We talk in another article about the sketchy roads (not) to ride in Berlin; and there are plenty. But what about good places to ride in the city? Y’know, roads where you can enjoy your bike, stretch out a bit and ride faster than 11kmph. Well, as luck would have it, there are a few of those, too.
1) Strasse des 17. Juni.
Strasse des 17. Juni is the western continuation of Unter den Linden, running east-west through the Tiergarten from Brandenburger Tor to Charlottenburger Tor, just before Ernst-Reuter Platz. This is a 3.5km long stretch, only interrupted halfway by the Grosser Stern, the roundabout surrounding the Siegessäule. The surface is pretty good the whole length of the road, and the surrounding scenery is great from start to finish: the Siegessäule in one direction, Brandenburger Tor in the other. Always a pleasant ride, whatever the season, it’s lovely to have the dense forest of the park on both sides of you as you pedal along. Some of our favourite experiences riding along Strasse des 17. Juni have been late at night, riding west-east to east with the lit-up Brandenburger Tor slowly getting bigger and bigger in the distance. Inspiring.
2) Karl Marx Allee/Frankfurter Allee
Another iconic Berlin street is Karl Marx Allee/Frankfurter Allee, running roughly 5km from Alexanderplatz east to Frankfurter Allee station. It was conceived and built by the DDR (Deutsche Demokratische Republik) between 1952 and 1960 as a monumentalist socialist boulevard and originally named Stalinallee. This vast street offers you a thrilling tour of socialist architecture ranging from plain, utilitarian plattenbau (panel-built tower blocks) to imposing, ornamental 8-storey apartment blocks built in the soviet socialist-classicism style. The riding is also good, offering smooth bike paths and long blocks allowing you to get a bit of speed up before pausing at the various intersections. Highlights include the ‘wedding cake’ towers at Strausberger Platz and Frankfuter Tor, the fantastic Kino International cinema and the aforementioned ornate housing blocks that line the street on both sides.
From Frankfurter Tor east to Frankfurter Allee, the street becomes busier and the pavement narrower, with shops and restaurants lining both sides. You have to pay a little more attention when riding here, as the bike path runs on the pavement, but there are plenty of opportunities to grab something to eat here or stop off for a beer outside a Späti and take in the Berlin street life.
Another favourite street of ours that passes some equally iconic Berlin landmarks, is Columbiadamm. Columbiadamm runs from Platz der Luftbrücke to just before Boddinstrasse U-Bahn, where it becomes Flughafenstrasse. It’s a great road to ride, with a good quality bike path for most of its length with few interruptions for traffic lights and intersections.
Coming from Neukölln towards Platz der Luftbrücke, the first point of interest on the left is the Sommerbad Neukölln, a huge outdoor swimming pool. Directly after this you’ll see the Berlin Sehitlik Camii, an impressive new Mosque. Opposite the mosque and the swimming pool is Hasenheide, a beautiful landscaped park with an open air cinema and plenty of opportunity for nice rides, walks or runs. As you progress towards Platz der Luftbrücke, you’ll soon see the vast Tempelhofer Feld looming on your left. Ride a bit longer and you’ll be rewarded with a fine view of the Tempelhofer Flughafen building, a huge limestone building built by the Nazis between 1936 and 1941. When first opened, the 1.2km long terminal building was one of the largest buildings in the world, and it hasn’t lost any of its impact. It’s a must see in Berlin.
On your right, opposite the terminal building, you’ll see the attractive 19th-century red brick complex of the Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg and Neukölln police headquarters.
Finally you’ll approach Platz der Luftbrücke itself. Buildings connected to the airport built in the same style line half of the square, surrounding the small park which commemorates the Berlin Airlift.
Starting from Südstern in Kreuzberg, running West to Potsdamerstraße in Schöneberg, the combined stretch of Gneiesenaustraße and Yorckstraße is one of the more pleasant roads to ride in the city.
The bike lane along the whole stretch is in good condition and plenty wide, facilitating some pleasant cycling. Inconveniently, there are several cross streets and traffic lights to slow you down, but the stretch from Südstern takes you along one of Berlin’s finest tree-lined roads. There are multiple shops, bars and coffee shops along this section of the road. The surrounding neighbourhood is also one of Berlin’s nicest, particularly the attractive Bergmannkiez to the south of the street. Halfway along the route, you’ll come to Mehringdamm, one of Berlin’s commercial hubs. Home to tons of shops, bars and famous eateries, not least Curry 36 and Mustafa’s Gemüse Kebab, it’s also a good place to explore.
Continuing west, the road now becomes Yorckstraße. You’ll soon go under the multiple former railway bridges associated with the former Anhalter Bahnhof and past Yorckstraße S/U-Bahn. To the right of these bridges is the new Gleisdreieck Park, also well worth a visit and a ride. All good things must come to an end, and soon you’ll reach the junction with Potsdamer Straße, with the ominous looking Pallasseum housing block looming in front of you. Going further takes you off a safe cycle path and into Schöneberg proper. Well worth checking out is Winterfeldplatz (particularly the weekly farmers’ market) and its surrounding area.
5) Königsweg/Kronprinzessinweg, Grunewald
In the west of the city is a great route running south-west from the Messegelände (the area around the exhibition halls) out to S-Bahn Wannsee. A route beloved of cyclists, this isn’t a road per se, so you have to zoom in on Google maps to actually spot it. Start at S Messe Süd, find Eichkampstraße and start cycling southwest, with the Autobahn 115 to your left. You’ll pass attractive suburban terraced houses (not everyone in Berlin lives in an apartment) and eventually get to the intersection on your left which takes you to S Grünewald. Go a little further and you’ll get onto the path. This is a wide, paved path used by cyclists, skaters^, walkers and runners alike, so don’t ride too fast. There are no cars and you have the opportunity to really ride your bike. To your right is the Grünewald forest. You have a good 7km stretch to enjoy before rejoining the road that takes you to Wannsee. Stop here and get a drink and a bite to eat. There are many further opportunities to ride around Wannsee.