Bike tour from Friedrichshain to Müggelsee

Hello bike lovers! I took a little improvised tour to Müggelsee and back today. I biked quite fast; the average speed of only 25 kph comes from the fact that I also biked slowly on the little forest road by the lake, plus on bike paths.

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I hadn’t seen Müggelsee before. It was a dark yet shallow lake, and the bathing experience wasn’t very angenehm. Where I swam, seegrass constantly caressed my body – it was like swimming through a swamp. And there were 12 swans coming closer. Okay, that might not mean much to you, but for someone who was attacked by a swan as a kid, it was 12 swans too many. Trauma! So I got up pretty quickly and dried FKK with the old gay men on the little beach. About 90 percent of them were nude. And then I biked home to Friedrichshain again.

Today’s stats:

  • Total time: 14:45 – 17:15 = 2,5 hours
  • Biking time: 1 hour, 33 minutes
  • Distance: 39,2 km (24,4 miles)
  • Average speed: 25,1 kph (15,6 mph)
  • Max speed: 44,6 kph (27,7 mph)

There’s so much to explore in the area around Berlin and in Brandenburg, and the bike is the perfect way to do it. But I must also admit that I get a bit depressed by Berlin’s surroundings – it’s always a nice feeling to be back in the city.

Müggelsee is just on the left – so this photo was taken on my way back.

A phallos by Müggelsee.

There’s so much decay in the east.

Do people really live in this building?

It wasn’t so much the building itself that got me depressed, but the fact that …

… this was just across the street. Soma, anyone?

Bike tour from Bernau to Liepnitzsee

I’m sure many of you are upset and wonder: What kind of blog is this really? Two bike posts in a row. This is perverse! You’ve exposed your “real you” to us, Karl! Well, I think there’s a bike tourer in all of us, so here we go:

Yesterday I lent my old bike to a friend and we took the s-bahn to Bernau. From there we biked to the little lake Liepnitzsee, where we found a little boat that took us to the island Liepnitzinsel in the middle of the lake. This last part is not shown on the map since cars can’t go there:

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This was a nice and slow ride. Sometimes we led our bikes for long sections since the ground was too sandy – that’s why the average speed is so low:

  • Total time: 10:30 – 22:30 = 12 hours
  • Biking time: 2 hours, 19 minutes
  • Distance: 27,7 km (17,2 miles)
  • Average speed: 11,9 kph (7,39 mph)
  • Max speed: 29,9 kph (18,6 mph)

Liepnitzinsel turned out to be the perfect destination, or as a German magazine put it: “Sweden is just a few miles away!” I can’t say they were wrong – I felt very much at home in the breathtakingly beautiful nature, which Germans apparently associate with Sweden. The FKK (Freie Körperkultur) remains a German phenomenon though. It was a liberating experience to see how some people preferred to bath and walk around in the nude, while most people wore swimwear.

Yeah, we found the most charming little beach on the cape of the island. Some of the people there had come with the ferry, like us, and some were “islanders”, meaning long term inhabitants of the island’s campings. I swam over to the beach on the mainland, and the difference was huge: I saw no nude people there, but a non-negligible number of tribal tattoos. In addition to cars, music and a bar. In comparison, the island was full of low-tech, nature-loving hippies. Which to my surprise appealed more to me. Ok, enough of blabbing, here are some pics:

A sculpture of a woman in Bernau, from 1958 (East Germany).

Sculpture of a man carrying a goat in Bernau.

Reaching Liepnitzsee was like entering a giant adventure bath …

… or Sweden, apparently. By the way, isn’t that Chucky?

The ferry that took us to Liepnitzinsel – I still haven’t digested the turquoise colour of the water!

The island café Insulaner Klause, where I had two beers to my tomato salad with feta cheese (the only vegetarian dish).

The cape of Liepnitzinsel.

I spy with my little eye …

Bike tour from Berlin to Frankfurt

A week ago I bought a new bike: Stevens Randonneur. It’s a German brand, made (or at least assembled) in Hamburg.

I love my Randonneur. Despite it isn’t a road bike it’s extremely fast. Almost too fast. Last Tuesday, just three (3) days after I bought it, I crashed into a BMW and had to repair my new bike for lots and lots of money. But I’m okay and the money is “lerngeld” – it was mostly my fault, you see. Not that I did anything technically wrong or against the law, but sometimes speed alone is enough. (That’s why I’m never gonna buy a motorbike – know thyself.)

Anyway, last night I had an idea to bike from Berlin to Frankfurt. Well not that Frankfurt, the other one of course, on the Oder. Only problem is it’s too hot. I wouldn’t normally call that a problem, but for biking it is indeed a problem. Hot days with temperatures over 30 degrees centigrade (86 Fahrenheit) are better for hanging around in parks or taking a swim. But I wanted to bike! So I figured: What if I get up really early? Before the heat has become unbearable? So I did some research and prepared a bag just in case. Yeah, just in case I would wake up really early. Haha, you silly boy, I said to myself when I went to bed at 2 in the morning. Have I ever woken up before 9 in the last months?

But guess what. At 6.28 my eyes opened. 6.28! Let’s see, I thought. The Regionalbahn train would leave at 6.59 from Ostbahnhof. That train would give me a head start on my tour by taking me to Erkner. Incidentally, that’s the very station I went to on my bike tour from Stockholm to Budapest in 2002. (I didn’t mention that one? Oh, gotta fill you in sometime.) So I got up. No shower, but a breakfast as thorough as I had time for – breakfast means everything when you bike. I packed the last things and left my apartment at 6.45. The train departed in time at 6.59, and at 7.20 I was set to start my trip in Erkner. Yiiihaaaa!!!

It turned out to be an excellent idea to bike in the morning. A Sunday morning at that – meaning almost no cars disturbed me, which in turn meant I could use the road instead of the bumpy bike path on its side. (But I must admit my heart broke when I saw how many bike paths the Land Brandenburg has built, and how they had cut the grass around them. So much work. So little appreciation from me.)

The first two hours were perfect temperature wise, as I had expected – it was “only” about 23 degrees (73 F) in the beginning. The heat was still bearable when I rolled into Frankfurt an der Oder at 10:45, but after I had taken the train all the way back to Berlin, it was almost unbearable to bike the last kilometer from the station to my door. So happy I got out early enough to enjoy my new Randonneur!

Anyway, this was today’s trip, as drawn on my new bike tour map:

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And here are the stats:

  • Total time (the hours between which I was out): 7:20 – 10:45 = 3 hours, 25 minutes
  • Effective time (time spent on the saddle, rolling): 3 hours, 10 minutes
  • Distance: 69,4 km (43,1 miles)
  • Average speed: 21,9 kph (13,6 mph)
  • Max speed: 46,8 kph (29,1 mph)

I hardly took any pictures since it destroys the rush of constant pedalling, but I’ll let you guess what this is:

Na, what do you think it is? As you can see, both weather and traffic was great.

The reason I went to Frankfurt Oder was that I wanted to document this sculpture for my ongoing outdoor art project. (This photo by Sicherlich, shared through a Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 License.) However, I didn’t find him.

Instead, I found this empty socket. But it doesn’t seem to be the same socket, does it? I have e-mailed the city of Frankfurt to ask what happened to the boy.

Update 5 July 2010: I already got a reply from Frankfurt. The sculpture is still there – I just didn’t find it!

After my unsuccessful mission in the park (so many of them), I went to Café Central for lunch. On my way there, I asked a man why the main street was closed for traffic. He said there would be a road bike competition for boys and girls that day. He said they would start at 11:00. I looked at my watch: 10:59. When God closes a window he opens a door, or whatever:

Wow, did I really take that picture with my crappy camera? Click to zoom!

Amigo in the night

I always carry with me the little black notebook. It’s about 1,500 percent more effective than an iPad. It’s cheaper too, but the backup solutions could be better.

Protecting my patch … Last time I saw this tag I sat handcuffed in the back of a police car.

BooooOOOOooombastic! Love those Nikes.

Just put your lips together – and blow!

Report from Berlin CSD 2010

CDU.

Die Linke.

Die Lesben.

Die Tunten.

Was meint er eigentlich?

The most kinky participant I could find.

Familie ist, wo Kinder sind!

There were few teenagers around, and these were only onlookers.

Where’s the party? At GMF!

Heil Super-Zandy!

They looked so happy! Afterwards I realized why: They’re getting married in July, according to the text on their t-shirts.

Another happy gay couple.

And a third one – notice their matching underwear.

That’s the sticker he smacked on my chest!

The sticker from Die Piraten ended up on my t-shirt as well.

Hawt!

Several people had Swedish flags despite they were German. Apparently there was some kind of royal wedding going on in Sweden.

Pump up the Jam!

PS: Judith Butler got a prize for moral courage, but declined it in a speech she held in German.

A street for Karl

In the project Eine Straße für Karl (A street for Karl), two lawyers want to change the name of a street in Berlin from Einemstraße to Karl-Heinrich-Ulrichs-Straße. The background:

Karl von Einem (1853-1934), whom the street is named after today, was a Prussian commander who hailed the Nazis and demanded homosexuals be exterminated.

Karl Heinrich Ulrichs (1825-1895) on the other hand was a sort of pioneer of the gay movement and is sometimes dubbed “the first homosexual”.

573 persons so far have signed the petition to change the street’s name from the bad Karl to the good Karl.

Imma be creative

Entering the BOOM BOOM POW phase of a project. Every time I’ve cleaned my desk and put the speakers in place, I thank god for this life and pity those who never get to experience this feeling. The rush! The flow! THE BLAST!

And I tell you: There’s no place in my apartment for a pair of plastic Logitech usb speakers. These are Yamaha, but more than that: They’re teenage speakers. Got them when I was 16 and quite soon pimped them with a second bass unit. There have been times that I regret the EXTREME bass that this tuning resulted in, not the least since they already burned a pair of amplifiers. But then again, there are times, like now, when I realise that the second bass unit is… ME. At these times I realise I’m still that teen, and that my body needs that teenage bass. I like it when we go to extremes. Let it rock!

72 vintage gay magazine logotypes

Vintage gay and boy magazine logotypes, including Amigo, Beach Boys, Cock, Coq International, Dream Boy, Kim, Piccolo and Super Piccolo.

Boy, have I been scanning! Here are the first 72 vintage gay magazine logotypes that can be printed on Vintage Pride t-shirts. A few titles occur more than once since they changed their logotypes.

To be frank, many of the logotypes aren’t that impressive, just like many of the magazines weren’t. But they are welcome in the mix anyway, since they contribute to the vastness and diversity of it.

So, once again, which one’s your favourite? I think I’m leaning towards MM and Superboy.

Repost: Why I avoid bike paths

Bike paths and bike lanes aren’t evil by definition. Broken glass, natural speedbumps, forced bends, parked cars, turning cars, walking people, roadworks, gravel and traffic lights activated by a button (instead of a sensor) make them evil. All these things make it impossible to have a smooth and fast ride.

By trial and error I now know what to expect from the bike paths in Stockholm. I therefore always choose the road and bike among the cars.

There is a main problem with this though. The existence of bike paths has made car drivers think the road is for cars alone. If a cyclist shows up in “their” lane, the drivers act hobby-cops and honk. I often want to tell them “hey, why don’t you borrow my bike for a few hundred meters on this bikepath and then reconsider your opinion?” But the communication is oneway, like always when it comes to cars.

The other problem is that bike paths can lull less experienced cyclists into a false sense of security. What do these cyclists do when there is no bike path? They haven’t learned the basic traffic rules, since the bike paths always protected them.

If cars and bikes always used the same roads, there would be more reciprocal respect in traffic. No driver would get mad at a cyclist for momentarily blocking his or her way and all cyclists would have to learn some basic rules to bike safe.

The benefits for the cyclists are obvious: We would no more be second class road-users. We wouldn’t have to cope with the kind of bumpy symbolic bike path that is only a piece in the political jigsaw-puzzle. For the first time, the best way to bike would also be the legal way.

A parked car. Since the bike lanes on Hornsgatan always look like this, wouldn’t it be safer to bike among the cars the whole time instead of having to confront the car lane every 30 meters?

Another parked car. It’s gonna be hard to pass this one without crossing the line.

And yet another one. This time on the heightened bike lane of Sveavägen, which means you can’t just bike around it. Also notice the sand and the water drain near the bottom of the picture. A speedbump every ten meters.

Delivery. The sandy, bumpy, windy (at every crossing) bike lanes on Götgatan are separated from the cars, but not from delivery or …

… people! How could anyone consider this kind of bike lane safe? These pedestrians are waiting for the walk sign to turn green. The cyclists and cars still have a green light.

Let me end with a disclaimer: These opinions are about bike lanes and bike paths made for commuting, when the cyclist wants to reach the goal as fast and smooth as possible. I haven’t discussed recreational cycling at all, when the cyclist wants to see a beautiful scenery far away from cars. For that activity there are lots of great bike paths.

This was a repost from April 2002, triggered by this post by Rasmus Fleischer (in Swedish but there are pictures). Some of the same thoughts are discussed by Viktualiebrodern (also in Swedish).