|Distance in km||94.4|
|Elevation in m||337|
|Amount of newly ridden kms from wandrer.earth||24.0|
After Chaingate from Stage 44, Nick thought that he and his bike were ready to join for another Stage of the Grand Tour de Öffentliche Verkehrsmittel. (Spoiler: Oh how wrong he was.)
We decided to meet at the bus terminus of Osloer Straße. I overslept as I relied on the construction site next door to wake me up but nope, turns out that when I wanted them to wake me up earlier, they took the morning off. Typical.
I kind of rushed through my breakfast and injected a reduced amount of basal and bolus insulin. Or at least, I thought I did! I am now pretty sure that I didn’t inject any bolus insulin at all – not ideal.
So Nick and I met at Osloer Straße slightly later than expected for the start of the 255 bus. This bus route headed into the district of Pankow and then into Weißensee. Since Weißensee was one of the areas where Nick’s chain came off during Stage 44, there was quite a bit of banter about whether his chain would survive this Stage.
This was premature, as once we got to some cobbles on Berliner Allee, Nick’s back tyre exploded! I turned around and we moved his bike into a safe area to fix the puncture. The inner tube had huge holes in it and since Nick had no spares, I gave him my spare inner tube. This new tube was for Flash’s wider wheels so it was quite sketchy fitting it in the rear wheel. Nick was understandably nervous about pumping it up too much to avoid it getting pinched between the rim and the tyre bead. But then again, too little tyre pressure increases the likelihood of pinch flats too. A risky situation indeed.
While Nick was working on the back wheel, I checked my blood glucose and it was super high! I injected one unit of bolus insulin thinking that this was just a correction after the breakfast “injection”. Once we were ready to carry on cycling, we completed the remaining (short) stretch of the 255 bus route. This bus route terminated at Darßer Straße not far from Tubegate Part 1.
With the first bus route complete, we cycled towards the Springpfuhl station in Marzahn. We joked about how these mechanicals only occur when I’m around, but I blame Weißensee! Along the way through Alt-Hohenschönhausen, Nick hit a minor bump in the road and I thought that the infamous rear tyre looked like it was losing air. Turns out this was Tubegate Part 2!
Nick accepted his fate and abandoned the Stage. Real Grand Tour drama for him! In his rush to leave, he forgot money, his public transport ticket and a mask so he decided to walk the 12 km home! The only consolation was that this didn’t happen at the easternmost point of this Stage in Hellersdorf.
We parted ways and I continued on with the rest of the Stage. On the way to Springpfuhl, I also kept an eye out for bike shops to buy a new spare inner tube – just in case I got hit by a case of Tubegate.
The Springpfuhl station, which is the start of the tram 18, is located on Allee der Kosmonauten – my favourite street name – and even used the tram tracks on Allee der Kosmonauten until reaching Landsberger Allee. From here the tram 18 route headed into the district of Hellersdorf using a similar route as the M6 tram from Stage 48. This meant I could admire the Yuri Gagarin – one of the most famous cosmonauts – mural again before reaching the final stop of the tram 18 at Riesaer Straße.
I was still on the look out for a bike shop – the only one that I found was closed! I decided to head to the start of the X54 bus route at Nossener Straße and hope that I would pass by a shop during this bus route. While at Nossener Straße, I stopped for a food break. My blood glucose was now within range but not as low as I would’ve expected if I had injected as much bolus insulin as I thought for breakfast. At this point, I hadn’t realised my error so I ate my flapjack without injecting any bolus insulin before starting the X54 bus route.
The X54 bus route headed out of Hellersdorf and into Marzahn using mainly the same roads as the tram 18 from earlier. But instead of turning onto Allee der Kosmonauten, the X54 bus headed towards the Marzahn S-Bahn and bus terminus before getting to Neu-Hohenschönhausen.
Once I reached Falkenberger Chaussee in Neu-Hohenschönhausen, I spotted a bike shop! I stopped and bought a spare tube which gave me much peace of mind for the remainder of the Stage. The X54 bus route then headed into Weißensee again – a good thing that Nick wasn’t around! – and crossed the 255 bus route from earlier. The X54 bus route passed by the lovely building that housed the Sternradio (Star Radio) factory that built radios for East Germans. Great to see that this building was restored as it was in a dangerous state of disrepair after German reunification.
The final stretch of the X54 bus route took me through Heinersdorf before I reached the final terminus at Masurenstraße in Pankow. This was not far from the start of the next and final bus route of this Stage. I cycled from Masurenstraße up to the bus terminus of Hadlichstraße which is very close to the Pankow S- and U-Bahn station.
While at Hadlichstraße, I checked on my blood glucose and it was incredibly high – nearly 400 mg/dL! This was not good and I now fully realised that I didn’t inject any bolus insulin for breakfast. I injected 2 units of bolus insulin and hoped that the rest of the Stage would lower my blood glucose to safe levels. This did explain why I was super thirsty and getting quite annoyed at things that don’t normally annoy me. While contemplating all this, Nick messaged that he had made it safely home and still hopes to join me for one of the remaining Stages. I’ll make sure it doesn’t pass through Weißensee.
Hadlichstraße was the start of the N2 night bus which is the night bus replacement for the U2 underground line. The central section of the U2 is part of the very first section of the underground train system built in Berlin and is also common to the U1 from Stage 40. During the Cold War, the U2 was also cut in two separate sections servicing both West and East Berlin.
In fact, the first part of the N2 that I followed was the East Berlin section. From Pankow, the U2 line passed through Prenzaluer Berg along the overground tracks on Schönhauser Allee. This is a very popular area in Berlin and full of cafes, shops, pedestrians and cyclists.
From Prenzlauer Berg, I followed the U2 line towards Alexanderplatz – the centre of East Berlin – but first I stopped at Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz. Here two important cultural buildings are found – the Volksbühne (People’s Stage) and the Kino Babylon (Babylon Cinema). The Volksbühne was built in 1913 to allow people not from the wealthiest classes to attend theatre productions. The Kino Babylon was built in 1928 to show silent films so it has an orchestra pit and cinema organ for the full silent film experience! The cinema is still used for special viewings and I have seen the Nosferatu silent film here complete with cinema organ – a great experience and very different to cinema trips nowadays.
After passing Alexanderplatz, the U2 headed towards Potsdamer Platz meaning I had to cycle on the very trafficky Leipziger Straße. The station of Mohrenstraße is parallel to Leipziger Straße and was the terminus of the U2 line that serviced East Berlin.
The U2 then made its way towards the station of Bülowstraße and the oldest section of underground lines in Berlin. No trains used this section during the Cold War and so parts of the tracks were used as restaurants and even a Turkish Bazaar! The ornate station of Bülowstraße is flanked by lots of fantastic street art – a juxtaposition I quite like.
I reached Wittenbergplatz, which was the start of the U2 that ran in West Berlin, and finally the scaffolding that surrounded the station for restoration works was removed! This was the first time during this Grand Tour that I could appreciate this historic station. I stopped to buy some more water from a nearby kiosk and then admired the historic station that leads onto the fancy shopping streets of Tauentzienstraße and Kurfürstendamm.
Once the U2 passed the Zoologischer Garten station – the main train station of West Berlin – it headed along Hardenbergstraße towards Ernst-Reuter-Platz and then onto Bismarkstraße for its final stretch. Bismarkstraße is another very busy street and one that I have cycled countless times so I knew this section of the U2 very well.
The U2 headed up the hill on Kaiserdamm towards Theodor-Heuss-Platz and then onto Reichsstraße. The U2 has a stop at the Olympiastadion but the N2 replacement service does not, I guess there aren’t too many passengers during the night. The final U2 stop is at the station of Ruhleben (Quiet Life) – another overground section of the line!
That was the final public transport route of this eventful Stage. My blood glucose was dropping fast after the bolus insulin injection at Hadlichstraße and I contemplated whether to take on food for the final section until I got home or not. I decided not to eat anything and soft pedal it back home. This was not a good decision and by the time I got to the International Congress Center (ICC), my blood glucose was low so I had an energy gel. This got me home safely. The rest of the day was quite a write-off as my body did not like that rollercoaster ride. I felt way more tired than after the previous Stage when I cycled 40 km more! Goes to show how stressful these blood glucose struggles are on the body. I really hope that this doesn’t happen again soon.