Ride Report: Orbit360 - Berlin
Gravel Union On
15 August 2020
Shimano Gravel Alliance rider Stefan Haehnel sent us in this Ride Report from his recent Orbit360 circuit around Berlin.
Orbit360 - Berlin
04.07 - 06.09.2020
% of Gravel:
Cicli Bonanno - Stay Loco
Special circumstances require special actions. Orbit 360 is a new Gravel Series in Germany, which is very different to other races, but not only because of Covid19.
The explanation from the organisers gave us a good idea of what to expect “Between 4th July and 6th September you can orbit the 16 tracks, one in each federal state of Germany. You can either race or “just“ ride it (which is a great effort itself – as the tracks are between 228km and 323km long). If you choose the race mode, you need to track and upload your ride on Komoot. There’s a ranking - the more Orbits you complete the better, and of course speed is always desirable during a race.”
On the opening day of the series I just gave it a try and rode the 228km long Orbit in and around my home town of Berlin. I have to admit - what a blast! As a local you might know many parts of the route, but riding it all together in one go is a challenge. If you want to get to know to a lot of fantastic off-road paths and the diverse landscapes around Berlin, this tour is a must.
Just to name a few highlights - of course we go through the narrow singletracks of Grunewald and climb up the Teufelsberg with its former Radar Spy Station, a Cold War Memorial. Heading north-east you’ll have some fun at Tegler Forst before you hit the pine forest north of Berlin. After pedaling alongside some lakes, where you can have a dip, you find the abandoned Dammsmühle Castle. Fast and wide gravel roads bring you to Schönower Heide, a nature reserve area with quite a huge amount of deer.
Suddenly, just in the suburbs of Berlin you get surprised spotting cable cars flying above you. I’m still wondering which mountain they might conquer? Later on, you reach the infamous Müggelberge, a great playground, not just for MTBs, with Berlin’s highest natural elevation (sadly only 114m above sea level) but with a great view down to Müggelsee. After riding the rugged riverside path along the Dahme you pass another Berlin absurdity - the eternal construction side of the new BER Airport, which should have opened back in 2011 but still isn’t! I don’t want to spoil it too much - just orbit!
I can’t wait to get out there and race another Orbit.