Ann Abeles recently completed the Berlin to Copenhagen self-guided tour through BikeTours.com. Read her review below. And see more from Ann here: 6 Reasons we book through BikeTours.com.
A little background
My husband and I, now in our 70s, took up recreational bicycling after we retired and found that it was a great way to meet new friends and stay active.
Our first bike tour was an eye-opener for us as we discovered that we could comfortably ride 30 – 40 miles in a day, averaging just 8 – 10 miles per hour. This is usually only about 4 hours of cycling in the whole day so there was plenty of time to stop, take photos, read interesting informational signs, and visit coffee shops and small museums. We have made over a dozen of these tours and have expanded our adventures to include trips of more than one week, as I describe below.
Berlin to Copenhagen
In June 2015, we booked the Berlin to Copenhagen tour. With the help of the staff at Biketours.com, we arranged the transportation from Dulles Airport to the tour start in Oranienburg, a town north of Berlin and for an extra day at the tour start to get over jet-lag. The tour was run locally by Mecklenburger Radtours, who had already delivered the packet of maps and tour information to our hotel. After checking into our hotel, the afternoon of our arrival day, we walked into the historic area and spent some time enjoying the palace garden and getting our bearings.
The next morning, our free day, their representative, Olaf Nagel, brought us our bicycles, made certain that they were adjusted for us, and went over all the tour details with us. We then used our free day to see some more of Oranienburg.
First, we biked over to the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp Museum. This outdoor museum encompasses some of the grounds of the formerly extensive camp and has many buildings with exhibits about the horror of the camp. We were struck by the many school groups that were touring and learning about how cruel humankind can be. One hopes that future generations will not repeat this cruelty. Next, we decided to ride a bit of the official Berlin to Copenhagen route back towards Berlin that would not be in our tour. This would give me a chance to make sure I understood the directions and to get a feel for the map’s scale of distance.
New friends and great paths
Although we booked this tour independently, it is a popular route and that evening several more cyclists arrived at our hotel and went through their orientation with Olaf. Over the next several days, we had a chance to meet and visit with many of them since we were biking on the same route and staying at the same hotels.
The socializing that can occur on these tours is another benefit of bike touring. The next morning, we all set off after breakfast, heading north through the nature area on the bike trail along Lake Lehnitz. Our route then passed the big lock regulating the water level between the lake and the Oder-Havel Canal. We followed the canal and then biked through the countryside as we headed north to our destination in Neuglobsow, about 44 miles for the day.
Possibly, the most memorable thing from the whole adventure was the extent and quality of the bicycle trails in Germany and Denmark. We predominantly rode on wide, smooth asphalt or brick bikeways – with occasional dirt roads, farm lanes, cobblestones and dirt single-track to remind one of how nice the paved trails were. We also were surprised at how this part of Germany has recovered from their years under Soviet domination. In some places, the Soviets did not relinquish properties until the 1990s so the rebuilding and reconstruction that we saw was quite amazing.
We biked over 400 miles in the 11 days (including our “extra” day), rode two ferries and one train, and stayed at pleasant, clean hotels. Our meals were delicious and the breakfast buffets were amazing (breakfast is always included with the rooms). We feel that we received good value for the overall cost of the trip.
During our days of cycling, we met other bike tourists who were self-supported, i.e. carrying all their belongings and tenting or finding their own lodgings. We also met friendly Germans and Danes who were curious about our visit to their country and wanted to make certain that we enjoyed our visit.
We saw many acres of beautiful forests, fields of grain and wildflowers, and neat little towns. We stopped at several museums with four being especially notable: the Museum of Sachsenhausen (the concentration camp), the open-air brickworks museum Mildenberg (north of Zehdenick), the Murizeum at Waren/Muritz, and the Arken just outside of Copenhagen. Of course, there were many more places that we stopped to learn about the region and important people but the best way to get a feel for what we did and saw would be to look at our Picasa album on the web.
Remember – every bike ride is an invitation to an adventure and every adventure expands your time on earth. Happy trails.