|Distance in km||131.4|
|Elevation in m||449|
|Amount of newly ridden kms from wandrer.earth||44.5|
This Stage of the Grand Tour de Öffentliche Verkehrsmittel would be notable for two distinct reasons – it would mark the last visit to Berlin’s airports and I would visit the southernmost part of Berlin for the first (and last) time during the Grand Tour. It would be a long day on the bike so I prepared by having my usual porridge and reducing my basal and bolus insulin. I had no illusions that the blood glucose would behave as well as during the previous Stage but I would at least aim for that!
I headed out towards the bus terminus at Zoologischer Garten for the start of the 204 bus route. This bus route follows many of the main streets between the districts of Mitte and Schöneberg. It also passes underneath the large block of flats called the Pallasseum before getting to Hauptstraße (Main Street) where I looked for the house that David Bowie lived in during the 1970s. I didn’t find the house, maybe it was on the other side of the street.
The final stretch of the 204 bus route was similar to the 106 bus route from Stage 20, where I was hoping to get nice views of the Gasometer. But the trees are so leafy that I couldn’t see this impressive structure! The end of the 204 is at the Südkreuz station that was just eastwards of the Gasometer.
Next, I cycled towards Hermannplatz for the next bus route – the 171. This turned out to be rather eventful! Cycling along Manfred-von-Richthofen-Straße is pretty awkward as it has a single lane for cars and cyclists sandwiched between a row of parked cars and a large traffic island. In these cases, I take the lane and cycle in the middle of the lane to avoid cars narrowly overtaking and any possible dooring events. On this day, a car decided to overtake me during the few meter’s space offered by a gap in the traffic island. This was an incredibly close pass! To rub salt in the wound, the driver of the car behind yelled at me that I should cycle closer to the parked cars! These people are obviously not cyclists and do not know of the new regulations that cars have to overtake cyclists with at least 1.5 m of space.
This decidedly pissed me off and I was rather grumpy until cycling along the building of the former Tempelhof airport. This area has fewer cars and I was back to cycling along some interesting buildings – such as the lovely Şehitlik Mosque and a memorial to Miss Columbia, the plane that flew the first trans-Atlantic passenger from New York to Berlin.
Once I reached the busy Hermannplatz in Neukölln, I tailed the 171 bus route along the Maybachufer (Maybach River Bank) over the Neuköllner Schifffahrtskanal (Neukölln Shipping Canal). Along the Harzer Straße, a beautiful brick building caught my eye – the Geyer-Werke – where the oldest film post-production company in Germany (founded in 1911) was located. The company doesn’t exist any longer but the factory is understandably a listed-building which now houses other companies.
The 171 bus route made its way along the Ringbahn with stops at the Sonnenallee and Neukölln stations. After this, the 171 bus crossed the Teltowkanal (Teltow Canal) and followed one long street (even though its name changes at different intersections) through the districts of southern Neukölln towards Flughafen Schönefeld (Schönefeld Airport).
I was starting to get a bit hungry and decided for a food stop at the Rudower Fließ (Rudow Stream). My blood glucose was doing well but this was a good opportunity to take on some long acting carbs.I had stopped here during Stage 33 so I knew that I would be stopping in a pretty park to eat a homemade flapjack. This green area was a nice change from all the main streets that the 171 bus followed.
After the quick food stop, I continued on the route of the 171 bus out of Berlin. I soon reached the grounds of the Flughafen Schönefeld. This was the end of the 171 bus route and I was very surprised at how little was going on at the airport. There were only five flights scheduled to leave in the next four hours! But looking back, it makes sense since the lockdown has loosened for people within Germany but not so much for international travellers.
That was the final visit to one of Berlin’s airports during the Grand Tour de Öffentliche Verkehrsmittel. I really appreciated the lockdown and the huge reduction of traffic at the airports (Tegel and Schönefeld) as this really made me feel safer cycling to the airports. The reduction in traffic from the first visit to Flughafen Schönefeld back in Stage 8 is really quite incredible!
I cycled along the Autobahn on some wonderful cycle lanes towards the town of Waltersdorf. Not to be confused with the town on Woltersdorf from Stages 23 and 15, that change in vowel makes all the difference – gotta love German!
Waltersdorf was the start of the 263 bus route that headed towards the Bohnsdorf district of Berlin. On the way, I cycled through a large commercial centre with large outlets of furniture, media and food stores. Ideal for the times you wanted to buy a bookcase after landing at Flughafen Schönefeld!
Once the 263 bus reached Bohnsdorf, it followed the same streets of the N62 bus from Stage 13 until it reached its terminus at the Grünau train station. On the way to the Grünau station, I was using the pavement since this was marked as a multi-use path before it suddenly was marked just for pedestrian use. I didn’t feel safe swerving out onto the rather trafficky road so I stayed on the pavement. Right before I got to the bicycle path marked on the road, a man decided to yell at me for using the pavement while standing in the road. I also doubt that he ever used such confusing and unsafe instructions for cyclists!
Grünau station was the starting point for the next public transport route which was the short 363 bus route. This bus route essentially takes people from the Grünau station to the Krankenhaus Hedwigshöhe (Hedwig Heights Hospital). On the street leading up to the hospital, there were many new apartments being constructed. This is a pretty nice area – close to forests, the Autobahn and Schönefeld Airport.
The next bus route would start at the Moßkopfring (Moss Head Ring) which is the southernmost part of Berlin that can be reached on land. The border between Berlin and Brandenburg is located further south in the middle of the river Dahme. But I can’t cycle there, so Moßkopfring would be the southernmost part of Berlin during the Grand Tour de Öffentliche Verkehrsmittel.
I was particularly looking forward to this part of the Stage as I would cycle through the Berliner Stadtforst (Berlin City Forest) in Grünau and the wooded areas on the Rauchfangswerder (Smoke Catching Holm). Cycling through nature away from cars and shouting men was just what I needed!
In the Berliner Stadtforst, I visited the Krumme Lake Grünau which flows through the forest. This is not to be confused with the Krumme Laake in the Müggelheim district on the other side of the river Dahme. Ah German, so unmistakably clear in naming distinct places.
I made it to the district of Schmöckwitz which is surrounded by water so understandably there are lots of swimming and boating areas. This was especially true on the Rauchfangswerder peninsula – there were lots of little bathing spots in the woods. But there is also a Water Rescue Station with a lookout tower along the peninsula too.
The small settlement at the tip of the peninsula has its own voluntary fire service and the majority of the houses here have direct access to the river. It’s a short boat ride across the river Dahme to the town of Zeuthen that I visited in Stage 38.
The Moßkopfring was the start of the 168 bus route serviced by an adorable minibus. I ate my final homemade flapjack at the bus stop and even had a little chat with the bus driver. He asked me whether I can reach speeds of 50 – 60 kph on Flash!
After carb-fuelling, I took on the 168 bus route which used the only paved road on the Rauchfangswerder peninsula towards the central Schmöckwitz. This was a beautifully paved road and was brilliant for cycling. The 168 bus route ended at the tram terminus opposite the Schmöckwitzer Kirche (Schmöckwitz Church).
This was also the start of the next public transport route – the tram 68. The first section of this tram route would pass along the river Dahme and through the Berliner Stadtforst up to the Grünau station. This was along the same tram tracks as the tram 60 that I followed in Stage 33. Just as during that Stage, this was glorious for cycling especially now that the sun was out!
Once the tram 68 reached Grünau, it headed towards the old town of Köpenick before ending at the Hirtestraße tram terminus just north of the Köpenick S-Bahn station. Along the way, the tram 68 continued to follow the path of the river Dahme and also passed over the confluence of the Teltowkanal into the river Dahme.
The next public transport route – the N95 – started at the Wuhletal S- and U-Bahn station. I used the trail that runs along the river Wuhle between Köpenick and Wuhletal. This was a beautiful trail where I could enjoy some more of the nature that Berlin has to offer. Once I reached the Wuhletal train station, it was time for a longer stop. I bought a coffee from a stand outside the station and ate a Clif bar. I also injected 1 unit of bolus insulin since this energy bar would have increased my blood glucose too much. My legs were also feeling pretty terrible at this point so I hoped that the extra insulin would make them feel a bit better as well.
After this break, I followed the N95 bus route towards the Kaulsdorf S-Bahn station and further along into Mahlsdorf (I mean, Pi-Dorf). From Mahlsdorf, the N95 headed towards Hönow before ending at the tram station at Riesaer Straße which is right at the border between Berlin and the town of Hönow in Brandenburg.
The final public transport route of this Stage would be the M6 tram which started at the tram station of Riesaer Straße. This tram headed towards central Hellersdorf and then towards the border of Berlin and the town of Eiche from Stage 12.
I remembered that there were some wonderful murals in this area so I made a point of cycling through the residential estates to see the artworks. There was not only a fantastic mural of Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space, but other magnificent artworks too. I’m glad the weather was better than during Stage 12 so the colourful artworks could really pop.
The next section of the M6 tram was along Landsberger Chaussee through the district of Marzahn. The house that was the first freed by the Red Army during the Second World War stands out from all the high-rise blocks in this district.
The district of Lichtenberg was next for the M6 and here I noticed a T-Rex. Not something you normally see in Berlin. It was displayed as part of a dinosaur exhibition. Further down on Landsberger Allee were the lovely brick buildings of the Zwischenpumpwerk Lichtenberg (Lichtenberg intermediate pumping station). This was originally built in the late 1800s and is still used today – after modernisations, of course.
The M6 tram was now close to the end of its route. It passed through Alexanderplatz which was full of people and many anti-racist slogans sprayed onto the temporary construction fences in the area. My blood glucose was dropping at this point so I had a gel to help boost the blood glucose for the remainder of the Stage.
The final stop of the M6 tram was at the station of Hackescher Markt. That was the final public transport route of this Stage. I made my way home with some mixed feelings about this Stage. While the majority of it was wonderful, the incidents of people yelling at me left a bitter taste. Thankfully, these interactions do not happen very often and they will certainly not stop me from cycling on the roads.