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Back to the wall: cycling Berlin’s Mauerweg

As the 30th anniversary of its fall approaches, a cycle ride along the route of the Berlin Wall reveals a once-divided city now open and welcoming

It makes for delightful cycling: dappled sunshine, a smooth path, birds in the trees. The only clue that this isn’t just any woodland trail is the height of those trees: the oaks and beeches are young, barely three metres tall.

That’s because we’re riding on what, until 1989, was the “death strip” – the zone between Berlin’s inner and outer walls, filled with tripwire machine guns, trenches and dogs, and guarded by soldiers in watchtowers. This November sees the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, and I’m riding stretches of the Berliner Mauerweg – the 160km trail tracing its path – to see how the city has rearranged itself in three decades.

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