Ninja Cycles Part 1 – Falkenhagener See and Eiskeller

Date07.05.2020
Strava Activityhttps://www.strava.com/activities/3413597768
BikesJane – Flash, Nadja – Severus
Distance in km42.7
Elevation in m223
Amount of newly ridden kms from wandrer.earth12.8
Blood glucose values during the ride

Nadja and I planned for a relaxed cycling tour together during what was originally supposed to be a longer cycling holiday. But the Covid-19 lockdown meant we had to throw away those plans and come up with new ones! The plan was that Nadja would take a week off work and that we would spend more non-working time together at home but also explore some of Berlin’s nature together on two-wheels.

The first trip that we did together was to cycle to Kladow as part of Stage 37 of the Grand Tour de Öffentliche Verkehrsmittel. This was certainly a lot of fun and a few (rainy) days later we planned for another ride together. This time we would head to the Falkenhagener See (Falkenhagen Lake) and explore the Spandauer Forst (Spandau Forest). 

Flash and Severus at the Großer Spektesee / Great Spekte Lake

We woke up to overcast skies but the hourly forecast showed that the sun would be out in the early afternoon. So we moved our initial plans of setting off in the morning to heading off after lunch. We had some tasty empanadas from one of our favourite local Cafes, the Hängemate (a pun on the words Hammock and Mate, a type of South America tea), which specialises in Uruguayan food. 

The empanadas usually lead to my blood glucose shooting up – they are made of lots of pastry after all – so I injected about half the amount of bolus insulin that I normally would. I guessed that the cycling would help balance out the carbs and insulin, leading to stable blood glucose – or at least that was the theory. In hindsight, I should have factored in that my body is more insulin sensitive after lunch so I actually needed to inject less bolus insulin before cycling. This meant that I had to stop many times to eat extra carbs to avoid my blood glucose from going too low. My CGM was also critical in making sure that I could eat before it was too late.

Nadja and I at the Großer Spektesee / Great Spekte Lake

After patiently waiting for the weather to brighten up, we headed out on our bikes – Nadja on Severus the mountain bike and me on Flash as it was set up with my accessories ever since becoming my go-to bike during the Grand Tour de Öffentliche Verkehrsmittel. We headed out towards Spandau along some fairly busy roads so it was great to finally get to some nature – the Großer Spektesee (Great Spekte Lake).

The Großer Spektesee and adjacent park were created during mining excavations in the 1960s. The lake bed had to be cleared of building rubble to ensure the water quality for swimming to be allowed – in fact it is only since 2016 that swimming has been permitted in the Großer Spektesee! 

Neuer See / New Lake

After circling the lake, we cycled along a lovely cycle path that takes you to the border of Falkensee and Berlin where the Berlin Wall used to be. We cycled through the shopping area of Falkensee before heading on Humboldtallee which would take us to our planned stop at the Falkenhagener See.

Eating a flapjack at the Neuer See / New Lake

The Falkenhagener See has a tiny man-made neighbouring lake called the Neuer See (New Lake), these two lakes are separated by a nice dam full of trees and great views of both lakes. We stopped for a bite to eat at one of the designated rest places complete with a bench and rubbish bin before getting to the Seepromenade (Lake Promenade) road. 

The Madagascan Embassy is located here, and was one of my stops during Stage 1 of the Tour de Embassies. It still strikes me as strange that this is the only international embassy located outside of Berlin. But then again a lakeside Embassy is pretty nice too! 

Seepromenade / Lake Promenade

While navigating the cobbles of the Seepromenade, we passed by a very impressive red villa which really stands out from the rest of the houses in the area! Once we circled back around the Falkenhagener See, there were no more cobbles. Now we had some nicely paved streets (ideal for the lakeside houses) before cycling along the banks of the lake. We took another lakeside picture stop and I spotted a woodpecker bashing away at a nearby tree.

Nadja with the Falkenhagener See / Falkenhagen Lake

We circled back around to get to the edge of the Spandauer Forst and the Eiskeller (Ice Cellar) section. This area is called so because it is typically the place with the coldest temperatures in Berlin. The Eiskeller area is historically an area with family farms that led to some interesting facts during the Cold War: Eiskeller is located in the district of Spandau that was part of West Berlin but it was surrounded by the border with East Germany. The three families that lived in Eiskeller were connected to the rest of West Berlin by a narrow road strip.

Memorial of the Berliner Mauer / Berlin Wall at Eiskeller / Ice Cellar

Another interesting story that is also told on the Berlin Wall memorial is that of a boy, who in 1961, claimed that he was stopped on his way from Eiskeller to the school in Berlin-Spandau by East German policemen. The British (who controlled the district of Spandau) escorted the boy to school in an armoured scout car. 33 years later, the boy (now man) confessed that he had only made the story up in order to skip school! The whole story is found in this German newspaper article.

Nadja and the lush trees of the Spandauer Forst / Spandau Forest

After that history lesson, we did some exploring of the beautiful Spandauer Forst. I needed a carb pitstop and Nadja wanted to pose with some lush trees. We took a detour from the Berliner Mauerweg (Berlin Wall Path) to get to some of the ditches that were built in the 18th Century in the forest to help in balancing out the water table. This was needed since the town of Spandau (it was not part of Berlin at this time) used the water from the forest too intensively.

Kuhlake / Cow Lake

We headed southwards back towards the streets of Spandau mainly along the banks of the Kuhlake (Cow Lake). The reflections of the trees and reeds on the water were really lovely – good thing we waited for the sun to come out so we could properly enjoy these views. We crossed some disused train tracks before carefully navigating the Hundeauslaufgebiet (Dog Running Area) where dog owners are allowed to let their dogs run free within this area.

Me and Flash at the river Havel

We had now made it back to Spandau and headed back home. Nadja wanted her own food pitstop, so we stopped on the Juliusturmbrücke (Julius Tower Bridge) for a bite to eat. From this bridge, you can also see the meeting of the Havel and Spree rivers – plus there was a diving cormorant to spy on as well. The final stretch of the tour was through Siemensstadt and its lovely brick factories which soon brought an end to a thoroughly enjoyable bike ride.

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