Trainingsradeln: Berlin – Liepnitzsee und Zurück

After my six-month bike report yesterday, and having been thwarted by rain on the weekend (I’m not really equipped for long watery rides at the moment), I planned all week for today to be my ride day – also because I leave for Brussels early Saturday and shall be bereft of Zweirad for a time). I also planned to ride maybe a third further than last time; just seeing what I can endure.

My original plan had been to bike up to Chorin by way of Liepnitzsee, which then changed to Templin by way of the Biosphärenreservat Schorfheide Chorin, in both cases getting the train back. I decided somewhat accidentally for a loop to Wandlitz and Liepnitzsee by way of Summt, returning via Bernau bei Berlin.

Most of this was on good roads, a bit on cobblestone, and perhaps 15km on trails. The ride out, through Mühlenbeck and turning to Zühlsdorf is one of the nicer ways north; not so many cars, roads wide enough, and even something of a small hill, up to Summt, just past the ring. Even nicer through to Wandlitz, which is almost a tourist town, or reminds me a bit of towns outside Adelaide, tree-lined streets and small cafés.

As for Liepnitzsee, today was perfect, the bright sky turning the water turquoise. I was originally planning to go to Lanke and then loop south from there, but discovered I could follow a walking trail through the forest down to Bernau bei Berlin, around 11km of various widths from fire trail to single track.

From there back to Wedding was one of the less enjoyable rides I’ve had. Narrow streets with a solid stream of pushy cars all trying to make it to the Ring, and even when getting past that and following the S-Bahn down to Pankow, it was a bit too intense – especially having ridden for some hours and having to maintain a high degree of concentration the whole time.

An additional detraction from riding pleasure is the amount of neo-nazi graffiti around, from a Lonsdale sign in Niederschönhausen to ‘pure hate’ sprayed in Schwanebeck, it’s both the prominence of it as well as the obvious age – this stuff isn’t removed in the weeks or months after its arrival. (Lonsdale is popular because the letters nsda are those of the the nazi party, and pure hate, also spelt pure h8 plays on the letter h and number 8, also being h, the eighth letter in the alphabet, being an acronym for ‘heil hitler’.)

I got back mid-afternoon and promptly fell asleep. 5 hours riding around 75km (not especially fast) when I haven’t ridden more than 20 or so km in a day for years was a bit tough for me. Nice to find my limits though. I don’t think I would come back via Bernau bei Berlin again however. The traffic is far too demanding to make that road fun. Better is via Schönewalde, or even better yet, smaller roads I haven’t found yet.

As for the parts on trails and in forests, it’s beautiful in the way Grunewald is, also with the Berlin-Brandenburg sand – difficult to spot, very soft, and likely to try and hurl one off repeatedly.

Oh, and it’s just a couple of days over 3 years since I first arrived in Berlin.