This ride is something that I had to continually refine as the location of 'home' changed a number of times during my residency with Transit Lounge at the Josetti Hofe Studio in Berlin. It is my morning route from home to the studio.
The first version starts at Frankfurter Allee 150, exit the high rise and cycle along the main road towards Frankfurter Allee U-Bahn. Cross over and turn left at the lights under the railway and right at the first street into Friedrichshain, then follow your whimsy and intuition depending on how you feel that day until you get to the diagonally opposite side of the area. Sometimes I go further along to turn right at Boxhagener Str. (stopping for a coffee at the trendy old icecream shop on the right) diverging into Krossener Str. until Boxhagener Platz, then left at Gartner Str, cross over to Wuhlich Str and cycle for a while until you get to Simon-Dach Str, turn left and then right at the club on Revaler Str to get up to Warschaeur Str.
Other days I meander along whichever streets take my fancy, enjoying the sunlight and crisp blue morning while weaving my way through the apartment blocks until I arrive at the corner of Revaler Str. and Warschaeur Str. Here I cross over at the lights, turn left and cycle over the railway bridge, sometimes stopping to enjoy the view of trains and Alexanderplatz Tower in the distance. Keep going until you cross Oberbaumbrucke, then turn right at the first street, which runs along the Spree. Some days I grab a takeaway coffee from the tiny café on the corner of Skalitzer Str. at Schlesisches Tor, then track back to sit under the willow trees, contemplate the graffiti on the back of the Wall at East-Side gallery, and watch the ducks float past the fishermen. Once you feel sufficiently awake and caffeinated enough to face the day, get back on your bike, turn left at Pfuel Str. and then right onto Kopenicker Str. Pedal along merrily in the traffic, past the old squatters camp with caravans and dogs overflowing through the gates, curse at the lights for changing just as you get to them, keep going past the Currywurst stand and old energy factory until Ohm Str, where you turn right and negotiate your way past the roadworks and stray bits of pipe, trying not to fall into the huge holes. Almost straight ahead is the Josetti Hofe, a slight dogs leg to the right on RungeStr. takes you to the entrance where the gates are usually locked for no particular reason, so you have to dismount and carry your bike up the steps through the lobby, then get back on for the ride down the ramp, through all three courtyards and park under the last arch before the Spree and garden. Take the lift to the 5th floor, turn left, let yourself into the studio and have a morning gossip with anyone there, chat to the visitors who drift through and stare out the window at the clouds while your computer and brain warm up.
The second version starts at Richard-Sorge Str, just behind Frankfurter Tor, a little further down Frankfurter Allee. From here, cycle through the lane past the Cosmos club, then turn right and follow the bikepath along Karl Marx Allee for what seems like hours, maybe stopping for a coffee at the espresso bar on the right a block past the big fake beach bar, or buying fruit at the market, then all the way to the International Cinema at Schilling Str U-Bhn. Turn left here at Café Moskau, then right at Magazin Str, left at Alexander Str. and weave your way through the roadworks at Jannowitz Brucke to get across to the other side of the Spree. Past the Falun Gong protesters outside the Chinese Embassy, and left at Rungestrasse. On the way home, I would often stop for a slice of thin crust pizza at XXL Pizza, SamariterStr. U-Bhn where the lovely Kurdish pizza man also gave me vodka with fresh juice, as I was slumped on the table too tired to speak.
The first route takes about half an hour, the second only twenty minutes or so, depending on how fast you ride. I like to meander slowly, and enjoy the scenery. It became significant to me as this was one of the few routines I developed during a very transient time in Berlin, and became the most fixed part of my days. I enjoyed the feeling of having a familiarity with the local area, and found that if I ventured even a few streets beyond these well-known paths, that I became hopelessly lost and drawn in strange and unknown directions. The rest of Berlin existed in a kind of fog during this time, as I never really penetrated far past the daily routes unless going to a specific event or meeting someone.