From Berlin to Prague — in the footsteps of the Peace Race part 2

Road Cycling Collection by
komoot

In 1952, a prestigious cycling event through Eastern Europe led riders into the GDR for the first time and turned the International Peace Tour into a ride through three countries. From then on, the three capitals Warsaw, Berlin and Prague were an integral part of almost every tour and would serve as either starting, finishing or stage points. The international peloton entered the magnificent avenues and stadiums of the cities in the city center with splendor and glory, cheered on by tens of thousands of spectators.

Part two of our peace race homage starts with the ride into Berlin. And while this route might not be an exact copy of the original tour, we promise you a beautiful, challenging and adventurous road ride over seven stages. That's because, as was the case in part 1, this Collection is more about great experiences on the bike rather than race levels of performance. Therefore, the tracks rarely follow the original route one to one, which would often simply make no sense, as the roads the pros used back then would have been closed off to car traffic for the occasion. Instead, we route you away from heavily trafficked roads. We have replanned the stages to make this ride a comfortable, memorable experience while being sure to take you across bridges and past stadiums that the riders of the day would have also visited—if they still exist. A special Highlight on this ride—even back then—is "the steep wall" of Meerane, which still exists today and has been included on the route.

The last stages will take you through the Czech Republic. As Bohemia is very rural, we recommend that you develop a small plan in advance—hotels, supermarkets and train stations are not going to be too easy to find here. So, estimate realistically how far you want to go and where you want to stay overnight and book it all up in advance. This will allow you to enjoy the wonderful landscapes of Bohemia in a relaxed yet reliable way.

All information, maps and GPS data for the first part of our Peace Race Collection can be found here: komoot.de/collection/700/von-warschau-nach-berlin-auf-den-spuren-der-friedensfahrt-teil-1

On The Map

Tours & Highlights

  • Difficult
    08:05
    116 mi
    14.3 mph
    2,750 ft
    2,650 ft
    Expert road ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may be unpaved and difficult to ride.

    This tour begins where the last leg of our first part of the 1952 Peace Road ended: on beautiful Lake Köthen. Here you can jump in again just before you start, so that you are fresh for the 187 kilometers that are on the plan today.This stage is very varied. It starts in the countryside and leads you slowly but surely into the middle of the fray of the capital Berlin. But many nice (cycling) paths make sure that the ride is fun. The closer you get to the city center, the busier it gets, so the ride is by no means boring. In addition, more and more catering options line your way, so you do not have to plan your breaks as meticulously as it makes sense on the rural stages.In the middle of Berlin, a historic stage destination of the International Peace Cruise awaits your flying visit: From 1966 to 1977, the pros in the stadium on Cantianstrasse took to the finish line, which they celebrated with great cheers from thousands of spectators. Of course, the colonels of the German Democratic Republic were also guests here and celebrated themselves and the great sporting event of the Eastern bloc. Today, the stadium is still here, but it has been renovated several times. The best place to look for a shady place in the Mauerpark, treat yourself to a snack, listen to the sounds of street musicians and remember a moment of glorious professionals who celebrated here the stage destination in the middle of the capital of the GDR.Go on. The souvenir photo at the Brandenburg Gate is probably a matter of honor before it slowly goes out of the city again. A little bit of glamor and glory in Potsdam and it's getting green again. Highlight here is the passage over the European Bicycle Route R1, which leads you wonderfully quiet through the middle of the forest to Beelitz, the old lung sanctuary, which was already the scene of various horror films.Now it will not be long before the stage destination in Lutherstadt Wittenberg. There are plenty of places to stay for every taste. The city is quite compact, so after showering you'll come to the city center, where you can fortify yourself and / or watch one or the other cultural highlight.To start this tour, unless you continue with Part 1 of our Peace Race Collection, the best option is to take the RB24 from Berlin to Halbe, from where it's about ten kilometers to the start. Alternatively you can of course start the tour directly from Berlin.

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  • Difficult
    06:09
    90.4 mi
    14.7 mph
    2,225 ft
    1,825 ft
    Expert road ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to carry your bike.

    From Wittenberg, you're heading straight for an area that was not that inviting anytime soon. Once around Bitterfeld, gigantic excavators once dug huge holes in the ground to extract the coal that was hiding there. What was an apocalyptic no-man's-land at that time has become a small paradise for cyclists in recent decades. The old mines were flooded, so here are really beautiful lakes around which kilometer-long bike paths were built. Today you can drive through it thoroughly. And if you did not know any better, you could easily say that it has always been so beautiful here.After the former opencast mining area you continue your journey in the direction of Leipzig. Leipzig has been a stage destination of the peace ride. At that time, the pros drove onto the cinder track of the Bruno-Plache-Stadium, which was certainly not so easy as the ground was relatively soft. The stadium still exists today, which is why we have built it into the tour for a small, authentic "memorial stop".After Leipzig, the tour is a bit hilly and you still collect a few meters. Passing beautiful lakes and idyllic river floodplains, the route leads you directly to the stage destination Altenburg, where, if you still have some energy, you can look at two interesting highlights or try them out. From Altenburg comes namely the Skatspiel. In the market place you can look at the corresponding monument. Maybe you find someone who plays with you a little bit? As a culinary highlight of the day, we recommend the Altenburger goat cheese, a real specialty that you should not miss. Altogether Altenburg is a nice stage destination. In its handsome old town you will find accommodation and meals en masse and the city has a good train connection.

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  • Difficult
    07:20
    101 mi
    13.7 mph
    4,475 ft
    4,700 ft
    Ferry
    Expert road ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may be unpaved and difficult to ride. The tour includes crossing by ferry.

    Today once again our peace ride commemorative tour leads you completely over German soil. Over 162 kilometers, you'll cover the distance from Altenburg to Pirna, crossing several major cities as well as idyllic sections and many challenging driveways.An ascent is legendary. The "steep wall of Meerane" made for awesome glances in the professional sound, even though the technical data are not so scary: 248 meters long with 30 meters of altitude - you should take that easy today. The short sting is steep and considering what material the pros were traveling with at the time, this climb was quite a challenge.Go on. Pass the Sachsenring and head for Chemnitz. In GDR times still called Karl-Marx-Stadt, Chemnitz was often stage start or finish in the context of the peace ride. Back then, the professionals of thousands of spectators cheered for the Ernst-Thälmann-Stadion, which today is part of the Sportforum Chemnitz, where there is still a cycle track.Now it gets really hilly. Via Oederan, Freiberg and through the Tharandter forest you drive through the middle of Saxony, before you make a long descent to Dresden. Along the Elbe is the last part of this stage to enjoy. The view of the river, the city and the Elbe bridges is really unique. You follow the Elbe to Pirna, where this stage ends in the middle of the medieval old town.

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  • Difficult
    10:02
    135 mi
    13.4 mph
    7,325 ft
    6,675 ft
    Expert road ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to carry your bike.

    From Pirna the eleventh stage of our tour starts in the footsteps of the International Peace Race - the last kilometers on German soil. Bad Schandau is the last place before the border. Here once the professionals were greeted frenetically in the GDR or adopted from it. Today there is the beautiful Elbe Cycle Route, which follows our route for quite a while and continues on the Czech side.Accordingly flat is the first third of the stage, until it becomes much hilier in the further course. And quieter. While it can be quite crowded along the Elbe, depending on the time of day and the weather, you will find fewer and fewer people the further you move southwards in beautiful Bohemia. Here and there a village, otherwise you can expect a lot of rest today. Therefore, take enough provisions with you, so that you are well supplied on the way.Things get busier towards the end of the stage in Pilsen. Known for its beer and cars, the Czech Republic's fourth largest city is a great destination. Here you will find the perfect accommodation for you and in the middle of the beautiful old town you can wonderfully end the evening.At 217 kilometers, this stage is very long. If that's too much for you, just divide it into two stages. For example, Ústí nad Labem, Podbořany or Plasy would be the stage destinations. Otherwise, the range of accommodations on the way manageable.

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  • Difficult
    06:40
    94.4 mi
    14.2 mph
    4,425 ft
    4,200 ft
    Expert road ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly well-paved surfaces and easy to ride.

    One might think that the motto of this tour would be "from beer to beer". But it is not. It is still about the peace ride. The fact that world-famous breweries are located in the starting and finishing locations is certainly a coincidence. The choice of cities in itself rather not: both are among the largest cities in the Czech Republic and are very representative - then certainly already a welcome means to present the world the magnificent east.That's why it went right in front of another showpiece object: This stage started in the original at the gates of the automaker Skoda. We save ourselves today and prefer to take a look at the Pilsener brewery. That's somehow more interesting. But then it really starts. It goes through the beautiful, green but also hilly southern Bohemia and accordingly today are some altitude on the program.You drive through beautiful nature and small, sleepy nests. At regular intervals, you can also travel through larger towns and cities, which invite you not only to take a break, because they are pretty to look at, but because you can treat yourself to well-deserved meals in the local restaurants or cafés.You have left most of the climbs behind you after about half the distance. Now, the more relaxed part of the tour, which brings you to the stage destination to Budweis. After 152 kilometers you made it. And you really deserve a little trip to the picturesque old town. How about a refreshing Budweiser for dinner at the historic market square?

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  • Intermediate
    04:25
    60.4 mi
    13.7 mph
    2,875 ft
    3,000 ft
    Intermediate road ride. Good fitness required. Mostly well-paved surfaces and easy to ride.

    If you left today's tour, you're probably wondering if you'll really arrive tomorrow in the capital of the Czech Republic on the final leg of our Peace Road tribute. Because today you drive through such idyllic rural areas, that the city bustle of Prague seems to be far away.Anyway, this Bohemia has really nice, green sides and that's exactly what you get to know today. It's going great when you follow the picturesque cycle path along the Vltava River from Budweis. You can race along the shores of the longest Czech river past all kinds of highlights: the idyllic flood plain, a raging white water loop, artistic sculptures and a climbing park - there is plenty to see.After about 40 kilometers you say goodbye to the river for now. Now it is hilly - not less idyllic. After all, the magnificent up and down twice brings you up to over 500 meters, so that today's stage is short but still relatively intense. In the destination Sedlčany you can once again enjoy Bohemian small town idyll before tomorrow calls the grand finale.In Sedlčany there is a manageable selection of accommodation, enough shops and even a train station with a good connection to Prague.

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  • Intermediate
    03:36
    45.3 mi
    12.6 mph
    2,225 ft
    2,725 ft
    Intermediate road ride. Good fitness required. Mostly well-paved surfaces and easy to ride.

    Bite again, at least a bit. Today the stage is short, but the beginning is still tough, because you are still in the hills of Bohemia. But after 30 kilometers it's over. A final, wonderful descent directly down to the Vltava ushers in the finish. Without great incline, you can now fully enjoy the trip to Prague.And today you are not alone on the road: Among road cyclists from Prague, this route is very popular. No wonder - the Vltava valley is really beautiful, even if the environment gets more and more urban the closer you get to the capital.If you're already there, a little "dangling" is waiting for you. After all, it's also the finale of your personal peace ride, and true to its role model, it ends at the Slavia Stadium. Unfortunately the old stadium is not there anymore and unfortunately not thousands of spectators will cheer for you - but that should not stop you from enjoying the moment here. Afterwards you will roll through Prague's Old Town, where you have the free choice to explore this beautiful city and end the day in style.

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    7
  • Distance
    642 mi
  • Duration
    46:18 h
  • Elevation
    26,325 ft
    25,800 ft

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