Atemlos durch die Nacht

Step by step, we approached Berlin. Roadsigns became more frequent, hills gave way to flat land with long, straight bike paths. And a headwind. I spent a lot of time hiding is Szoki’s wind shadow, rolling a couple of centimeters behind his rear wheel. We stopped for a quick roadside lunch, oiled my chain and made plans. We had two options: make a lot of progress today, or take the train towards Zittau and continue according to our original schedule from there.
We chose the former. This meant skipping the overnight stay at a friend’s place in Berlin, so we re-planned our route through the city: from Oranienburg, we used Google Maps navigation towards the place where our original track leaves Berlin on the southern side.
This seemed like fun: the navi led us through the suburbs, across some hills, past football fields and car dealers, and all the time we could feel the progress we make. Gone were the nights spent between lonely villages in Mecklenburg, here we were approaching our goal by the minute.

But not without hurdles. In Berlin, the bike path is often part of the sidewalk, not the road. Often, it is narrow, bumpy due to tree roots and paved with small tongue-biting cobblestones. Again and again we had to weave between trees, parked cars, and potholes. Sometimes we found ourselves on a dirt road marked as a bike path. It was definitely dinnertime, so we sat down at a turkish bar and had a small feast, then continued past the Parliament, the Brandenburger Tor, the remnants of the wall and up Kreuzberg. We arrived at the marked destination around 11 o’clock. But we needed to continue, we had to reach 200 k for that day, otherwise we would have too much backlog. The bike paths were wide and car-free, Szoki entertained me with stories from his tours, suburbs turned into villages with forest in between, and at about 01:00 we hit the 200 km mark. We spent the night with a soft layer of moss under the tent, and now it is morning, we are munching oat porridge, listening to the rain, the birdsong and the cars on the road, and getting ready for a new day.





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