Grunewaldrunde – Around the Berlin Grunewald Cycle Ride

Today was Sunday. As I had travelled to Berlin with a minister in the United Reformed Church, I suggested he might like to come along to a church service. He’d never been to one in Germany before so was interested, but wasn’t daring enough to go on his own. I said I’d keep him company, I’ve been to a dozen or so churches in Germany over time so I know what to expect.

On the way to the church (which was right by where Ken was staying, about a mile and a quarter from my flat) I saw this beer trailer. Beer to Berlin is a bit like taking coals to Newcastle, surely!


I also passed a Trödelmarkt on the way to the church – this is a flea market with lots of old records, cutlery, rugs and endless other things I wasn’t interested in.


This is a blog about cycling rather than church, suffice it to say that Ken found the whole experience a bit weird. Because the Germans seem to sit down to sing and stand up to pray (t’other way round in most English churches) we kept being caught out standing up or sitting down at the wrong times. The congregation continually burst out into little bits of song that weren’t written down anywhere so we didn’t have a clue. Likewise the Lord’s Prayer and Nicene Creed weren’t written down for visitors – we know them in English but not in German. I think Ken has gone away with much food for thought about how much churches assume people know… and perhaps they don’t.

On the way back I treated myself to an apple pancake thingie.


After lunch I faffed around for a bit, then decided it might be time for a cycle ride!

Having done 73 miles yesterday and as it was very warm today (29 degrees) and time was marching on (it was 3pm by the time I got myself ready to go out) I decided to do a shorter ride than normal and picked a route I had downloaded before I left home, just called Grunewaldrunde.

I’ve tried to screenshot the route but for some reason the iPad refuses to rotate it. If I rotate it within WordPress you get a very small version. So here it is, full size on its side and correct-way-up in miniature.


As part of this faffing around I appear to have lost (permanently) the header picture of both trikes which was at the top of each blog post. I can restore it when I get home to a ‘real’ computer which has the images saved, but at the moment we’re stuck with a bookshelf. Apologies!

So anyway, off I went with trike, still a bit dusty after yesterday’s exertions.

I found myself stopped next to a very shiny building so out came the camera…


This is cyclist’s eye view of the main road through Charlottenburg to the outside world (well, Spanndau).


I arrived at the Grunewald after about three and a half miles (please note that the screenshot map above is of the other chap’s route which started at a different place to my route). There was a small amount of zigzagging through quiet roads and then I was on the long – and very long it was too – straight that leads south west beside the Grunewald.

This path is actually beside a motorway, although there are trees screening it so the road isn’t particularly disturbing. Also because today there was a huge traffic jam and not much was moving – it was great to be going faster than cars on the motorway! See what a lovely wide, smooth road this is, just for cyclists, walkers and skaters.


After about four miles of this I turned right onto what is a proper road (with cars even!) which headed across to the shore of Wannsee. This section was actually a bit more up and down and my trike was skipping gears rather a lot. Now Alfie has done 1000 miles he’s due an oil change in the Alfine hub gear (which I haven’t yet done) and I also expect I need to adjust the indexing a bit, although I haven’t got the faintest how to go about this. Very occasionally he seems to go into ‘neutral’ or a ridiculously low gear but I’ve read that this happens to other people whilst they are running in their Alfine, and if you just change up or down a gear it sorts itself out. I stopped and had a look at the back wheel – some errant pieces of grass were stuck around the cogs and, having pulled this out, he behaved much better.

Anyway, with some slow ascents and speedy descents, I found myself on the shores of Wannsee.


A bit further along I found a beach with lots of people sunbathing and some others swimming. I dipped my toes in the water.


On I pootled, coming across the Grunewaldturm. According to Wikipedia: “The Grunewaldturm is a historical tower in the Grunewald forest of southwestern Berlin, Germany, built in 1897-99 according to plans designed by Franz Heinrich Schwechten… The tower built in a Brick Gothic Revival architecture has a height of 55 m (180 ft) and is located on the 79 m (259 ft) high Karlsberg hill on the eastern shore of the Havel River. The building contains a domed hall with a marble statue of Wilhelm I and four iron reliefs depicting Albrecht von Roon, Helmuth von Moltke, Otto von Bismarck and Prince Frederick Charles of Prussia. 204 steps lead to the platform offering a panoramic view over the Havelland region and the Grunewald forest. The building has a restaurant and a beer garden.”

I saw the beer garden, of course, and also saw people looking out of the tower so wondered about climbing up there, but discovering it cost 3 Euro to go up, plus having a heavy bag (lots of tools, water etc) and shoes with cleats, I decided against it. I photographed the tower instead.


Very soon I was at the top part of Grunewald again, joining up with the route when I arrived. However, the GPS track had an extra little bit which went into the middle of the wood. I thought I might give that a go, so set off.

Here we had a fantastic wide road which was almost all for bikes (although there were a fair number of cars pretending to be ‘Anlieger’)


Anyway, the road started a curve up to the right which got tighter and tighter – and steeper and steeper. Really steep, in fact. I zoomed in on my Garmin and it said my destination was Teufelsberg (Devil’s Mountain). Ah.

From Wiki again: “The Teufelsberg (German for Devil’s Mountain) is a hill in Berlin, Germany, in former West Berlin. It rises about 80 meters above the surrounding Brandenburg plain, more precisely the north of Berlin’s Grunewald forest.

“It is an artificial hill with a curious history: it was built by the Allies after the Second World War from the rubble of Berlin during the following twenty years as the city was rebuilt. One estimate for the amount of rubble is about 12 million cubic meters, or about 400,000 buildings. It is higher than the highest natural hill (the Kreuzberg) in the Berlin area.

“Teufelsberg’s origin does not in itself make Teufelsberg unique, as there are many similar man-made rubble mounds in Germany (see Schuttberg) and other war-torn cities of Europe. The curiousness begins with what is buried underneath the hill: a Nazi military-technical college designed by Albert Speer. The Allies tried using explosives to demolish the school, but it was so sturdy that covering it with debris turned out to be easier.

“As in the whole Grunewald (means green forest in German), wild boar, nicknamed “grunie pigs” by American soldiers, frequently roam the hill.”

When I finally got to the top, having crawled up in a low gear, passing a bunch of German youth who were doing skateboard tricks (and regularly falling over, although not appearing to mind) I found it wasn’t Wild Boar that were a problem but the mozzies. When I reached the top there was a gate preventing access to the buildings (the old ski station?) and I stopped to get my camera out, whereupon I felt dozens of mozzies on me. I swiped them away madly but I could hear them buzzing round me in a cloud. Little devils! So I got straight back on the trike and whizzed down at high speed, which was great fun (and the skateboarders were cheering me too).

When I got home I noticed I had nine mozzie bites on my back, which I assume came when I was standing up on Teufelsberg as the rest of the time my back is against the bike seat.

So I made my way back to the main road and headed back to my apartment, picking up some milk at Kaiser’s (a supermarket) which was having a special “We are open on Sunday” day. Almost all German shops are closed on Sunday so this is a new thing. The shop was doing a good trade too.

Once I’d had my shower it was time for some more of the Kalte Hund cake. Yum!


Just 24 miles today, but it was hot and I left it a bit late to set out so wasn’t too disappointed. The Grunewald is interesting and I am, once again, really impressed with the cycling facilities – and how much they are being used!


Statistics for this ride:

Distance – 23.52 miles

Time – 2 hours 40 minutes

Moving average – 8.8 mph

No heart rate data as I didn’t wear the strap as it was a bit itchy after yesterday’s long ride!

Maximum speed – 44.72

Calories burned – 1231 (software tends to overread this figure when I don’t where the HRM)

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