Grand Tour de Grüne Hauptwege Stage 5/20 – Nord-Süd-Weg / North-South Route

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Date23.06.2021
Strava Activityhttps://www.strava.com/activities/5516959545
BikeFlash
Distance in km113.0
Elevation in m307
Length of Grüner Hauptweg49.2
Amount of newly ridden kms from wandrer.earth37.5
Blood glucose values throughout the ride, plus start and end pictures of the Grüner Hauptweg

The heatwave over Berlin finally broke, so I could plan the next Stage of this Grand Tour. The Stage would take me from the North of Berlin all the way to the South through many parks and nature reserves. This route is the North-South complement to the West-East route of Stage 1.

Pylon in Buch

Before heading out, I ate my breakfast and slightly reduced my basal and bolus insulin since this would be a long ride. The amount of basal insulin was a tough decision since today there would be lower temperatures and my body would be under less stress than during the heat of Stage 4. As usual with Type 1 Diabetes, I guesstimated the right amount but no way to know until I was actually out cycling. 

Inside the Röntgental train station

I started off toward the starting point of the Grüner Hauptweg in Buch, the northernmost district of Berlin. It didn’t take long for my CGM to start alerting me that my blood glucose was dropping fast. I had indeed injected too much bolus insulin – so I knew I would need to eat a lot during this Stage. The first carb boost was after only 7 km when I took a gel in the Humboldthain park. I also needed to eat my flapjack in Karow before I even made it to the start!

Guerrilla knitting near the start of the Grüner Hauptweg!

The start of the Grüner Hauptweg is at the border of Berlin and Röntgental, very close to the river Panke. The first half of the route would follow the official Pankeweg (Panke Trail) from this starting point all the way to central Berlin. This is a popular hiking and cycling path along this tributary of the river Spree.

The overwhelmingly green Schlosspark Buch / Buch Palace Park

The Panke flows through the Schlosspark Buch (Buch Palace Park) which is full of lovely trees – overwhelmingly green! The actual palace was demolished in 1964 as it was in ruins, the only building left is the baroque church that was built in the 1730s.

Karpfenteiche / Carp Ponds

Further south, the Panke is sandwiched between the Autobahn and the Pankeweg (Panke Path) up to the Karpfenteiche (Carp Ponds). These were very picturesque despite the overcast skies. Next up was the Schlosspark Niederschönhausen (Niederschönhausen Palace Garden) – yet another palace park that the Panke flows through. Here I needed to stop and eat another energy bar to keep my blood glucose within range.

Rose garden in the Bürgerpark Pankow / Pankow Citizen Park

The Bürgerpark Pankow (Pankow Citizen Park) had a lovely rose garden near a pretty fancy music pavilion. I crossed a section of the Berliner Mauerweg (Berlin Wall Path) that I cycled up during Stage 4 of this Grand Tour and was now getting closer to central Berlin. This section of the Grüner Hauptweg was a mixture of industrial buildings, playgrounds, trees and crossing busy roads. Back in the 19th Century, this section of the Panke was called the “Stinkepanke (Stinky Panke)” since the industrial buildings would drain all their waste into the Panke. This certainly does not sound pleasant!

The river Spree in the government district

The final stretches of the Panke before it flows into the Spree pass through the large campus of the Charité in central Berlin. I was now in the government district, very close to the Reichstag and could spot the starting point of the third Grüner Hauptweg

Fantastic graffiti in the Park am Gleisdreieck / Park at the Rail Triangle

I cycled past the Brandenburger Tor and Potsdamer Platz and needed to cross the Landwehrkanal (Land Army Canal) before I could reach the next large green area of the route – the Park am Gleisdreieck (Park at the Rail Triangle). It was starting to rain so I decided for a coffee stop at a café within this park. I also treated myself to a lovely Pasteis de Nata, a Portugese custard tart, as another carb boost. 

Teltowkanal / Teltow Canal

Once the rain stopped, I continued on the lovely cycle path that runs parallel to the train tracks all the way to the Priesterweg (Priest Path) S-Bahn station. After this, I needed to cycle on some pretty trafficky roads until I came to the Teltowkanal (Teltow Canal). Here there was a nice trail and pedestrian bridge to cross this waterway. During the bumpy trail next to the train tracks, it started raining again. I decided to wait it out under a helpful Birch tree before tackling the roads of Lankwitz.

The most impressive high-rise block in Marienfelde

The southern districts of Lankwitz and Marienfelde are not really known for their green areas – they are primarily residential districts. So the Grüner Hauptweg was a mixture of green paths and then cycling on streets until the next green section. The high-rise blocks are very impressive though!

Freizeitpark Marienfelde / Marienfelde Recreational Park

I left the residential section of Marienfelde to cycle through the Freizeitpark Marienfelde (Marienfelde Recreational Park) and up the Schlehenberg (Sloe Mountain). The Schlehenberg is one of the artificial hills made from the bombing debris from the Second World War, while the Freizeitpark Marienfelde is a nature reserve on a former landfill. These green areas are full of trees and birds and give no indication of their former state!

The views at the end of the Grüner Hauptweg

I was now reaching the end of the Grüner Hauptweg and all that was left was to cycle through some lovely wheat fields towards the southern border of Berlin and Brandenburg. The Berlin Wall ran along this border and I remembered this section well from when I cycled the whole trail

A hidden mural in Baußnerweg

Just before I reached the end, I found a mobile phone lying on a trail that someone had dropped. The phone was unlocked so I tried to figure out who to call so that I could reunite the phone with its owner. Thankfully, the owner called the phone so I could arrange to meet with her. I cycled to her house and she was very grateful that I returned her phone and wanted to give a box of chocolates! I declined – Nadja was very unhappy about that! – and headed back to the end point of the Grüner Hauptweg so I could follow my plotted route back home.

Hermann-Ehlers-Schule / Hermann Ehlers School

Before heading back home, I ate an energy bar – my body was still burning carbs incessantly from the bolus insulin I injected for breakfast! I cycled back home, maximising the amount of new roads but I needed more carbs before getting home – a gel 10 km before the end. It was pretty tiring eating so much during this Stage, but I managed to keep my blood glucose from going too low – success!

Charlottenburger Tor / Charlottenburg Gate

This would be the final Stage of the Grand Tour de Grüne Hauptwege before a short break. We (Nadja, Tim, Pi and myself) will be spending a week away from Berlin with Nadja’s grandmother. The next Stage will have to wait!

The % distance I cycled in each district

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