|Distance in km||117.1|
|Elevation in m||331|
|Amount of newly ridden kms in Berlin from wandrer.earth||31.9|
A proper spring day before yet another drop in temperatures meant I took on a longer Stage of the Grand Tour de Öffentliche Verkehrsmittel. Today I would be following bus routes that service some of the north western districts of Berlin and also dipped out of Berlin and into the neighbouring town of Falkensee (Falcon Lake).
I decided not to inject basal insulin before today’s Stage since this tactic had worked well for the recent longer Stages. During this Stage through, this tactic was less successful – more on that later! My blood glucose was quite high throughout the night so taking this plus breakfast into account, I slightly reduced the bolus insulin for breakfast and did not correct for the higher blood glucose. The aim being that cycling would drive my blood glucose levels down.
I headed out – in shorts! – towards the Zoologischer Garten bus terminus for the start of the 109 bus route. This bus route ends at Flughafen Tegel and Nadja and I have used this route quite often when travelling to and from Tegel Airport. The start of the 109 route differs from the X9 (from Stage 26) as the 109 travels along Kurfürstendamm before turning north at Adenauerplatz while the X9 takes the most direct route northwards. In fact, it is only after Jungfernheide where the routes of the 109 and X9 buses merge on their paths to Tegel Airport. Similar to Stage 26, Tegel Airport was very empty and not a taxi was to be seen!
I cycled towards the Haselhorst U-Bahn station which was the start of the N33 bus route. I passed by the most retro building that is part of Tegel Airport, I really hope that a suitably retro dress code is strictly enforced!
The N33 route heads north from Haselhorst over two (old and new) parts of the canal Berlin-Spandauer Schifffahrtskanal (Berlin-Spandau Shipping Canal and yes, those are three f’s!). Next up was Bernauer Straße which passes between the Tegeler See (Tegel Lake) and the Jungfernheide (Maiden Heath) forest. This is a fantastic road to cycle on as it is well-paved, the wide cycle path is on the road and clearly marked. BUT there is a section where the bike path goes missing because it is used for cars to park when visiting the lake and/or forest. The rather alarming and sudden change means you have to cycle on the road between parked and moving vehicles which is not ideal.
Once getting out of nature, the N33 passes by some high rise blocks that I think have some of the most stunning artwork. The final stretch of the N33 passes through the Borsigwalde district before terminating at the An der Mühle (At the Mill) bus terminus near the Tegeler Hafen (Tegel Harbour).
I was already feeling a bit hungry and my blood glucose was slowly trending downwards so I decided to eat one of my homemade energy bars before heading towards the Tegel S-Bahn station for the N25 bus route. This S-Bahn station is not connected to Tegel Airport and I believe many tourists have been deceived by this naming convention when they did indeed want to go to the airport instead of the centre of Tegel district.
I passed by the Tegeler Hafen where an older lady noted that I was “nackig angezogen” – literally: dressed nakedly (wonderful oxymoron) – and wondered whether I was feeling cold! I found this amusing and told her (from a safe distance) that this was actually a warm day for cycling around 🙂
The N25 bus route takes passengers between the Tegel and Hermsdorf districts. Both these districts are heavily forested with large residential areas full of nice houses. The N25 bus route makes a byline along Hermsdorfer Damm towards the Hermsdorf S-Bahn station before terminating at the intersection of Hermsdorfer Damm and Berliner Straße.
The next bus route – the 324 – started at the Scharfenberg (Sharp / Spicy Mountain) which is a tiny bus terminus in the Tegeler Forst next to the Strandbad Tegelsee (Tegel Lake Beach Lido). So I made my way from Hermsdorf back to Tegel through the Tegeler Forst and since it was such a nice day there were quite a few small groups of people (couples and families) enjoying the nature on offer.
The 324 bus route heads out of the forest and into the Konradshöhe (Conrad Heights) district. This is a district full of nice houses with the nicest along the riverbanks of the Havel. The bus route continues northwards and passes next to the Heiligensee (Holy Lake) before terminating at the Dorfanger (village green) of the Heiligensee district.
My blood sugar was pretty high and not really budging, so I injected some insulin. After this, I headed towards the S-Bahn station of Heiligensee – a few kilometres north from the end of the 324 bus route – as this was the starting point for the N24 bus route.
The N24 bus route heads towards the Tegel district along Ruppiner Chaussee which is a nice quiet road parallel to the Berlin-Hamburg Autobahn that cuts through the Tegeler Forst. This is another popular road for cyclists, particularly those heading towards the town of Hennigsdorf. After getting to Tegel, the bus route heads eastwards into the Wittenau district before looping in the Märkisches Viertel similar to the 122 bus route that I covered in Stage 18.
The final stop of the N24 bus is at the Wilhelmsruher Damm bus terminus at the border between the Märkisches Viertel and Rosenthal districts. The Berlin Wall used to run along the border between these districts as well. I was getting hungry and my blood glucose was still not budging so I decided to eat an energy bar and inject 2 units of bolus insulin. Not more than a minute passed after injecting that I got a “Fall Rate” alarm from my CGM where my blood sugar was finally trending downwards. This was not good news since now I would have too much insulin on board for the final part of the Stage so I’d have to pay more attention to how my blood glucose would behave.
The X33 bus route which started at my current location was next. This express bus route between the Märkisches Viertel and Spandau starts by heading back towards the Borsigwalde district that I passed through earlier on during the Stage. I could then cycle once again on the awesome Bernauer Straße which has the same parked car caveat that I mentioned during the N33 route previously.
The final section of the X33 route heads along Am Juliusturm (At Julius’ Tower) past many redbrick factories and over the Havel where the Zitadelle (Citadel) and the Schleuse Spandau (Spandau Lock) are found. The route heads round the Altstädter Ring (Old Town Ring) and towards the Spandau train station which is an important hub for long-distance and regional trains and has both U-Bahn and S-Bahn services!
The next bus route was the 337 route starting from the Spandau station and ending at the Falkensee (Falcon Lake) train station. This route makes a beeline for the Falkenseer Chaussee that heads directly towards Falkensee (not surprisingly). The Berlin Wall Path runs along the border between Berlin and Falkensee since they were previously separated by the Berlin Wall. There are also memorial plaques to people who died when trying to escape East Germany in this area.
Once in Falkensee, the bus route passes next to many modern retail stores. Here the cycling is pretty good and this section is certainly the high point when cycling in Falkensee (I have passed through here during previous cycling trips not related to this Grand Tour – such as the Tour de Embassies). The next sections that pass through the central part of Falkensee are terrible for cyclists.
The first section past the Spandauer Platz roundabout puts you on a road with single-lane traffic that has no space for cyclists. Thankfully today this was okayish because the traffic was reduced but it’s still not fun. The alternative is to cycle on a very uneven pavement that is not even completely paved – not really an option when on a road bike.
The final stretch along Bahnhofstraße (Station Street) leads – unsurprisingly – towards the train station. Here I could only cycle on the pavement since it is a designated multi-use path. At least it’s well paved, but still Falkensee seems to only want vehicles to be able to efficiently pass through its streets.
Once I reached the final stop of the 337 bus route at the train station, I got the CGM alarm that I was expecting – another “fall rate” alert indicating that my blood glucose was dropping. I took on an energy gel and ate the final piece of the current batch of my energy bars. There was only one more bus route left before getting home so I guessed that this would be enough carbs to counter the exercise and insulin.
I made my way from Falkensee back into Berlin and towards the U-Bahn station at Rohrdamm for the start of the N23 bus route. The Rohrdamm U-Bahn station is located right in the middle of Siemensstadt where many of the large Siemens factories are found.
The N23 bus route heads on Rohrdamm (Pipe Dam) towards the Berlin-Spandauer Schifffahrtskanal (Boat Canal). It passes under the old Siemensbahn (Siemens Train Line) tracks and next to the Siemensstadt train station too. The final stretch of this short night bus route services the apartment blocks parallel to the canal and ends at the Mäckeritzwiesen (Damp Meadows) bus terminus on the opposite side of the canal.
That was the final – from a total of eight – bus routes for today’s Stage. All that was left was to get back home. I was pretty hungry by now and Nadja had bought empanadas for me which was a lovely surprise. By the time I got home, my sugar was again dropping, so eating yummy empanadas was medically necessary as well!
Taking care of blood glucose was more prominent during this Stage than many others but I still dealt with it well. Despite the extra challenges, it was – as always – great fun being outside in warm weather! I will take a few days off the bike to recover before the next Stage, since my legs were feeling quite tired. Recovery is important too.