|Distance in km||96.1|
|Elevation in m||335|
|Amount of newly ridden kms in Berlin from wandrer.earth||43.0|
There was a long break between stages, partially because the weather was not ideal for cycling for a few hours as it was very stormy and wet in Berlin. But I also had bike trouble with Bolt, my race bike. I had planned to complete a Stage on the 8th of March but my chain was slipping off the chainring whenever I wanted to push off. I changed the drivetrain (chainring, cassette and chain) on Bolt. However, I was not happy enough with Bolt to use it for a long stage since I wanted to do a shorter test ride beforehand.
So for Stage 22 I was going to our (aka Nadja’s) Cyclocross bike (Flash) for the first time on this Grand Tour! Another first for the Grand Tour was that I would be cycling with a friend – a special guest! A major milestone for this Stage would be that I would become the leader on the wandrer.earth for the amount of distinct roads cycled in Berlin.
The special guest lives not far from the starting point of the first public transport route – the M13 tram – so that was our meeting point. I headed out to the Virchow Klinikum, the terminus of the M13 route, after having breakfast. I reduced my bolus insulin slightly and while on the way to the meeting point, I realised that I forgot to inject my basal (long acting insulin). This was not such a problem, but it would mean that my blood glucose may stay on the high side, but that could be countered with cycling and if necessary, I could inject bolus insulin to correct.
The M13 tram is one of two tram routes that arc around the north parts of the former centre of East Berlin. The M13 is the more northern of the arc-tram routes and along with its southern arc-twin the M10 terminates at Warschauer Straße. We started out following the M13 route along Seestraße and Osloer Straße before heading over the fantastic Bornholmer Straße bridge. The bridge is not only admirable for its steel architecture but this was also the site where people could cross from East to West Berlin after the fall of the Berlin Wall.
The next section through Prenzlauer Berg was one of those cycling slaloms between tram tracks and parked cars while keeping an eye out for double parked cars. The M13 heads southbound along the huge Jewish Cemetery in Weißensee, greets the Lichtenberg Rathaus and heads into Friedrichshain along some more tram/car slalom roads. I’m looking at you Wühlischstraße!
We reached the tram terminus at Warschauer Straße and with that the end of the M13 tram route. It was time for fuel since my blood glucose was trending downwards, so I ate one of my homemade energy bars. The next public transport route was the 269 bus route starting at Müggelschlößchenweg – one of the hardest street names for non-native German speakers!
The Müggelschlößchenweg is located in the eastern district of Köpenick, so we cycled over the magnificent Oberbaumbrücke and due East all the way to the 269 bus terminus. This bus terminus is located near a housing estate and hospital right next to the forest leading to the Müggelsee. The combination of lovely spring sunshine, forest and a lake meant there were a lot of hikers, cyclists and people enjoying their Sunday.
The 269 bus route travels northwards over the Spree using the Salvador-Allende-Brücke, Salvador Allende being a former Chilean president. On the riverbank, there is a huge building that used to be the VEB Kabelwerk of Köpenick, a cable-manufacturing plant, that has been left to ruin.
The 269 route heads northwards through Kaulsdorf along some lovely paved roads. At this point, we were flying along since we now had a tail wind at our backs plus the combination of good road surface and minimal road traffic. That was a fun stretch! We crossed the S5 tracks (Stage 21) and just further north was the end terminus for the 269 bus – the Kaulsdorf-Nord U-Bahn station.
This was a good time for a break, so we had a coffee and an energy bar, plus some insulin for me, whilst sitting in the sun. Although it was really sunny, it was slightly colder on the bike than I had expected and my feet were getting a bit frosty since I wasn’t wearing my overshoes. The break was therefore a good opportunity to warm my feet up too. In the Kaulsdorf-Nord station, there was also some artwork showcasing the solidarity of the GDR with anti-racism (e.g. with Civil Rights in the US, Anti‐Apartheid movements and the people of Vietnam).
After our break we headed towards the Elsterwerdaer Platz U-Bahn station which was the starting point for the 154 bus route. This bus route terminates in the Französich Buchholz (French Buchholz) district. So named because of the numerous Huguenot families, religious refugees from France, that settled here after the 30 Years War.
The 154 bus route passes through many of the northern districts that made up the former East Berlin. This meant that we got to pass by many many examples of the distinctive brutalist architecture of the former Soviet-bloc. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I personally like the symmetrical nature and really enjoy the different colour schemes/patterns used to decorate the Plattenbaus. In Berlin, just mention Marzahn and Neu-Hohenschönhausen and high rise buildings immediately come to mind.
After passing through some of the large housing estates of Marzahn and Neu-Hohenschönhausen, we passed into the Malchow district. Malchow has much more of an old-town feel to it compared to the more modern districts we’d just passed through. I guess part of this old-town feel of Malchow is that it is the least populated district of Berlin – it only had a population of 450 in 2008!
The 154 bus route now just had to travel through the Blankenburg district before getting to Französich Buchholz. In order to do so, we passed on the Blankenburger Pflasterweg – I was kind of worried about this road surface since this translates to the Blankenburg Cobblestone Lane. But we had nothing to worry about, there was a decent cycle path away from the road (which was paved beautifully anyway) next to some lovely fields.
We crossed under the S-Bahn tracks at the Blankenburg train station – an impressive building – before getting into Französich Buchholz and its extremely narrow and bumpy cycle paths. We didn’t have much further to go before the 154 bus terminus at Aubertstraße right next to the Elizabeth Aue (Meadow).
The next – and final – bus route of this Stage was the M21 bus route starting at Uhlandstraße in Rosenthal and ending at the Goedelersteg in Charlottenburg. We headed towards Rosenthal along Kräuterweg (Herb Lane) where the cross-paths were all named after different herbs and spices (Curry, Ginger, Marjoram). The starting terminus was also horticulturally inclined since it was right opposite the Holland Garden Centre!
The start of the M21 route services the Märkisches Viertel – the former West Berlin’s take on highrise buildings. This section of the Stage was dominated by strong crosswinds, especially whipped up by all the skyscrapers around! This extra effort of cycling into cross- and headwinds meant that my blood glucose was dropping a bit so I took on an energy gel for a sugar boost.
We headed further West into the Wittenau district before heading South towards Kurt Schumacher Platz. Here we were battling a constant headwind paired with bike paths that spat us out into bus stops – not the best timing since there was an M21 bus on the road at the same time as us. Both us and the bus driver were alert and everything went along smoothly.
My special guest and I parted ways at Kurt Schumacher Platz, after that the M21 bus route passed close to Tegel airport and I wanted to capture a plane landing. So I waited some time until a flight from Moscow in spectacular fluorescent green livery landed. I cycled parallel to the Berlin Autobahn on dedicated bike paths until getting to Charlottenburg.
The M21 bus terminates at Goedelersteg just past the Jungfernheide train station. This bus terminus is near a pedestrian/bicycle bridge that crosses the Westhafenkanal and the Berlin Autobahn. This ‘snail bridge’ is fun to cycle on although a little dizzying.
There was the small matter of cycling the 2 km or so back home and that was the end of Stage 22. Great weather and company made for an enjoyable ride after the longer than expected break. Blood glucose management was pretty good, especially since I didn’t inject my basal insulin – maybe I should skip this injection for other long stages to improve blood glucose control. I shall test this in future Stages and see how it goes.