Took a short ride (aka “bimble” according to my English motorcyling buddies on Facebook) south of Berlin last Sunday morning to take advantage of the good weather and get some fresh air. I’ve been looking for and trying out unpaved roads around here that are legal to ride on, which is not easy as most of them are off limits to motorized traffic.
One of the best possibilities to ride semi-off road are the old roads connecting villages, many of which are barely used or maintained anymore. They often start out like this, with large granite pavers and sandy verges. Once the main means of getting from one village to another, it’s now very rare to see other vehicles on them, aside from occasional forestry department trucks and skidders.
The paving slowly disintegrates the further you get into the densely planted pine forest, getting quite bumpy and irregular. Time to slow down!
At some point the pavers disappear altogether, the road gets narrower and the sand gets deeper. It’s unusually dry this spring, despite the vividness of the new vegetation.
After about 5kms (3 miles) the next village appears, as do the pavers. There are some very picturesque little places down here, and they are surprisingly isolated, considering Berlin is less than an hour away. I think the inhabitants here are either farmers or urbanites who come for the weekend.
Back on a paved road, I then rode past large areas of asparagus cultivation. It seems to be everywhere at this time of year, which is high season, and the sandy Brandenburg soils appear to be a perfect medium. Large areas of white and black plastic sheeting can be seen from far away, and there are often many workers in the fields doing the back-breaking work of harvesting this very pricey crop. The local stuff is very high quality, and is supposedly shipped all over the world.
It was then time for a short coffee break at the Scheune, a village barn turned into a biker bar and restaurant. There are sometimes hundreds of bikes parked here, and it then gets pretty loud, which is not always appreciated by the neighbours, I’m sure. Some of the riders who stop here act like Donald Trump on twitter, and don’t really give a damn about whom they bother or insult.
Finally, it was time to head towards home, and I found another old road connecting two villages on either side of some wide-open fields. The landscape here certainly isn’t dramatic in any sense of the word, but it has a soothing quality and a lushness to it that is good for the soul. It feels much more expansive than it actually is. The Himalayan is the perfect bike to discover places like this: relaxed, quiet, forgiving and uncomplicated.