Torben Giehler

"Within half an hour I can leave Berlin and experience beautiful landscapes. No phones ringing, no news tickers announcing the latest madness from this world’s despots."


Torben's ride

"This is one of the most popular rides south of Berlin. Starting with the Grunewald Tower and the Pfaueninsel on lake Wannsee, we enter the solitary Nuthetal area. There, at Blankensee, we come across one of the best coffee stops of Brandenburg. Enjoy."

Distance: 122 km
Elevation: 610 m

Download the gpx route

How did you get into road cycling?
When I was ten I joined a newly founded cycling club in my city, the RC83 Bad Salzuflen. My cycling career wasn’t overly successful, though. At the age of 15 I decided that the few results didn’t really match the effort I put into training. So I turned my back on cycling.
When I turned 30 I thought of ways to end my sporting abstinence, and I bought a road bike. Back then I was living in Brooklyn, and every morning a large group of riders gathered in Prospect Park. That’s where I took up road riding again, and it has become a big part of my life since.

Who did you ride with back then?
The 5km lap in Prospect Park was a training ground where George Hincapie had grown up, and now I was riding there with his father. There were also a lot of former professionals from all over the world – caribbean sprinters, as well as the old guard from the Eastern Bloc. And every one of them had a story to tell – sometimes more than once.

What makes road cycling unique to you?
When I’m on my bike I can enjoy being close to nature and switch off from everyday life. Within half an hour I can leave Berlin and experience beautiful landscapes. No phones ringing, no news ticker announcing the latest madness from this world’s despots. On my bike I can simply have some peace and quiet.

Who is your cycling role model?
I usually stick with the riders who risk everything, even if their chances of winning are slim. In the past these were riders like Jens Voigt and Fabian Cancellara. This year Dan Martin and Alberto Contador impressed me with their panache. I was really happy when Alberto won the Vuelta’s penultimate stage on top of the Angliru, retiring in style.

What advice would you give someone who has just taken up cycling?
In the beginning it’s important to be patient. Don’t overestimate yourself. I needed quite some time until my body adapted itself to the road bike again before I started to enjoy longer group rides. If you don’t take your time, the enjoyment can vanish quite quickly.

How do you see Berlin’s cycling culture?
Extremely exciting.

What makes the city so liveable?
Berlin has so many aspects that I barely miss anything apart from the mountains.

What’s the one event from the history of cycling that everybody should know?
I grew up watching Jan Ullrich, and his Tour de France skirmishes with Marco Pantani had me glued to the telly. Starting with his Tour victory in 1997, I followed Ullrich until the end of his career when he was expelled from the Tour in 2006 with the Fuentes affair. But the most memorable moment was when he faded on the Galibier and lost nine minutes to Pantani.

Coffee ride, paceline, or three-day epic?
A perfect ride through Berlin takes at least 3 to 4 hours. Parts of it are fast enough to kick off the anaerobic metabolism so that you feel the lactate accumulating in your legs. But never leave out the regenerating coffee stop!

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