The best place to rent bikes in Berlin is at Fahrradstation GmbH, Bergmannstrasse 9 (tel. 030/2151566; U-Bahn: Platz der Luftbrücke), in Kreuzberg. Rentals cost 15€ per day or 50€ per week. Oddly enough, rentals of 3-speed, 7-speed, and 21-speed (racing) bikes all cost the same; consequently, a cyclist can rent whichever degree of high-tech savvy he or she prefers. The city maintains a labyrinth of bike paths, marked by red bricks on the walkways, through the central core of Berlin and in its parks, especially the Tiergarten. The best places for biking are the Tiergarten in central Berlin and farther afield in the Grunewald Forest (S-Bahn: Grunewald). Note: You can take bikes on the S- and U-Bahn, but you must board the correct carriage (look for the bike sign on the doors) and buy an extra bike ticket (1.50€ within zones AB, 2.10€ within zones ABC).
Head for the vast and verdant leafiness of the Grunewald, on the city's western edge, which is crisscrossed with pedestrian and bike paths. This area is appropriate for very long endurance tests. Closer to the center is the Tiergarten, which allows you to soak up a little history on your morning jog thanks to its many monuments and memorials. The grounds of Schloss Charlottenburg are also good for jogging.
Berlin is hardly a beach resort, but each summer the banks of many of the canals are covered with sand on which rest deck chairs under rainbow-hued umbrellas, creating a series of mini-beaches. The best of these is Bundespresse Strand, Kapelle-Ufer 1 (tel. 030/28099119; www.derbundespressestrand.de), across from the Reichstag in the center of Berlin. It offers two swimming pools, live music, and a glass pavilion for rainy days.
The bar here is the best-known "beach bar" in Berlin; if you're hungry, it offers, in addition to beer and cocktails, freshly made salads and grilled meats. On Thursday evenings, salsa music is a feature, and on Sunday, beginning at 3pm, a dance is staged. From May to the end of summer, volleyball is offered -- free until 5pm, 15€ thereafter. The location is on the site of the old Berlin Wall in once "forbidden" territory. In summer it's open daily 10am until late at night (U-Bahn: Friedrichstrasse).
Perched on the top floor of the Europa Center's parking garage (Parkhaus Europa Center), the health and exercise club called Thermen, Nürnberger Strasse 7 (tel. 030/2575760; www.thermen-berlin.de; U-Bahn: Wittenbergplatz), offers an array of heated pools, saunas, massage facilities, and solariums. You'll pay 17€ for a 3-hour use of these facilities, but most visitors find that unless they're terribly rushed and plan on just a quick dip, it's more practical to buy a full-day pass for 19€. They'll give you a key to lock up your valuables. It's a good idea to bring your own bathing suit, but if you don't have one, an attendant will drag one out of a tattered inventory in back. Know in advance that men and women share the same saunas, and in Germany, no one seems particularly adverse to sweating nude in a communal setting. Massages go for 30€ per 30-minute session and should be reserved in advance. Hours are Monday to Saturday 10am to midnight and Sunday 10am to 9pm.
For outdoor swimming during the hot months, head to one of Europe's largest lake beaches at Wannsee. Take the S-Bahn to Nikolaisee and follow the hordes of bathers heading toward the water's edge.
Tennis & Squash
A well-respected outfit that features access to indoor tennis and squash courts is Sport Center Buschkrug, Buschkrugallee 84 (tel. 030/6069999; www.sportcenter-buschkrug.de; U-Bahn: Grenzallee). Depending on the time of day you arrive, indoor tennis courts rent for between 24€ and 29€ per hour, and indoor squash courts rent for between 9€ and 18€ per hour. Know in advance that the most expensive and most sought-after playing times are between 6 and 10pm, presumably when local residents need to work off steam after a day at the office. A worthy competitor is Berlin's Squash Tennis Nord, Treuenbrietzenerstrasse 36 (tel. 030/4153011; U-Bahn: Wittenau, then bus no. 124 or X-21), which charges a bit less -- 18€ to 24€ per hour for use of one of its half-dozen tennis courts and 10€ to 13€ per hour for use of one of its 10 squash courts, depending on when you opt to play. Advance reservations at both clubs are recommended.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.