Grand Tour de Öffentliche Verkehrsmittel Stage 19/59 – Southern Loops

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Date24.02.2020
Strava Activityhttps://www.strava.com/activities/3128095281
BikeBolt
Distance in km97.7
Elevation in m268
Amount of newly ridden kms in Berlin from wandrer.earth39.8
Blood glucose values throughout Stage 19 of the Grand Tour de Öffentliche Verkehrsmittel

After nearly a week since the previous Stage, it was time to take Bolt out and explore some more bus routes! There were a few reasons for this gap between stages; firstly the weather was not very friendly which made me consider just taking some days off the bike and recovery from the previous weeks. Secondly, these rest-day thoughts were cemented by three consecutive night’s sleep being disturbed by multiple CGM alarms. 

One night I was woken up by 6 alarms – I was aboard the dreaded blood glucose rollercoaster. Understandably I was extremely tired for some days after and really needed to catch up on some sleep. I find that during these recovery days (and nights), since I’m less active than usual, my blood glucose reacts pretty extremely leading to stubborn highs and the inevitable insulin overcorrections.

On the 24th, I was finally rested enough and looking forward to a Stage travelling through the Southern boroughs of Berlin and taking on five bus routes. The first bus route, the 181, started at Walter Schreiber Platz (Herr Schreiber was the mayor of West Berlin between 1953 and 1955). On the way there, I found the lovely Berliner Moschee (Berlin Mosque) that was definitely inspired by the Taj Mahal.

Britzer Esel / Britz Donkey

The start of the 181 bus route passes through Steglitz and Lankwitz before heading westwards through Mariendorf. Mariendorf is famous for its horse racing track, the Trabrennbahn, but this bus route focuses more on its industrial area. On the corner of Mohriner Allee and Buckower Damm there is a huge iron statue of a donkey, which has a rather grotesque grin. This was to memorialise the pub “Zum goldenen Esel” (“To the Golden Donkey”) that was erected by the pub regulars after the building was torn down. The rest of the 181 route passed through some of the quieter streets of Britz before terminating at Kielingerstraße. 

Schönefeld Train Station at the Airport

The next bus route was the X7 express route that shuttles between U-Bahnhof Rudow and Flughafen Schönefeld. This bus route has only those two stops – a proper express service! There are bus routes that are shorter in distance but they have more than 2 stops on their lines. But the X7 is a vital connection for passengers wanting to get to the Schönefeld airport from the U7 line. 

Meininger Hotel in the Bohnsdorf district

Flughafen Schönefeld was then the starting terminus for the next route – the 163 bus route. This bus route heads back into Berlin through the Bohnsdorf district – including the Paradies (Paradise) area. This bus route heads up towards the Grünau S-Bahn station for the first of three train station stops each advertised on the front of the bus itself. Many of the streets and public amenities here are named after the architect Bruno Taut since he built the Gartenstadt Falkenberg (Falkenberg Garden City) which is in this area. Herr Taut also built the Hufeisensiedlung (Horseshoe Estate) in Britz, which is close to the end of the 181 bus route from earlier. This huge horseshoe building can only be properly appreciated from air shots like this – it’s really cool!

The 163 route then heads over the Teltower Kanal and into Adlershof for the second train stop at the Adlershof S-Bahn station. The route briefly passes on Rudower Chaussee, home to the recently built Humboldt University campus, before heading north on Groß-Berliner-Damm. This stretch passes by the old airfield of Johannisthal (now a protected nature reserve) and into an industrial area that looks like it will be rebuilt in the near future. 

Britzer Verbindungskanal / Britz Connecting Canal

The end of the 163 route is then the third and final train station stop at Schöneweide, a major train and bus terminus in east Berlin. The cycling on the 163 route could be classified into two distinct sections: the first part through Bohnsdorf was on roads with cars, no dedicated bike paths while the second part after getting to Adlershof was on dedicated bike paths separate from other vehicles. I guess the reason for this dichotomy is that Adlershof was renovated into a science and technology hub after reunification and cycling was taken into account during this planning, while Bohnsdorf is a relatively older district retaining most of its buildings from the early 20th Century.

I was getting a bit hungry and cold at this point so I had a food and coffee stop at one of the cafes next to the bus terminus. I had a tasty Camembert and cucumber sandwich. I injected only one unit of bolus insulin for this sandwich just to make sure that my blood glucose would stay steady for the rest of the ride. 

Student Residence in Plänterwald – not Las Vegas!

The 166 bus route was up next, travelling from the Schöneweide bus terminus to Weisestraße in Neukölln. The route passes over the Britz canal into the Plänterwald district and through Treptower Park. Next up are the main streets of Neukölln where I had to navigate through and with a lot of traffic, especially around the huge construction site near Rathaus Neukölln. The final stretch of the 166 route was along Flughafenstraße (Airport Street) – so named as it heads towards Tempelhofer Feld. This is the site of the former Tempelhof Airport which was central to the Berlin Airlift after the second world war. 

Graffiti on Flughafenstraße commemorating the Berlin Airlift

I now made my way through Neukölln back towards the Schöneweide bus terminus for the final bus route of the Stage. There was a fantastic bike path just past the Südostallee Brücke which was well-paved and really wide, it only lasted about a kilometre though.

Sonnenallee

The final bus route was the M11 route from Schöneweide to Dahlem-Dorf U-Bahn station. This metro bus route heads through the Johannesthal district and into the Gropiusstadt district using the Stubenrauch bridge that passes over both the Berlin Autobahn ring and the Teltowkanal. Cycling on Stubenrauchstraße after the bridge, was pretty awful as bicycles are forced between parked cars and vehicles that are limited in their overtaking space by tram tracks in the middle of the road. The Autobahn exit tied to the bridge leads to a constant flow of traffic resulting in nearpasses – certainly less than the mandatory 1.5 m.

Wärme (Heat) Box in Marienfelde

I then passed the Gropius Passagen, the mall that includes a cinema where Nadja spent a lot of her teenage years. After Gropiusstadt, the M11 services the Buckow and Marienfelde districts. Both these districts are very residential in nature but while Buckow at least recognises cyclists with its bumpy cycle paths, Marienfelde doesn’t seem to like cyclists at all, since most of the roads in Marienfelde were on narrow roads without cycle paths!

Sansoucci Wreck at the Eduard Spranger Promenade

Next up was the Lichterfelde district and the second time that the M11 bus passes the Teltowkanal. At the Eduard Spranger Promenade, there was the front part of the Sanssouci barge and an old engine used tow water vessels over the canal. Once through Lichterfelde, already a plush part of Berlin, the M11 then enters the final stretches in Dahlem, probably the plushest part of Berlin. Here, I passed by the main campus of the Freie Universität (Free University) before getting to the adorably thatched Dahlem-Dorf U-Bahn station and the end of the M11 route.

Dahlem Dorf U-Bahn Station

That was all the bus routes for this stage. I made my way home through Wilmersdorf and Charlottenburg and was looking forward to a nice warm coffee. It was pretty cold during the stage, especially after the coffee stop at Schöneweide, but while cycling along it was bearable. I was very happy with my blood glucose management throughout the stage since the lunch sandwich worked well for the second half of the ride. I timed the food and insulin break to perfection as I needed to eat some carbs by the time I got home.

The % distance I cycled in each district during Stage 19 of the Grand Tour de Öffentliche Verkehrsmittel

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