From Warsaw to Berlin — in the footsteps of the Peace Race part 1
They tell stories of sweat, exertion and fame: Grand tours are more than just a nasty bike ride. They inspire the masses; they produce heroes. They become an annual summer fairytale to look forward to and remember with pleasure. The premier cycling event of the Eastern Bloc was the International Peace Tour for decades. Celebrated, acclaimed and instrumentalized. 66 years ago, the peloton also rolled over the ground of the former GDR for the first time and made the peace journey into a three-country tour, which started in Warsaw in 1952, led to Berlin and celebrated its grand finale in Prague.
In this Collection, we want to take you in search of clues. Join us on a road ride based on the 1952 Peace Trip Route. Discover Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic, enjoy wonderful landscapes, get to know places you have never heard of before and meet quiet witnesses who tell of a glorious time of Eastern European cycling along the route.
Part 1 of our own peace journey consists of seven stages. It starts in Warsaw, where you can easily reach by train or plane and ends shortly before Berlin. The idea of this Tour is not to form an exact image of the route at that time. This is hardly possible and often makes no sense at all, as you won't be riding on closed main roads like the pros did back then. But we follow the rough course. Important stage destinations are integrated as well as striking waypoints, which were already part of the tour at that time. That's why you'll always pass old stadiums and cross bridges over which narrow tires buzzed back then. Nevertheless, the Tour is supposed to be fun, which is why it often deviates from the big roads onto small side roads. In addition, we have divided the stages into sections, which you can complete in a day providing you're in good cycling condition. Of course, you can also split the stages further if you want to take a break or if you want to spend a little more time in a specific location. In all stage destinations, you'll find a nice selection of accommodation and, with a few exceptions, an excellent rail connection, so that you can basically also ride individual stages or shorten the tour.
If you ride through Poland, you will soon notice that cycling is not very popular. There are still not many cycle paths and motorists are not looking out for cyclists. The quality of roads in Poland is often not very good. Sometimes they consist almost exclusively of potholes and sometimes they are so deep that one can start to speak of craters. Be prepared for this by not planning a 30 mm cut, driving with foresight and having enough spare inner tubes with you. A slightly more stable tyre is also recommended. Take a relaxed approach and you will have a great and exciting time and gain many new experiences on the tracks of Eastern European cycling.
Here is the second part of our peace race homage: komoot.de/collection/710/von-berlin-nach-prag-auf-den-spuren-der-friedensfahrt-teil-2
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Last updated: December 21, 2021
Plan your own version of this adventure in the multi-day planner based on the stages suggested in this Collection.
April 30, 1952: 60,000 spectators filled the old stadium Wojska Polskiego and cheered on the heroes of cycling, which met annually in May for the International Peace Race, the Eastern bloc equivalent to the Tour de France. In 1952, the tour was first conducted by three countries: Poland, the GDR and…
After the first stage, the prologue with start and finish in Warsaw, the day two of the International Peace Race really started. The original route from Warsaw to Łódź was 139 kilometers long, and Czechoslovakian Stanislav Svoboda won the fifth edition in 1952.
Stage two starts and ends centrally in Warsaw…
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Today's stage deviates significantly from the original route of 1952. Because what is not a problem in a big bike race on closed roads, not only annoying on the wider corridor, but also dangerous. That is why we leave the big main road from Łódź as fast as we can and prefer to avoid the quiet hinterland…
Today the route takes you out of Czestochowa, into an initially picturesque stage through beet fields and meadows, where cows are the spectators of your life. This quiet ride through the Silesian province is not the original peace ride, but it is much quieter and safer.
At Wozniki, for the first time…
On the fifth day, about 171 kilometers are waiting for you. Two regular stages of the International Peace Cruise and lots of cobblestones help you to find your way into the world of emotions of the cyclists back then.
From Oppeln, there are two signs that you are slowly but surely approaching the German…
The sixth stage of our tour in the footsteps of the peace ride includes a real historical highlight. Because today you cross the border from Poland to Germany. What is nothing special today. In 1952, however, there was a significant innovation in the routing of the tour: For the first time, it also led…
Today, a stage of contrasts awaits you. But it begins as it ends: in a beautiful idyll. You start in the biosphere reserve Oberlausitzer heath and pond landscape, where you can enjoy the beautiful nature and quiet streets.
There is a contrast program around Boxberg, which lies in the Lausitz lignite mining…
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