After a few great days in Berlin to get the tour going, we leave at midday – 3 or 4 o’clck in this meditterannean climate. It’s an almost perfect day for pedalling: Sun, heat, but plenty of shade along the road to keep the atmosphere fresh. We follow the Mauerweg, a cycle path which traces the route of the infamous Berlin wall. It is the perfect context given this year’s bike tour theme: ‘Beyond Borders.’
We reach Potsdam without any great difficulty, and in the district of Babelsberg we reach the project we have come to visit. All of a sudden we are in front of the Projekthaus, where some peop
le are fixing bicycles, others learning German. Later on we play ping pong, an activity that happens every Monday to raise funds for the project.
It is 11 at night, and we still havent started dinner, but in the end everything works out, and the evening is relaxed, although many realise our legs are not so accustomed to the road. In a few days everything will be easier. Or so we hope… Everyone heads to bed early!
We met early for breakfast and a short meeting about how we would divide the remaining tasks including; a tankyou team for our hosts; a clean team, rocket stoves and lunch crew. After the morning work was over we held our first propper circle by the lake. Here we played some games to get to know eachother -with such a large group of 40 people this is bound to take some time. At the circle we discussed some of the values and roles or the Biketour, and sugggested some amendments for the drawing up of our ´task rota´, something that will guide us when we are tired and hungry in the future! After lunch – slightly stressfull for the food team due to not quite expecting so many people at the start, we set off for our first official cycle day and followed the outer Berlin Wall cycle route all the way to Potsdam.
The route was picturesque, apart form the obvious reminders of the origional reasons for this path.
In Potsdam we joined the Potsdam Projecthaus, who told us about their collective over dahl, made by our rocket stoves in their garden. The project was huge, with many workspaces, organic garden and a bike workshop. One of their focuses is providing skills and free space for refugees in the local area, from computer and language skills, to gardening and more practical skills. The project is owned through collective ownership with one larger orgnisation owning 50% of the land, and in this way, neither of the projects could fully own or sell it for profit on the housing market, but instead opperates in solidarity with other small projects. There we also met some people who were also involved im one of the projects we will later meet in Serbia, at Novi Sad. After a sucessful first cycling day, we settled into our tents awaiting the next wakeup call. – This time a duet Bright Eyes cover, with two ukuleles.