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A Beautiful Commute

What’s it like to bike to work in Marburg, Germany?

The shadow of CSL Behring employee Vera Isenberg, who commutes to her job at CSL Behring's Marburg, Germany, manufacturing site on a bike.
CSL Behring employee Vera Isenberg casts a long shadow while commuting to and from work at the global biotech company's leading-edge manufacturing site in Marburg, Germany.

MARBURG, Germany - Vera Isenberg takes the long way home, but you would, too, if your commute looked like this.

With her children grown, she’s been biking to and from work in Marburg whenever possible. This year, the weather cooperated and Isenberg, who works in R&D at CSL Behring’s leading-edge manufacturing facility, was able to continue riding through November. Soon enough it will be winter and too dangerous to cycle on icy streets.

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Her bike trek is only about 5 kilometers (3 miles) but requires a 100-meter climb over a hill in both directions. For about half the ride, she must share the road with cars. But on the way home, she takes the scenic route through open country and then a wooded trail.


A view of the road ahead during the commute of CSL Behring employee Vera Isenberg, who gets to her job at CSL Behring's Marburg, Germany, manufacturing site on a bike.

“This part motivates me most of all. Here I can switch from work to evening, and enjoy the nature,” she said.

Like many Europeans, and 82 percent of Germans, Isenberg owns and uses a bicycle. She also takes cycling tours for fun – both on her own and with her husband. European countries tend to have existing infrastructure for biking. For instance, Germany has “cycle tracks” along its federal highways and you’ll see throngs of cyclists in places like Amsterdam and Copenhagen.

But cycling enthusiasts say more people are riding a bike to work in the United States, too. More than 50,000 people bike to work in New York City, according to the League of American Bicyclists’ analysis of census data. Smaller U.S. cities like Boulder, Colorado and Davis, California report more than 10 percent of residents cycle to work.

If you want to join the ranks of cycling commuters in the United States, May 13-17, 2019 is Bike to Work Week. By then, it will be spring in Germany, too, and Isenberg will be restarting her two-wheeled commute.

CSL Behring employee Vera Isenberg's bicycle. Vera commutes to her job at CSL Behring's Marburg, Germany, manufacturing site by bike.