|Distance in km||65.2|
|Elevation in m||375|
|Length of Grüner Hauptweg||18.5|
|Amount of newly ridden kms from wandrer.earth||20.9|
After a long 150 km ride with Nick and I the previous weekend, my legs needed some rest days before I could take on another Stage of this Grand Tour. Thankfully this route was not one of the longer ones, so that helped in my recovery. It was the first day of a heatwave with expected temperatures of well over 30 °C – so it certainly wouldn’t be a fast Stage!
I prepared for the Stage by having my usual porridge and coffee for breakfast. I slightly reduced my bolus insulin. However since the heat makes my blood glucose spike, I decided not to reduce my basal insulin. I put on sun cream and headed out to the start of the route which was in Prenzlauer Berg near the entrance to the Mauerpark (Berlin Wall Park) on Schwedter Straße.
At the starting point, there are many information posts, photographs and murals related to the Berlin Wall that ran along here. In fact, the whole Grüner Hauptweg would follow the Berliner Mauerweg (Berlin Wall Trail) northwards all the way to its final point in Lübars.
The Mauerpark has undergone plenty of upgrades and now has smooth asphalt paths running through it. There are plenty of lovely trees, playgrounds, a climbing wall and even a small farm. The Mauerweg includes some great paths that pass over and under railway and tram lines in the area around the Bornholmer Straße train station.
I made it to the Schönholz (Pretty Wood) section of the route which passes through a lovely section of birch trees all the way to the Wilhelmsruh station. The route then uses the bumpy paths that run parallel to the train tracks all the way to the Nordgraben (North Ditch). Thankfully, the lush trees on these paths provided plenty of shade as most of the route so far was in the sun.
The next section of route followed the old Heidekrautbahn (Heath Herb Train) tracks that run between the districts of Märkisches Viertel and Rosenthal. These tracks were originally built in 1901 and the train route ran from Wilhelmsruh to Schönwalde, a popular nature reserve in Brandenburg. After Berlin was split, this section of the route couldn’t be used anymore since it would have cut through the Berlin Wall, so the Heidekrautbahn used the Karow station in East Berlin instead of Wilhelmsruh as its starting point. The original route from Wilhelmsruh will be reactivated (works started in December 2020) and should be completed by 2024.
I was now in the meadows of northern Berlin. Such a contrast to the bustle of Prenzlauer Berg that I started from! I passed through fields of wheat, poppies, lavender and even crossed a lady riding a horse. This complete change of scenery – although you can still spot the Fernsehturm (TV Tower) – meant I was nearing the end of the route.
I was by now deep in the Tegeler Fließ (Tegel Stream) nature reserve and took a detour to the idyllic Köppchensee (Köppchen Lake). The final stop of the route was at the Lübars village green which just feels like it’s from another time. The cobbles that throw you about, the church, pub and even an old telephone booth that’s now a book swap.
Another reason Lübars feels so cut off from the rest of Berlin is that there is only one bus that stops here! I cycled this bus route in Stage 3 of the Grand Tour de Öffentliche Verkehrsmittel, that day I was met with a cuddly cat. Unfortunately no cats were around today, but there was an actor loudly reciting his lines while I was having a well deserved break in the shade.
I ate my homemade flapjack and injected one unit of bolus insulin for this. My blood glucose was doing alright, slightly higher than I would like but not too high either. So unfortunately I couldn’t just eat the flapjack and expect the cycling to compensate for the carbs without injecting any more insulin.
Once I was done with my break, I headed back out into the sun to cycle back home. I took the long route home to get more new kms in these northern districts of Berlin. It really was slow going trying not to overheat, especially when stopped near cars at traffic lights. By the time I got back home, I really felt drained after being in the sun all day. The Grüner Hauptweg included many more exposed sections between green areas than riding through shady forests. Hopefully for the next Stage, the temperatures have reduced and there will be more shade.