© Bob Leinders (Otto Waalkes)

Always along the Alster

Celebrities cycle through Hamburg

Promis radeln durch Hamburg Otto Waalkes & Sasha

Beautiful spots are a dime a dozen in Hamburg, but these two celebrities have taken one cycling hotspot in particular to their hearts: the Alster. Otto Waalkes - comedian, actor and musician, among other things - and Sasha, also a musician - talk about what they associate with cycling and why, for them, it's as much a part of Hamburg as the fish sandwich and the neighborhood.

© Bob Leinders

Otto Waalkes may have been born in Emden, but he is still a Hamburg native. After all, he lived for a long time with 14 flatmates in the Hamburg flat-sharing community "Villa Kunterbunt" in Winterhude, including Udo Lindenberg and Marius Müller-Westernhagen. To this day, the Hamburg native lives in Hamburg, but now in Blankenese. He began his stage career at the age of eleven, playing his first big concert in Hamburg. After that, it was quick succession: his own television show, golden records, numerous films and dubbing roles.

What do you associate with cycling?

Otto: I grew up in the saddle, so to speak. In Emden, everyone has a bicycle anyway and has been riding it since childhood. I got a new bike for Christmas. I'm currently breaking it in and testing its suitability for the mountains.

Where do you like to cycle in the Hanseatic city?

Otto: There are great routes, for example along the banks of the Alster - but in some areas there is still a need to catch up on safe bike paths. Since I live in Blankenese, Blankenese naturally lends itself to riding. It's a challenging terrain, with uphill and downhill sections. For flat stretches, the banks of the Elbe are ideal, via Teufelsbrück toward the city center.

Why should more Hamburg residents switch to bicycles?

Otto: The future belongs to the bicycle. That was just demonstrated during the lockdowns. And as I just heard on the radio: The demand for bicycles is greater than the supply. So Hamburg is already changing over. Have a good ride!

Just like Otto, Sascha Röntgen-Schmitz, who is now known by his stage name Sasha, was already on the road with his own band in his school days. When he won a talent contest, his hobby quickly turned into a profession, first as a background singer and finally as a solo singer. But Sasha also cuts a fine figure in front of the camera; among other things, he appeared in "Ossi's Eleven" and took part in the TV shows "Sing meinen Song" and "The Voice Kids." In 2005, Sasha moved to Hamburg for the first time; after many years in the Schanzenviertel, he now lives in Hamburg's Speckgürtel near the airport.

What do you like most about cycling?

Sasha: For me, cycling means relaxation above all, rarely sport. I like to cruise! The people here are very relaxed. There is rarely any trouble in traffic! I also use my bike for almost everything: shopping, going for a walk, or taking my son to daycare and picking him up again.

Where do you like to cycle in the Hanseatic city?

Sasha: Hamburg is beautiful almost everywhere, but I especially like to ride around the Alster in the classic way.

Why should more Hamburgers switch to bicycles?

Sasha: Riding a bike puts you in a good mood, keeps you fit, is cheap, saves resources and is therefore good for the environment. It doesn't get any better than that!

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