Sunny Caad10 ride from Berlin to Neustrelitz

I’m still exhausted from yesterday’s bike trip, which started at Kottbusser Tor in Berlin and ended in Neustrelitz. Yes, I biked all the way to Mecklenburg-Vorpommern!

  • Distance: 109 km
  • Time: 3:59 hours (3:27 excluding breaks)
  • Average moving speed: 31,7 kph
  • Max speed: 55,4 kph

View more details including heart rate here!

Can’t recommend this route to anyone. I usually like it when there are no bike paths, but this was a bit much even for me. The end of my course followed B96, a major road apparently, full of autos but very narrow. There were some nice stretches too, but I always forget which afterwards…

Had major luck with the puncture I got – it came as I rolled up to the station building in Neustrelitz!

It’s expensive to bike so far in one direction though. Having biked through three Bundesländer – Berlin, Brandenburg and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern – I ended up paying 21,50 euro for the train ticket back. And that’s just me – I figured I’d buy the ticket for the bike on the train, but the conductor never showed up so the bike travelled for free.

Crossing Südring with my Caad10

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Note: If you click to see the details, you can choose metrics format instead of miles. And see how fast my heart beats…

For the first time, I drew a course at Garmin Connect, and transferred it to my GPS, a Garmin Edge 800. I was amazed at how easy to follow it was. As soon as I biked the wrong way, I got a little beep and a message saying “off course”. A GPS navigator for bikes doesn’t say “at the next crossing, turn left” etc (but I guess it can if I want it to), because it’s not necessary; since you bike slower than you drive a car, it’s easy to keep an eye on the line drawn on the map – that’s all navigation help you need.

I can’t really recommend this course. Just a few nice racing stretches, but mostly lots of cars, bad bike paths, and for a few kilometers, badly repaired cobblestones with no bike path! I had to bike at around 12 kph on those roads, but it’s good to know that my Caad10 (or rather the Schwalbe Lugano tires and Shimano RS10 rims) can take it.

Cannondale Caad10, 2012 model.

Evening tour in southern Berlin and into Brandenburg

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Bike route 1122976 – powered by Bikemap

Biked the wrong way twice (you can see the strange lines a bit north from Blankenfelde). Average speed 26,8 kph. Boring area. Really boring! But I was amazed at the expensive bike paths everywhere. (I used and enjoyed them this time.) I’m pretty sure that has to do with former East Germany. But it’s really sick. They should spend those money on bike paths/lanes in Berlin city instead, where they are a mess.

The nice bike path where Brandenburg had just begun.

Phat bike path!

Some roads weren’t that bad either.

Birkholz, a very small “dorf”. Birkholz means birchwood.

When I biked the wrong way I passed Interflug – a “kleingartenanlage” close to airport Schönefeld. (Interflug was the state airline of GDR.)

State of the art bike path – looks expensive!

I was so relieved to finally see this sign after having lost my way twice.

Bike tour from Brandenburg via Nauen and Oranienburg to Bernau (116 km)

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It was last Sunday and I had fun. More exactly, I woke up at 4:55 AM, took the Regionalbahn from Ostbahnhof at 5:59, and arrived in Brandenburg at 7 AM sharp. Yes, that was a bit early. But I wanted to get out on the roads early on a Sunday morning, so I could bike on the roads when they are the most empty.

Why Brandenburg?

Because I had checked the winds, and they would blow with a steady 3-4 meters per second from southwest. So I decided to bike from southwest to the northeast.

Why these bike tours at all?

Because I follow this advice!

The stats:

  • Distance: 116 km (72 miles)
  • Average speed: 27,3 kph (16,9 mph)
  • Max speed: 50,2 kph (31,2 mph)
  • Biking time: 4 hours, 16 minutes
  • (Total time: 7:00 – 12:40 = 5 hours, 40 minutes)

Here are some photos from the tour. I shot some of them while biking:

A boat in Brandenburg at about 7:10 AM.

Wind power!

Not much going on in Nauen at 8.15 AM.

One reason why I avoid bike paths; sooner or later they always force you to a stop.

Road 273 was dug up in Oranienburg, but I could pass with my bike. On the sign you can see that I was pretty close to the concentration camp Sachsenhausen.

The kinky stuff that people in the country fill their miserable lives with.


Bike tour from Bad Saarow around Scharmützelsee and then to Erkner

Yesterday I was woken up at 11 am (after only 4 hours sleep after my Saturday night out) by my friend Georg, who said he for some reason had a free double room for two nights at a spa in Bad Saarow. Now I’m not the spa type, but it sounded fun, so one and a half hour later he came by and we biked to the train station, me veeery tired. And another hour later we arrived at a luxury hotel and spa. There are lots of spas in Bad Saarow, situated on the northern and western shore of the lake Scharmützelsee.

The station house in Bad Saarow.

The view from our room: Lake Scharmützelsee.

We took a guided tour through the 3,500 square meter spa, but I didn’t see the point with swimming in a pool when there’s a lake just outside your door and it’s in the middle of the summer. A massage would have been nice though, but we never came to that. The first evening, we tried out the sauna department after dinner. It included a hot and a cold pool and three different saunas. But guess what, they were all too cold for a Swede like me. The dry sauna was for some reason supposed to be only 65 degrees centigrade. So I got out and tried the stone sauna, which was a bit hotter, and then finally settled for the steam sauna. Where I almost froze, despite it was the hottest one of them.

As I sat there, all alone, I looked at the stars in the ceiling and the dark blue mosaic tiles on the walls and realized that the sauna was hexagonal in form. That made me think of an octagonal Turkish bath, which was probably the point. But for me it just highlighted how far away I was from a real Turkish bath. Take Kiraly Fürdö in Budapest for example. The stars in the ceilings there are real holes that let in the sunlight. The water is hotter and the saunas almost unbearably hot. The contrast! I suddenly felt like I was at Disneyland, enjoying the family version of a Turkish bath. As to confirm this, the wall behind me gave way just a little when I despondently leant back my head against it – it must have been a plasterboard.

I must emphasize though, that this description doesn’t say much at all about the spa. It’s rather a description of the way I see things, which in turn has a lot to do with my mood. No one else would think plasterboard and I’m sure my spa type friends would have loved the spa, not to mention all the oils and lotions you could buy.

Yesterday (Monday) I did some biking, after a good night’s sleep at the hotel. It’s the lower line going around the lake and then up left:

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Monday morning. I got up at 7 and had the most delicious hotel breakfast of my life – it was even better than the one at Corinthia Grand Hotel Royal in Budapest. There were seven – seven! – kind of sprouts.

Then I biked around the lake and stopped at two beaches to take a bath – in the nude both times since I was all alone. The first beach was a private one, belonging to one of the biggest spas – the only one bigger than ours, I think. I ended up there through the woods, and on my way back to the road I realized that the whole area was blocked by at least a dozen turnpikes, each with its own surveillance camera. Gardeners were watering the plants along those roads. I didn’t like it – I got the feeling I was in Thailand, where the contrast between “hotel nature” and ordinary nature, between rich and poor, is huge.

And what about private beaches – is it even allowed in Germany? Do they have a price? In Sweden, the “beach law” prohibits land owners to build anything within 150 meters from the shore line. Also, that stretch must not be blocked, but open to everyone. There are exceptions of course, but the basic rule is that all beaches must be accessible to everyone, since, I guess, you can’t just produce a new one once they’re sold out.

I wasn’t supposed to be here, but I was anyway.

So picturesque you can die!

I had the pier (is that what it’s called?) in Diensdorf-Radlow all to myself.

Monday afternoon. After some time in the hotel room, I took Georg with me to the beach in Diensdorf-Radlow. It wasn’t empty anymore, but soon people left and I could do some FKK again.

He only smiles when I tell him not to.

Monday evening. For some private reasons I decided to go home the same day. I had planned to bike back to Berlin, but it was getting late and I decided to only bike to Erkner and take the train from there, not the least since I had already “paved” the rest of the way from there since it’s the same way that goes to Müggelsee.

It was so hard to get out of Bad Saarow – i biked the wrong way several times. But I eventually found my way. The road to Kolpin was lovely, but so small I couldn’t draw the line there on the map. Small yet paved – the way I love it. (That’s not the road pictured below though.)

At Erkner, I had maximum luck in catching a RE train back to Berlin; the time between me reaching the platform and entering the train was about 7 seconds – just enough to validate my tickets (one for me and one for the bike).

Love these smaller roads with little traffic and no bike paths.

Sunset in Fangschleuse.

And here are the stats – first time I break 50 kph on this bike:

1. Morning ride around lake Scharmützelsee:

  • Total time: 8:55 – 12:25 = 3,5 hours
  • Biking time: 1 hour, 16 minutes
  • Distance: 29,6 km
  • Average speed: 23,2 kph
  • Max speed: 49,6 kph

2. Afternoon ride to the beach with Georg:

  • Total time: 15:00 – 17:30 = 2,5 hours
  • Biking time: 1 hour, 6 minutes
  • Distance: 18,9 km
  • Average speed: 17,2 kph
  • Max speed: 50,6 kph

3. Evening ride from Bad Saarow to Erkner (Berlin):

  • Total time: 19:00 – 21:00 = 2 hours
  • Biking time: 1 hour, 41 minutes
  • Distance: 42,0 km
  • Average speed: 24,8 kph
  • Max speed: 41,6 kph

Making a total distance of 90,5 km (56,2 miles) in one day. The energy never dies …

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 …