemus, the manager of the LuckyLeek restaurant.
Safely installed in the LuckyLeek’s cosy basement space near the Kollwitzplatz in the Prenzlauer Berg district, committed vegan Yanni has a chance to reflect on the cosmopolitan city he has called home for the past two years, his choice of a sustainable lifestyle and this latest experience of travelling around Berlin on the all-new BMW C evolution.
“Using energy in a responsible way is important to me, so I support a sustainable lifestyle by using my bicycle, not smoking, eating only vegan, recycling all garbage, using LED lights, and supporting Greenpeace, the Zeitgeist Movement and other organisations. I am friendly with nature and with human beings. I appreciate life in Berlin every day! An e-scooter like the C evolution gives you the freedom of the city with the benefit of clean, quiet, 100 per cent electrical power. It's time to ride the revolution.”
Find out more about the start of a new chapter in the urban mobility story for BMW Motorrad when the C evolution goes on sale in Europe in May 2014. For details, visit www.bmw-motorrad.com
Video and Photo Markus Hofmann http://www.white-photo.com
Production: Karolina Berdycka http://www.white-photo.com
Bikini Hotel & Monkeys Bar http://www.25hours-hotels.com/de/bikini/home/
Restaurant Lucky Leek http://www.lucky-leek.com