Tour de Tall Stage 2/4 – Book of Klingenberg

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Date19.05.2021
Strava Activityhttps://www.strava.com/activities/5323971856
BikeSeverus
Distance in km133.2
Elevation in m975
Amount of newly ridden kms from wandrer.earth36.3
Blood glucose values throughout the ride, plus images of the structures

There was some delay between the first and second Stages of the Tour de Tall. Firstly, the variability of spring weather played a part, but secondly – and most importantly – Nadja and I got our first dose of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine. Extremely exciting, however we both laid low for some days due to our immune system responses to the jab. I felt very weak and my high blood glucose didn’t help, so I definitely couldn’t take on such a long Stage without being in tip top shape.

I tested my legs and blood glucose response to exercise using Zwift (an indoor cycling platform). This went well, so I could tackle the second Stage of the Tour de Tall! In preparation for the long day ahead, I reduced both my basal and bolus insulin before eating breakfast and heading out towards Buch (Book), the northernmost district of Berlin.

Schloss Schönhausen / Pretty Houses Palace

I really enjoyed the shock of green from the trees that were now in full spring glory. It’s so lovely how the sunlight reflects off the leaves and gives a very calming feeling. Especially so when cycling through some great parks like the Schlosspark Niederschönhausen (Lower Lovely Houses Palace Park).

12. Kamin Heizkraftwerk Berlin-Buch / Chimney Stack Berlin-Buch Thermal Power Plant

Height120 m
Construction Year1974
Construction TypeNatural gas power plant

The first stop for this Stage, and the twelfth highest structure in Berlin, was the chimney stack of the thermal power plant in Buch. This plant has been expanded since the year 2000 to provide district heating using the nearby waste disposal plant at Schwanebeck. More recent upgrades have made it more environmentally friendly – for a natural gas power plant, mind you.

Stack peeking out from the grounds of the HELIOS hospital

The stack is very imposing and stands out from the grounds of the nearby HELIOS hospital and industrial area. The buildings in both these areas are made of red brick in the Dutch early baroque style, so the concrete stack of the power station is a real contrast.

My blood glucose was dropping from the 30 km cycle to get here, so I ate a homemade flapjack and a gel. This would inject a lot of carbs since I needed to increase my blood glucose before cycling back across Berlin for the next structure. 

Approach Lighting System from former Tegel Airport

I cycled towards the Reuter and Reuter West power stations in Ruhleben. During Stage 1 of the Tour de Tall, I spotted these power plants but from the opposite side of the Spree. Along the way there, I visited the runway of the former Tegel airport where I was disappointed that the old Boeing 707 airplane that stood at the side of the runway has been dismantled.

11. Kaminen Heizkraftwerk Reuter und Reuter West / Chimney Stacks Reuter and Reuter West Thermal Power Plant

Height122 m
Construction YearReuter – 1997, Reuter West – 1987
Construction TypeReuter – Steam from Waste-to-Energy power plant, Reuter West – Fossil fuel power plant

The Reuter Power Plant was originally built in 1927 when it was called Kraftwerk West. The plant was damaged during the Second World War and the parts needed to repair the power plant were flown in during the Berlin Airlift. The power plant was then named after Ernst Reuter, the then mayor of West Berlin, who urged the non-Soviet Allies to start the Berlin Airlift.

Reuter power plant

The Reuter power plant originally burned coal for power production, but now turns its turbines through the steam produced at the BSR Waste-to-Energy plant across the Spree. I visited this plant during Stage 1 and its stack is the sixteenth highest structure in Berlin. 

Stacks of the Reuter West power station

The neighbouring Reuter West power plant was built in the late 1980s to satisfy the ever-increasing power needs of West Berlin. This plant still burns coal but this should be phased out by 2030. The stacks for this newer plant had height restrictions due to the flight paths of airplanes from Flughafen Tegel (Tegel Airport) – not an issue anymore since this airport stopped operations in 2020. So the main exhaust chimney was built much wider than the other stacks so that it had the required capacity. 

My blood glucose was again in need of more carbs before I could carry on. So I ate a Clif bar and even had a pit stop at home for a coffee break at Nadja’s insistence. Although I didn’t really need much convincing to stop, since I would have a great coffee prepared by Nadja and get to see her and the cats.

Colourful Estate near Böcklerpark in Kreuzberg

The next stop would tick off two structures in one visit – the chimney stacks of the Heizkraftwerk Klingenberg in Rummelsberg are the tenth and ninth tallest structures in Berlin. I had a pretty scary incident on the way there though. I was cycling through a green traffic light at the large intersection near the Treptower Park S-Bahn station, when a car decided to start turning left even though I had right of way. This really startled me and I emergency braked and nearly fell off Severus. Thankfully nothing bad happened, although I did say a few choice words to the driver who offered me an apologetic wave. 

10/9. Kaminen Heizkraftwerk Klingenberg / Chimney Stacks Klingenberg Thermal Power Plant

Height144 / 146 m
Construction Year1997
Construction TypeNatural gas power plant

The plant was originally built in 1927 but underwent a huge upgrade in the 1970s under the East German government. In 2017, it was again upgraded to use natural gas instead of coal for power production. The building was designed by Georg Klingenberg (hence the name) and it is also a registered monument. 

Heizkraftwerk Klingenberg / Klingenberg thermal power station

This is a really huge power plant and understandably one of the icons of Berlin’s industrial side. When it first opened, the heat from the plant was used to warm the waters of the Spree for the Städtisches Flußbad Lichtenberg (Lichtenberg Municipal River Bath) so that bathers could enjoy swimming in waters between 30 – 35 °C. That’s a bit too warm for my liking!

Rummelsburger See / Rummelsburg Lake with the Klingenberg power station in the background

I left the Heizkraftwerk Klingenberg and headed back west towards the Berliner Funkturm (Berlin Radio Tower). There were some lovely views of the Klingenberg stacks across the Rummelsburger See (Rummelsburg Lake) before I once again winded my way through the streets of central Berlin. While cycling through Neukölln, I needed another energy bar to keep my blood glucose in a safe range for cycling.

8. Berliner Funkturm / Berlin Radio Tower

Height146.8 m
Construction Year1926
Construction TypeSteel lattice tower

The Funkturm is (obviously) modelled after the Eiffel Tower in Paris and similarly has a restaurant and a viewing deck. The tower was built in 1926 for the 3. Großen Deutsche Funk-Ausstellung (3rd Great German Radio Exhibition) and transmitted radio and television signals up to the year 1989. In non-Corona times, the restaurant and viewing deck are popular places for some spectacular views of the city.

Funkturm with the ICC

Nowadays, the Funkturm is part of the large Messe (Trade Fair) grounds and the nearby Internationales Congress Centrum (International Congress Centre) – the ICC. This is a really unique building and is modelled like a spaceship! I think it’s really cool and thankfully it has now been listed as a monument as there were discussions about potentially demolishing it. The area has been used as a film set for plenty of films such as Atomic Blonde, Hunger Games and The First Avenger (Civil War) – always fun to see this distinctive area pop up in some blockbusters.

The spaceship that is the ICC

This was the final structure for this Stage and I needed a quick energy gel to get me and my blood glucose back home. This was a great Stage (minus the car incident) where I got to visit lovely parks, a disused airport and some iconic industrial areas in Berlin – not to mention a lovely coffee break at home. This makes me more eager to visit the final seven structures in the last two Stages of the Tour de Tall.

The % distance I cycled in each district

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