|Distance in km||132.1|
|Elevation in m||452|
|Amount of newly ridden kms in Berlin from wandrer.earth||49.7|
I had waited patiently after Stage 28 for the promised influx of warmer temperatures and it was finally here! With a high of 20°C forecast for this Stage, I could – for the first time in the Grand Tour – wear short sleeves and shorts. Truly momentous. There would be quite strong winds though.
The only way to properly take advantage of this would be to tackle one of the longer Stages. So this Stage took on 7 public transport routes including the U6 underground line that cuts through Berlin from north to south. My body was still not in a very insulin-sensitive state after resting for most of the previous week so, similar to Stage 28, I only slightly reduced both my basal and bolus insulin amounts before heading out.
I cycled towards the An der Mühle (At the Mill) bus station in the northern district of Tegel for the start of the N6 bus route which is the night replacement service for the U6 underground line. On the way there, I took Flash off-road through the Jungfernheide forest and along the banks of the Tegeler See. The lake was beautifully calm and I saw many different seabirds – including Great crested grebes (Haubentaucher).
When Berlin was split during the Cold War, both end stations of the U6 (Alt-Tegel and Alt-Mariendorf) were in West Berlin. But the central part of the underground line between the stations of Reinickendorfer Straße and Kochstraße passed through East Berlin, so all these stations – except for Friedrichstraße (it was the main transfer station between East and West Berlin) – were closed off. These closed stations were the so-called “Geisterbahnhöfe” (“Ghost-Stations”) and were not shown on the maps of East Berlin.
I started the N6/U6 bus route heading southbound on Berliner Straße and was greeted by the impressive Borsigtor (Borsig Gate) that led to the Borsigwerke – the huge industrial park of the Borsig company. The company was one of the first to produce trains during the industrial revolution in Germany.
The next section of the U6, between Holzhauser Straße and Scharnweberstraße, runs overground because of the high water table in this area of Berlin. After a slight detour at Kurt-Schumacher-Platz, the U6 makes a beeline to central Berlin along Müllerstraße. I was not looking forward to this section as whenever I’ve cycled on Müllerstraße before, it was always battling with the cars because there was no bicycle path. However, I was pleasantly surprised that the majority of Müllerstraße does indeed have a nice wide bicycle path! It’s just the section between Leopoldplatz and Reinickendorfer Straße that doesn’t. Apologies.
The middle section of the U6 heads over the Spree along almost the whole length of Friedrichstraße. I was pretty happy for the reduced traffic on the streets as Friedrichstraße doesn’t have a bicycle path. The lack of traffic was really evident when passing by Checkpoint Charlie. This is normally packed with tourists (KFC implies tourists) but not today!
The U6 crosses the Landwehrkanal at the Hallesches Tor station and continues through Kreuzberg and into Tempelhof. The U6 passes along the main entrance to the former airport at Tempelhof with two stations (Platz der Luftbrücke and Paradestraße) that directly serviced the airport passengers at different times of the airport’s history. When Paradestraße was opened in 1927 (with the name Flughafen or Airport), it was the first metro station in the world to provide direct access to an airport. But in the 1930s, Tempelhof airport was rebuilt with the Platz der Luftbrücke station providing access and not Paradestraße.
The next section along Tempelhofer Damm doesn’t have a bicycle path so I was cycling with the traffic on this congested road. But a nice new change is that most of this road has a speed limit of 30 kph (to decrease air pollution) so it felt a lot safer than before. In fact once I made it to Mariendorfer Damm for the final stretch of the U6, the speed limit is now 50 kph and this really makes a difference for cycling safety.
The U6 crosses the Teltow Canal by passing through a concrete box that was especially built below the road deck of Tempelhofer Damm. What a fantastic piece of engineering to accommodate both underground trains and road traffic! The magnificent Ullsteinhaus is found just across the canal. After this, all that was left of the U6 line was to continue on towards it’s terminus at Alt-Mariendorf.
Once at Alt-Mariendorf, I stopped for a food stop. My blood glucose was pretty high considering the efforts of cycling the whole of the U6 route into a strong headwind. So I ate a homemade flapjack and injected some insulin for this food in the hopes that it would also help lower my blood glucose levels soon.
The next public transport route was the N60 that started at the Adlershof S-Bahn station. I cycled there along the Hochspannungsweg (High voltage path!) which runs parallel to the Britzer Garten. There is a strange fountain at the entrance to this garden called the “Fette Henne” or “Fat Hen”. I also passed through the former airfield of Johannesthal that is now a nature reserve. Unfortunately there were no sheep yet – sheep are used here (as well as the Schlossgarten Charlottenburg) for grazing to promote nature conservation.
The N60 bus route is a night bus service running between S-Adlershof and Flughafen Schönefeld (Schönefeld Airport). This route passes through the Altglienicke district using some similar roads as the 160 bus route from Stage 8. As expected the Schönefeld Airport was pretty deserted and I only saw a total of 10 people at the main terminal! Most of those people were either airport employees or police officers.
I ate a homemade energy ball before the next public transport route – the 164 bus route that starts at the airport. This bus route heads back through the Altglienicke and Adlershof district similar to the N60 route that I just followed. In Adlershof, I passed by the Isothermische Kugellabore (Isothermal ball laboratories) that were built for metallurgy experiments in 1961.
The 164 bus route then heads towards the Dahme river first along Glienicke Weg and then Grünaer Straße. The bus route crosses the Dahme using the Lange Brücke and then passes through the lovely old town of Köpenick. The final stop of the 164 route at the S-Bahn station of Köpenick at the end of Bahnhofstraße.
I cycled back towards the Schlossplatz Köpenick at the banks of the river Dahme for the next bus route. I passed over a fantastic pedestrian/cyclist bridge called Katzengrabensteg (Cat Trench Plank) which is named after an artificially created watercourse from the south bank of the Spree in the old town area.
The terminus of the night bus N90 is at the Schlossplatz Köpenick and heads through the old town and Bahnhofstraße exactly as the previous 164 bus route. The N90 bus route heads further north into the district of Mahlsdorf (or Pi-dorf). Now that I was heading northwards, it was great to have the wind helping me along in contrast to early when following the U6 route!
The stretch of Mahlsdorf between the S-Bahn stations of Köpenick and Mahlsdorf is pretty nondescript. The only thing of note was a car driver completely cutting me off when turning right without looking! Thankfully, I was fully aware and managed to yank on the brakes in time and nothing happened. I was pretty angry though as if I wasn’t paying attention it would have led to a nasty crash. Always pays to cycle defensively even when cycling on a dedicated cycle path.
The final stretch of the N90 bus route was through the Kaulsdorf district which has some great and colourful apartment blocks. The final stop of this bus route was at the Wuhletal S- and U-Bahn station. I ate my second flapjack of this ride in front of the Wuhletal station and was beginning to feel rather tired. Partially I guess because I’m not used to riding in the sun (I was definitely regretting not putting on suncream) but also I could feel that my body wasn’t working right. My blood glucose was doing alright now but I needed more slow-acting carbs for the rest of the Stage.
The next bus route was the 291 bus route between the Wuhletal S- and U-Bahn station and the S-Bahn station of Marzahn. This is a pretty short bus route that passes through many of the main streets of the Kaulsdorf and Marzahn districts – including my favourite: Allee der Kosmonauten (Cosmonaut Avenue). The bus service the many residents of numerous high rise blocks in these districts. The final stretch is along the main street of Märkische Allee until the Marzahn S-Bahn station. This is a horrible street to cycle on – it has no cycle path, 3 lanes for vehicular traffic plus exit ramps to Landsberger Allee.
From the Marzahn S-Bahn station, I headed out towards Pankow for the start of the 155 bus route at Masurenstraße. I ate my final energy ball in a desperate attempt for energy powers to get me through the rest of the stage. I only had two more public transport routes to go!
The 155 bus route heads from Pankow through the Schönholz district before ending in the Wilhelmsruh district. This bus route connects the S-Bahn stations of these districts – an important feature as they run on different S-Bahn lines.
I cycled towards Quickborner Straße for the final bus route of today’s stage. I had a different type of scare at the bus terminus as my Wahoo Elemnt bike computer froze! I was really hoping that the ride was not lost when restarting the bike computer. But thankfully all the data was there and I could load the route for the X21 bus route.
The X21 is the express bus that complements the M21 bus route from Stage 22 by passing along a very similar route but with fewer stops. The X21 passes through the high rise blocks of the Märkisches Viertel and then starts heading southwards along Oranienburger Straße. This meant full-on headwind again which was pretty tough given that my energy reserves were running low.
The X21 passes along Kurt-Schumacher-Damm between the Berlin Autobahn and Tegel Airport (no planes to be seen or heard) before the final stop at the very yellow U-Bahn station of Jakob-Kaiser-Platz. That was the final public transport stop for this Stage!
I made it back home safely and happy to be out of the sun, putting my legs up and eating some food. I was really tired after this Stage – more than I would’ve expected. I think this was the combination of being pretty sun burnt and that my body wasn’t really using insulin properly. It’s a bit hard to explain but when your body is using carbs and insulin properly it runs smoothly and you don’t have to think about the effort. But when it’s not, you have to battle mentally and physically so much more for the same effort – like having to cycle through sand. That’s my best analogy. I hope to rest up well before the next Stage – it will be shorter than this one that’s for sure!