|Distance in km||120.0|
|Elevation in m||676|
|Amount of newly ridden kms from wandrer.earth||37.9|
Some nice sunny but cool weather presented an opportunity to tick off another longer Stage of this Grand Tour. This Stage would cover the U1 underground route, the S7 S-Bahn route and one of the longer bus routes between south and central Berlin. It would be a great and varied Stage to cycle!
After the usual pre-Stage preparations of reducing my basal and bolus insulin, I headed out towards the bus terminus at Zoologischer Garten. I cycled along the Landwehrkanal (Land Army Canal) and enjoyed the trees in full bloom – spring is well and truly here.
The first public transport route was the N1, which is the night replacement bus service for the U1 underground line. I slightly modified the N1 route by starting it at Uhlandstraße which is the first stop of the U1 underground line but not part of the N1 bus route. After this slight detour, I followed the N1/U1 route all the way towards Warschauer Straße.
The first section of the U1 passes along the high-class shopping avenue of Kurfürstendamm and then along the high-street of Tautzienstraße, which also houses the famous KaDeWe (Kaufhaus des Westens, Shopping Mall of the West) department store. At a traffic light stop, I noticed a clear booth on top of a corner kiosk. This is a protected building that is the last remaining Verkehrskanzel (Traffic Pulpit) where a police officer would manually control traffic lights before these were automated.
Once the U1 reaches Nollendorffplatz, the underground trains run on overground tracks all the way until its final terminus at Warschauer Straße. These overground tracks were the very first built by the city of Berlin when it decided to adopt an inner city train service. This section was chosen as it was (at the time) one of the poorer areas in Berlin. The richer people who lived around Leipziger Straße didn’t want such a monstrosity.
Also the reason for the tracks being built overground and not underground was that the local council were afraid of damages to the newly built sewer system. The underground section of the U1 (that I had just cycled through) was built later once the administration’s fears were allayed.
The U1/N1 route spends some time parallel to the Landwehrkanal which meant I would cycle along the Schöneberger and Tempelhofer Ufer roads. Normally this would be pretty tough as these roads are full of traffic and don’t have a dedicated cycle land. But these roads now have one of the pop-up bike lanes that were incorporated to allow cyclists to keep to physical distancing rules. I really hope this one becomes a permanent lane as it really increases the safety of cyclists. I’m ignoring the van that was parked in the pop-up bike lane though as the benefits outweighed this.
The final section of the U1/N1 passed through the district of Kreuzberg and during the time of the Cold War, the final stop of this line was at the Schlesisches Tor station. This is a beautiful station but is currently being restored so I couldn’t take a picture of it. The final stop of the U1/N1 is over the Oberbaumbrücke (Over Tree Bridge) at the Warschauer Straße station. This is a beautiful bridge and one of the iconic sights of Berlin. It’s just so picturesque from so many angles!
With the U1/N1 route complete, I headed out further east towards Ahrensfelde for the start of the S7 route. I cycled through the plattenbau estates of Lichtenberg before getting to an amazing cycle path that runs parallel to the district heating pipes in Hohenschönhausen.
Once I reached the Ahrensfelde train station, which is still part of Berlin while other areas of Ahrensfelde belong to Brandenburg – see Stage 12, I had a little food break. My blood glucose was trending downwards so it was a great time to carb-boost by eating a Clif bar before tackling the S7.
The first section of the S7 runs parallel to the Märkische Allee, this is a wide road full of cars and no bike lanes. I was not looking forward to this section but it turned out to be alright in the end but it’s not for the fainthearted! I was feeling much more welcome along the Allee der Kosmonauten – not only because of my love for its name – but because of its bicycle lane.
I then headed into the Friedrichsfelde district and passed by the Alte Börse (Old Stock Exchange) which is a large brewery with an outdoor beer garden. This would fit right in in Friedrichshain or Prenzlauer Berg!
Before reaching the Ringbahn at Ostkreuz, I passed by the large Lichtenberg and the quiet Nöldnerplatz stations. I was now about to pass along the train tracks running through central Berlin that stop at the major stations – Alexanderplatz, Friedrichstraße and Zoologischer Garten to name three of them.
At Friedrichstraße, I also noticed a memorial to the Kindertransport near the main hall and an U-Bahn exit. This was an organised rescue effort to transport children (without their parents) from Germany (and other Nazi occupied areas) to the United Kingdom before the start of the Second World War.
Right before reaching Zoologischer Garten, I had a lunch break in Tiergarten. I was admiring the Canada Geese and comormants at the Neuer See (New Lake) while eating a homemade flapjack. Blood glucose was doing pretty well after the Clif bar at Ahrensfelde but it was time for more food!
I am very familiar with the stretch of the S7 between Charlottenburg and Potsdam, its final station, since this was part of my commute when I worked in Potsdam. After leaving the Ringbahn to head further west, the S7 passes through Grunewald parallel to the Autobahn stretch. There is a fantastic cycle path, the Kronprinzessinnenweg, that I know very well but today I wanted to explore some new trails in the Grunewald instead.
The green of the trees in Grunewald was incredible! Just a few weeks ago they were still leaf-less but now they are in full bloom and it was amazing to cycle through such nature. I noticed that my right foot was moving around too much on the pedal so I decided to stop and see if there was a stone or something in the pedal that was making me not clip in completely. But in fact the cleat was loose on my shoe! I tightened up the bolts and continued on into a section of forest that was unrideable. I hiked with Flash over the fallen trees, brambles and uneven forest floor before eventually getting back to a rideable trail.
I got out of Grunewald and made my way towards the final two stations of the S7 that are still in Berlin – Nikolassee and Wannsee. The rest of the S7 line serves stations in different areas of Potsdam.
In order to get the station at Griebnitzsee, I passed through the Düppler Forst. The trail that I followed meant I had to traverse a tree sandwich and was pretty hilly (by Berlin standards). I crossed the Teltowkanal (Teltow Canal) and into the Neubabelsberg area of Potsdam. This is where the Griebnitzsee Station is located and is frequented by students and scientists based at the nearby campus.
I discovered a neat little wooden area near the train tracks between the Griebnitzsee and Babelsberg stations. This meant that I only had one more station to go – Potsdam Hauptbahnhof (Potsdam Central Station) – to complete the S7 route. My CGM alarm went off indicating that my blood glucose was getting a bit low which was perfect timing since I wanted to have a break at Potsdam Hauptbahnhof anyway.
Once at the end of the S7, I had a coffee and food break in front of the Potsdam train station. I ate my final homemade flapjack and enjoyed my coffee break. My Wahoo cycling computer also wanted a break as it decided to freeze. I restarted the Wahoo and thankfully – just as in Stage 29 – it recovered my ride without losing any data.
The next public transport was the 101 bus route that started in Zehlendorf, very close to the border between Berlin and Brandenburg. This meant a nice cycle through more woods as well as discovering some new bike lanes near the Nuthe river which includes a pretty aggressive sign about dog poo!
The cycle lane that runs parallel to the tram tracks above the Nuthestraße was also pretty nice. This is a road where cycling is illegal so this was a great option to cross both the Nuthe river and this major road.
I passed through the Parforceheide (Parforce Heath) – where German nobles on horseback led endurance hunts with dogs back in the 16th and 17th Centuries. There is a cobbled bridge that took me over the Autobahn and then a nice trail that passes between two old cemeteries. I was now in the town of Stahnsdorf and cycled along the Teltowkanal, passing the Kleinmachnow Schleuse (Kleinmachnow Lock), before getting back into Berlin at the bus terminus at Sachtlebenstraße.
This was the start of the 101 bus route that would be the final public transport route of this Stage. The first section passed through the residential area of southern Zehlendorf before reaching central Zehlendorf and its S-Bahn station. The 101 bus then kept heading northwards through the fancy districts of Dahlem, Friedenau and Wilmersdorf. The final stretch of the bus route cuts across Kurfürstendamm and continues along Leibnizstraße towards Moabit before finally ending at Turmstraße.
Right before the end of this bus route, I needed to take on an energy gel as my blood glucose needed a quick boost right at the end. I took the opportunity on Gotzkowskybrücke (Gotzkowsky Bridge) to take a picture of the majestic rams and have that required energy gel.
I cycled the last few kilometres from Turmstraße to home where I could have something more substantial to eat. It’s nicer on the tummy to have something more solid than pure liquid sugar with additional flavours. This was a fun Stage and yet another S-Bahn and U-Bahn route ticked off!