I’m off to Berlin!

Berlin is my favourite city and I love visiting it. However, it’s a long old drive so I usually fly (without bike).

When driving home from Koblenz after my Main River tour in June I decided it would be great to have the chance to cycle in Berlin and that I’d organise something. A friend also likes visiting Berlin so we agreed to do a car share to get there and then do our own thing once there.

So… Tuesday evening is the day – we’re off to drive overnight to Berlin (due to friend’s holiday entitlement), hopefully arriving around midday on Wednesday.

So what cycling plans do I have?

I have cunningly furnished myself with a book which suggests five interesting rides around Berlin.

The rides are:
Ein Überblick von West nach Ost (An overview from West to East)

This leaves Zoo Station (break out into U2 songs here…) and goes through the Tiergarten, then Berlin’s political centre ending up in Prenzlauer Berg which is one of the artistic areas in the former East, ending up at Schönhauser Allee S-Bahn station. I presume I will ride to the start and the finish of this ride which will add a few miles to it overall – it’s only 10 miles for the actual route.

Osten Ungeschminkt (my translation of this is something like “The East without makeup”)

This leaves S-Bahnhof Schönhauser Allee (where tour 1 finished) and goes via the Stasi prison in Hohenschönhausen to Alexanderplatz.

Kreuzberger Kiez-Welten (Kreuzberg (an area) neighbourhood, but the GPX file was called Kreuzberg Szene und Propaganda which gives a better flavour)

This tour leaves Potsdamer Platz and goes through Kreuzberg via Tempelhof airport, then along to the East Side Gallery at the Ostbahnhof – this is a gallery of paintings on the former Wall. It’s about 12 miles.

Der Grüne Westen (The Green West)

From the S-Bahnhof Grünewald in the western part of Berlin via Teufelsberg and the Olympic Stadium to Spandau. I spent five weeks in Falkensee (west of Spandau) in 2007 and love this part of Berlin so it should be a good ride. It’s about 16 miles but will be a bit of a trek to the start and from the finish.

Die Berliner Mauer (the Berlin Wall)

The tour from my book is only a short section of the wall, less than 10 miles. It starts from Checkpoint Charlie and goes to the former border crossing in Bornholmer Straße.

However, the main plan for this German holiday is to cycle along the route of the Wall, as much as possible (some buildings have been stuck on the old wall area). I have downloaded a GPS file of the full route:

It’s a shade over 100 miles which I decided is too much for one day in a city sightseeing mode so decided to split it into two. Of course, this means you end up doing a fair extra distance to get back from the halfway point, so it’s 52 miles one day and 72 the next. These routes are from the apartment in which I am staying:

I plan to take lots of photos (including photos of cake, as usual) and write up these rides on my blog daily.

As I’ll only have my iPad with me I won’t be able to generate new routes for the GPS while I’m there so I may look up a few more options in case I want to go out of the city further or do something by train.

I can strongly recommend the Berlin Erfahren (Berlin experience) book – assuming you can speak German. It has 127 pages on just those five tours with photos, explanations, maps etc. Well worth the purchase price! And they had downloadable GPX tracks as well!

Watch this space for reports from the beginning of September…

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