|Distance in km||73.5|
|Elevation in m||330|
|Amount of newly ridden kms in Berlin from wandrer.earth||28.5|
Another sunny winter’s day could only mean one thing – time for the next Stage of the Grand Tour de Öffentliche Verkehrsmittel! Today’s stage was going to focus on the borough of Spandau and included 7 of its 9 districts during the five bus routes (N39, N34, N35, 234, 334). The N35 and 234 bus routes are focused on Kladow, the southernmost district where a good friend lives so I even had a proper lunch and coffee stop planned.
The first bus route, the N39 bus, starts at U Rohrdamm in Siemensstadt and ends at Mertensstraße in Hakenfelde. This route is very similar to the 139 route that I completed in Stage 11. I passed through the beaver protection area for the final time in the Grand Tour since no other buses service this area. Again, no beavers to report but I would like to come back to the area with my MTB for further searches. The bus route passes over the Havel using the Spandauer-See Bridge and then continues northwards until arriving at its Mertensstraße terminus in Hakenfelde.
The N34 route was up next. It starts at the Aalemannufer, just a bit north of where the N39 route stops, and ends nearly 20 km further along at Gutsstraße in Kladow. The start terminus is very close to the Tegel-Hakenfelde ferry that I used during Stage 3. Initially the N34 route heads due south towards central Spandau where the train station and shopping centre are. Once getting to the Wilhelmstadt district, the route detours into the main Wilhelmstadt streets and passes next to the impressive Melanchthon church.
I crossed Heerstraße into the Gatow district and followed the southbound Gatower Straße. This is a road I have cycled on many times, especially when completing a loop of Wannsee, so I knew the hump in the road very well. Gatower Straße is also one of those roads where one side has a wonderful bike path while the other side’s bike path is just awful. During today’s ride, I was thankfully on the wonderful side!
Gatow turns into Kladow along Kladower Damm where the bike paths on both sides are either non-existent or multi-use paths with pedestrians. The road is just about wide enough for cars to safely pass when cycling on the road but during this stage, I came to the realisation that cyclists were definitely an afterthought for the planners of Kladow.
The final stretch of the N34 bus route follows Ritterfelddamm all the way to Gutsstraße, which is very close to the town of Groß Glienicke. Ritterfelddamm was another example of not thinking about cyclists, as the official cycle path puts cyclists travelling in both directions on one side of the pavement. About a third of the way, cyclists have to cross the street for the official bike path and this happens again about two-thirds of the way. Here though the street is just wide enough for single line vehicular traffic so cycling on the road can be unnerving.
The next night bus route, N35, started at Alt-Kladow so I turned back and cycled the whole length of Ritterfelddamm to the start. This night bus route stays within Kladow where it heads to the Blücher army barracks before U-turning and completing a loop within the main housing section of Kladow. The route ends up on Ritterfelderdamm again before completing the loop at Alt-Kladow.
The 234 bus route was next, this is very similar to the N35 as it also completes a loop round the main residential area in Kladow. But instead of heading towards the army barracks, it goes towards the old people’s home where there was a petting zoo full of cute goats! As soon as I got off my bike to take pictures, all the goats came towards me expecting food, but I obeyed the signs and didn’t give them anything to eat.
Before completing this bus route, I stopped at my friend’s apartment to refuel and re-caffeinate. Not only could I refuel with some veggie bolognese and coffee but my feet could thaw out. It may have been sunny but it was still pretty cold out. All that was left of the 234 bus route after lunch was to get back to Ritterfelddamm and Alt-Kladow for the final time today and finish this bus route.
The final bus route, the 334, starts at the tiny Habichtswald settlement in the Berlin woods behind the Gatow airfield between Gatow and Kladow. I avoided Ritterfelddamm by heading towards the Berlin Golf club where the General-Steinhoff army barracks are located, which include the Gatow airfield. The Gatow airfield was part of the British sector after the second world war and hosted the British efforts during the Berlin Airlift. The airfield was a base for the RAF (Royal Air Force) until the reunification of Germany when it was given back to the German army. The airfield also hosts the free Military History Museum including many old planes. I am no military history buff so I can’t say anything about them but they look pretty cool.
The 334 bus route is one of the adorable mini-bus routes in Berlin, and at this point in the Grand Tour, it is the cutest one. Why? Well, not only does it require a minibus for the 3 km route along a single road (Groß-Glienicke-Weg) but scheduled departures are Monday to Friday 5-7am and 12am-1pm or you have to call for the bus to pick you up! Truly adorable. I did see the minibus with a driver at its end stop at Alt-Gatow, I assume he was ready to rev up once a potential passenger called.
That was it for bus routes on today’s stage. I made my way back home through the Rieselfelder Karolinenhöhe where a cross bike would’ve been much more fun than a road bike! Certainly worth checking out this area with a better suited bicycle as it was some really lovely countryside.
My blood glucose before lunch was pretty good, perhaps a little on the high side but within range. Unfortunately I underestimated the insulin amount for lunch as my blood glucose was very very high during the final part of the ride. I probably should have checked this and injected some insulin to correct the high blood glucose before arriving home as I struggled to get my blood glucose within range for the rest of the afternoon. Despite this, I really enjoyed the ride, especially getting to visit a friend and see the Gatow airfield.