Day 10 – Lübben – Proschim

Our last day of riding started in the most beautiful way possible, a wake up service by one rider, who sang a good morning song, followed by a splendid rap about coal when people started to get out of their tents. Even though it was very early, it didn’t feel that tough anymore. A lush breakfast quickly got our minds and bodies up to speed, as we were all getting ready to depart. Shortly before splitting into groups, we gathered for a motivational round and a little reflection and also for a quick visit by the mayor of the town Lübben, who expressed his support and faith in us and that he was glad to be able to host us for a night.

We felt eager to reach our goal and to cover the last 60km on our tour. The ride went smoothly despite riding against the wind. We fully enjoyed the bike paths along rivers and streams, which seemed to be everywhere. The area called Spreewald showed us its best side, with full intention to compete against the other picturesque landscapes we encountered during our ride. What made this ride even more fun was the regular overtaking of some other bike groups, who would cheer us on as we passed them. We in turn did the same, as they passed us again while we took a break.

In this fashion we reached Welzow, the neighboring town of Proschim. Having received some information about possible police controls of bike groups heading to the climate camp, we stopped to talk about what we wanted to do with that information. After going through different scenarios, we decided to split up into smaller groups of two to not raise as much attention and meet up at a place, where all the other bike groups would head to as well. Even though the information did turn out to be false, it still forced us to think about those possibilities and that was quite a clear cut from our previous biking mood, thoughts and conversations. When all bike groups, which started in Lübben joined together again a few kilometers away from the camp, the tension dissolved as fast as it formed.

Together, we then rode into the camp with all the bell ringing we could muster, which prompted some happy campers to wave at us. As we were finally standing on the campgrounds and were seeing all the active mingling taking place, we could feel the positive energy, which would make the next days an extraordinary experience for all of us.

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This concludes our bike diary. For more stories, pictures and impressions of the camp and the mass action of civil disobedience, check out the website of Ende Gelände. We want to thank everybody, who supported us along the way!! Thank you dear readers for your interest in what we do and for accompanying us on our second adventure! It was fun sharing our experiences with you🙂

Day 9 – Berlin – Lübben

Rested and with new companions on our side, we bade farewell to Berlin to make our way to the Climate Camp in Proschim. Two more days were waiting to be filled with sun, sweat and smiles. We rode out of Berlin as one big bikegroup, enjoying the space of having one lane for the last time in Berlin. On the outskirts we stopped to split into several groups, mixed by preferred way of riding. Most of the cooperiders stayed together in one group, joined by other riders from different groups.

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With the additional bike riders, we also gained the support of a mobile D.I.Y.-Kitchen, which accompanied Time 2 Cycle on their way. The kitchen team would be waiting for us in Lübben with delicious vegan food. Thus, we were aiming to arrive before sunset. Even though the distance with about 65 km was not outside our usual distance, the ride proved to be a bigger challenge for us than the previous days. Having a new composition of riders with different perspectives on how the ride should be, how to navigate and organize within the bike group and how to communicate, more time was needed to find a good rhythm. A flat tire also added to this drawn-out first half of the day, where we did not cover much way.

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We used our lunch break near a lake to rest and talk about how to organize the second half of the day in order to arrive somewhat timely for dinner. A second flat tire right before departure led to us splitting into two groups. The second part of the day went smoothly again. We managed to keep a good speed as the roads were better and often through forests, which created a relaxing and uplifting atmosphere.

It felt great being welcomed by the others, who arrived before us and to have a delicious vegan dinner (I can not stress this point enough) waiting for our tired but content bodies & minds. The evening continued with a big group meeting to address some organizational topics and give room to questions and concerns. For most of us going to sleep was a reward in itself after that day to be ready for the final stretch.

Day 7 & 8 – Berge – Berlin

The day began like all the others with bright sunshine, which made it impossible to sleep past 8 am, as the tent would heat up considerably. Breakfast eased us into the day, especially the fresh coffee provided by our hosts. We were happy to welcome another cooperider from Copenhagen, who joined us the night before and accompanied us to Proschim. Before we could depart however, we had to look for one of our beloved Walkie Talkies, which had been displaced. These little gadgets were a big help in the communication between front and back in the first cooperide and continued to serve us well.

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Having found it at last, we left Berge behind us to cover the 40 km to Berlin, where we would meet Time2Cycle and Vélorution, two other bike groups from the UK and France we were in contact with before. The ride went well with some forest paths offering welcome shade from the pressing sun. We stopped at a nice playground for lunch, which we used to gather our spirits.

 

A nice quote, carved in wood summed up what we thought: “It’s a perfect day for a perfect day!”. With this positive energy, we rode into Berlin, stopping for a selfie with Berlin’s mascot, the bear and to spread some factsheets about the crimes of oil companies on petrol stations along the way.

We were all happy to finally meet up with our bike comrades from Time to Cycle, Vélorution and other bike enthusiasts. To celebrate this meeting, we did a critical bike mass in Berlin from west to east, passing the Brandenburger Tor for some pictures. It was a joyous ride under the sun.

The first half of the next day was meant for rest, individual free time and more socializing. The second half we mobilized again for announced demonstrations at the doors of Vattenfall and in front of a showroom of VW. We were escorted by the police, having a whole lane to ourselves through the otherwise busy streets of Berlin. This felt comfortable and at the same time peculiarly unpleasant, as the high amount of police present was disproportionate to the lower amount of cyclists, which could give the impression of us being perceived as a big threat.

We were fed and housed by a number of collectives in Kreuzberg, a part of town with a long history of squats. We are very thankful for all that support and the warm welcome into their homes!

Day 6 – Neukamern – Berge

Today we woke up once more to beautiful sunshine and glimpsed out of the window into the marvellous Altmark district. Our hosts Winfried and Helga offered us a great morning breakfast. Gratefully we enjoyed this wonderful treat of hot coffee, freshly baked buns and home made jams; not to forget all the different cheeses and spreads in the table. We decided to leave a special thanks for this generous hospitality and handed over posters as a reminder to our stay. Soon we wanted to set off but encountered a little mishappening. Timo’s glasses had miraculously disappeared. The whole group went to search for them, of course. We turned around every bed sheet, looked in the bathrooms, the shed and garden. When we were close to giving up, one finally almost tapped on the glasses lying in the grass. Loosely fixed we set off to our day ride.

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We crossed the fields of the rural landscape, passed little waterways, sheep and majestic alleys. The wind was constantly giving us a hard time, yet this helped us find our way. Just head towards where the wind is the strongest! We crossed the Havel river and had our lunch break at a little lake near Kleeßen, in a countryside famous for Otto Lilienthal’s early plane experiments. Some of us enjoyed a dip in the cold lake, and we had a great lunch from our trailer foods. As we got a more relaxed schedule today, we took a real siesta in order to avoid cycling during the warmest hours of the day (and as our sleep deficit kept accumulating). Either way, there is hardly anything better than an afternoon nap.

Around three we took off for our next stage of the journey, rolling gently through the hills of the Eastern Havelland. Little splashes of water from the water pistol kept us fresh as we stopped for short breaks. We passed storks just a few meters from us, crossed seemingly forgotten watercourses and picturesque manor houses. At Ribbeck, a few of us went to see the pear tree that had become famous through a poem which many German pupils learn. Only a few kilometers further on we arrived at our campsite, which belonged to a site for reintegration of formerly criminal and disadvantaged youth. We also met Thor, a new Cooperide member who had come from Copenhagen to join us for the rest of the journey to Proschim. After we had put up our tents, our hunger could no longer be tamed. We sat on our bicycles again, following the promise of a (maybe) vegan Indian restaurant in Nauen. Riding without luggage we reached speeds higher than ever before, even up the hill to our neighbouring village. As we saw giant signs at an Italian restaurant, we decided to skip our plans and go for real Italian pasta. Thanks to the language and negotiation skills from an Italian native speaker in our group, we got a great serving of vegetable pasta in this big restaurant. Waiting in a sun chair for dinner to be served, we enjoyed a glass of beer or wine. Our mood had never been better; Berlin felt close at hand and we were looking forward to the meal. It turned out to be excellent, though we faced one little problem: It was not enough. After the first serving, we longed for another round, but the cook explained to us there was nothing left to be cooked. We bought all of the remaining antipasti and went home for another round of dinner from our trailer. Seldom have we seen so greedy faces when the nuts, cookies, wraps and other leftovers came on the (refunctioned) ping-pong table. Finally we had become very content. Later we lit a campfire in a tipi on the site and talked long into the night hours. It had been a fantastic day and we were extremely thankful for how it all turned out, both thanks to the great planning but also thanks to meeting friendly people wherever we go and having Fortuna on our side.

Day 5 -Gedelitz – Neukamern

After a mere two kilometers, we had our first stop at a place called Gorleben, an important landmark in the region´s struggle against nuclear waste deposition. One of our riders, who has been involved in the resistance against nuclear power for several decades, gave a short presentation on the history of how a local struggle developed into a nationwide, or even international, movement. The struggle against deposition of nuclear waste in the region is not just an example of the so-called NIMBY-syndrome: opposing the deposition of nuclear waste implies opposing nuclear power generation in general, for German legislation requires a designated deposition area prior to the production of the waste. More than about mere self-interest, the resistance is supposed to be about worldwide solidarity and concern for posterity.

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We continued on our way, leaving behind Lower Saxony on a ferry crossing the river Elbe at Schnackenburg, the smallest town of Lower Saxony. We followed the water, switching from the river Elbe to the river Havel. They continued to provide us refreshing lunch stops. Having not packed any lunch that day, we arranged a Tortilla buffet with beans, vegetables and spreads. Having to face strong winds along the rivers, this was much needed energy. The scenery did not hold back parading its lush and vast beauty in front of us. Sheep were running alongside the bikepath encouraging us to press forward against the wind to not give up.

 

The strong smell of rapeseed fields and lavender accompanied us like a waymark, also assuring us, that we are heading in the right direction. The rewarding goal of that day’s ride was a warm welcome by Winfried and Helga in their big self-built house situated in the small idyllic village of Berge. We not only had comfortable beds for the night but also a wonderful dinner on their porch provided by them. It was an evening filled with great conversations, where we learned more about their long commitment against black coal and the protection of the environment. A few beers got everybody into a mellow mood as we watched a gorgeous sunset.

 

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Day 4 – Lüneburg – Gedelitz

After a delicious dumpstered breakfast provided by our hosts, we started the day with a quick action at Lüneburg’s university. Cooperide handed over a part of the Parisian ‘Red Lines’ to the environmental officer of the university´s student government – a lasting present that will inspire future students to join the fight for climate justice from its place on the walls.

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Then it was high time for us to hit the road. Newly joined by two bike enthusiasts from Lüneburg we were a total of 14 cooperiders on the fourth day of our journey. We biked a demanding, but amazingly beautiful and sunny, stretch of 75 km into the heart of the German anti-nuclear struggle.

 

In Gedelitz our new hosts warmly welcomed us. Holding a big banner used during the first round of ‘Ende Gelände’ in 2015, they were a great symbol of solidarity between movements. Many of the anti-nuclear activists that have made such a difference in decades of struggle against the planned nearby nuclear waste facility now see coal as the next big challenge. And we agree, coal and nuclear are two sides of the same dirty coin. Of the old type of energy production that ignores its consequences, and that we are here to stop for.

Day 3 – Hamburg – Lüneburg

We left our kind hosts ADFC, the General German Cycle Club, with a festival feel as the streets of Hamburg were cleared for the public holiday, giving us a taste of what it could be like with few cars on the road and more space to cycle through cities at your leisure.

The ships had started to enter the harbor for the city of Hamburgs port birthday celebrations and accompanying us today were 4 members of the Norderstedt critical mass group, who joined us for the day. With 2 more cooperiders joining the ride at this point, we totaled 17. The car free moments kept coming as we took the Old Elbe Tunnel under the river, closed traffic for the holiday. A feat of engineering in its day.

A Beautiful 45 km through the countryside alongside the rivers Elbe and Immenau with a lunch break on the banks of the river Elbe. Idyllic scene after idyllic scene greeted us after every turn. Families, children and elderly were all out enjoying the sunny day. The cooperide spirit of supporting each other, cooperation and good humour was ever present on our third puncture of the day, which brought out creative human ingenuity. While some learnt to juggle, others used foam, two inner tubes and duct tape to get us on our way again.

We were warmly welcomed in Lüneburg by the members of a newly formed collective. Providing us with a bed for the night and an evening fresco dining experience in their farm, a beautiful, special place. We wish them well on their adventure setting up a home together.

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