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I was back in Berlin after the long weekend Nadja and I spent with her family in the Harz, including a great off-road tour (Ninja Cycles Part 2). Berlin greeted us with stormy weather and heavily overcast skies but that wasn’t going to last long! So with clear and sunny skies forecast a few days later, I planned for another Stage of the Grand Tour de Öffentliche Verkehrsmittel.
This Stage would not be one of the longer ones, since I wanted to test out my legs after the weekend. This would also be one to include a special guest – or at least that was the plan! I woke up with high blood glucose (~170 mg/dL), and decided to slightly reduce my bolus insulin for breakfast without correcting for the high blood glucose. I also slightly reduced my basal insulin.
With those preparations done, I cycled towards Leopoldplatz for the start of the 247 bus route. This was also the meeting point for me and my special guest. Unfortunately he had a flat tyre and needed to change the tube. Once that was done, he noticed a gash in the tyre wall so he had to abandon. Shame but hopefully he can join for the next Stage. While waiting, I had a coffee from The Coffee Man, a coffee stand that was part of the market set up at Leopoldplatz. This was a great decision as it was a really fantastic coffee and The Coffee Man himself was friendly to chat to as well – highly recommended!
I set off solo on the 247 bus route which snakes through the districts of Wedding, Gesundbrunnen and Mitte. Before passing the large Gesundbrunnen train station, I stopped to take a picture of the Humboldthain Flakturm (Flak Tower). This tower was one of three such towers built in Berlin during the Second World War set up with anti-aircraft artillery to defend the city during air raids of the Allied forces.
The final section of the 247 bus route passed through the large industrial complexes that were built in the late 1800s. The last stop was at the Nordbahnhof S-Bahn station – one of the “Geisterbahnhöfe/Ghost Stations” during the Cold War.
The next bus route would be the N50 night bus starting at Tierpark in the district of Friedrichsfelde. I cycled there along Rigaer Straße which is famous for its squats after the fall of the Berlin Wall and still retains its resistant nature to this day.
Once I arrived at the Tierpark U-Bahn station, I stopped for a food and insulin break. It was time to refuel and my blood glucose was much higher than I would like. So I injected 2 units of bolus insulin and ate a Clif Bar plus a yummy energy ball. There is the Märkischer Brunnen am Tierpark (Märkish Fountain at Tierpark), a curious fountain/art installation in the square opposite the main shopping centre. The 3D-esque mural is also very impressive!
I was now ready to tackle the N50 route – this is the longest night bus route that is not a replacement for an U-Bahn line – and would take me northwards through many districts of former East Berlin. The N50 headed towards Lichtenberg and its train station, which is a major transport hub along roads with very bumpy cycle paths.
The N50 passed through the industrial area of Lichtenberg along the Josef-Orlopp-Straße which houses the impressive building of the Konsumgenossenschaft Berlin und Umgegend (Konsum Cooperative of Berlin and its Surroundings). This was founded in 1899 and during the Cold War was the largest cooperative in East Germany and the fourth largest in the world.
After passing through Lichtenberg, the N50 continues northwards into Weißensee. Here I cycled past the large Berliner-Kindl-Schultheiss-Brauerei, which brews one of the most popular beers in Berlin. Further up the road was the entrance to the Sporthalle that is part of the large Sportforum, the large sport complex where Olympic athletes train.
The N50 route headed westwards into Pankow before reaching the district of Französisch Buchholz (French Book Wood). This area housed French refugees after the Thirty Years War and the final stop of the N50 bus was at Hugenottenplatz (Huguenot Square) named after these refugees.
The next bus route – the 259 – started at the Aubertstraße bus terminus that was just further north from Hugenottenplatz. The 259 route started by heading towards the district of Buch along some quiet roads between lots of fields and the Pankow-Nord (North Pankow) industrial area.
The 259 route headed through central Buch along a wonderful road to cycle on – great surface and surrounded beautiful nature. This nature is the Lietzengrabenniederung (Lietzen Trench Lowlands) and is a protected nature reserve. I reached the urban area of Buch and continued on out of Berlin into the Neu-Buch (New Book) estate in Brandenburg.
The 259 bus continued towards the town of Schwanebeck (Swan Stream), heading up to the school and Freizeitzentrum Würfel (Dice Recreational Centre) before making a U-turn and leaving Schwanebeck. I crossed over the Autobahn and enjoyed the wonderful cycle paths between Schwanebeck and Lindenberg (Linden Mountain) – the next Brandenburg town on the route.
Once I reached Lindenberg, my CGM was warning me that my blood glucose was getting a bit too low, so I was on the lookout for a coffee stop. However the only option in Lindenberg was a McDonald’s – I’m very disappointed in Lindenberg but I had to stop to refuel so bought a coffee here anyway. Along with my coffee, I ate another Clif bar and the remaining energy balls – this was enough to fuel the rest of the Stage.
After my fuelling stop, I was soon back in Berlin and the district of Malchow. This street was pretty trafficky with lots of lorries too but there is a wonderful cycle path that is separate from the road making this pretty enjoyable. This road would take me directly towards Weißensee and passed along the lovely Rathaus Pankow (Pankow Town Hall).
The final section of this bus route was along Hansastraße before ending at the bus terminus opposite the Stadion Buschallee (Buschallee Stadium). This is a large sport complex which was one of the first stadiums in Germany to install floodlights!
That was the final public transport route for this Stage. I cycled back home through Pankow and Wedding and discovered some great murals and artwork along the way. This was a great Stage with lots of sun and great cycle paths too – more of the same please!