Exploring the R1 on a Gravel Bike

Nature & Culture in Bikepacking Mode

Due to my continuous search of adventurous routes across Germany my friend Johanna and I explored nearly 175km of the D-Route 3 this past summer. We rode along the German segment of the approximately 5,000km stretch of the European cycle path R1.  Stretching from the Westphalian Münsterland to the Brandenburg Märkische Schweiz, the R1 traverses diverse natural and cultural landscapes.

Between cultural heritage sites, unique biosphere reserves, and the impressive remnants of industrial history, the European cycle path R1 had an incredible amount of highlights to offer.

D-Route 3 of the European Cycle Path R1

The European Cycle Path R1 D-Route 3 is a well-devloped long-distance path with good signage. We cycled through Saxony-Anhalt and Brandenburg with a relaxed-bikepacking-mode-speed. The quality of the road varies between smooth paved roads, dirt roads, somewhat challenging trails through the woods and paved bicycle paths. A pick-and-mix terrain wise. But with my new Asket Advanced Gravel Bike no matter the surface – I was well-prepared. Especially with bikepacking bags on the bike, I appreciated the extra riding comfort of the wide tires and the sporty yet comfortable bike geometry.

The Ghost Asket Advanced: The Perfect Bikepacking Bike?

I was fascinated by how comfortable it felt to ride the Asket from the very beginning. I didn't have much time for an extensive bike adjustment before the first ride. Usually, I like to prepare in detail for a bike trip: checking the route, my luggage, and, most importantly, my bike. It was a bit different for the R1, because my new gravel bike arrived just one day before departure!

I had no more time for a test ride since I mounted wider tires, handlebar tape, saddle and new pedals the evening before the start of our bikepacking trip. Saddle-, frame- and handlebar bags were attached to the bike frame the following morning and just after nearly three hours on the train, it was time to start the adventure – hoping everything would go smoothly.

On the very first tour, the Asket felt like it was made for me - top-notch comfort on the bike. Therefore it was not surprising to see me beaming whenever I sat on my gravel bike.

Thanks to SuperFit, I had never experienced such instant comfort with any bike before.  Since all bike-related topics were safe and sound, I was really looking forward to three exciting and adventurous days on the R1.

Day 1: Between Garden Dreams and UNESCO World Heritage

Our journey on D-Route 3 took us from Köthen in Saxony-Anhalt to Beelitz-Heilstätten in Brandenburg. On the first day, we cycled between garden dreams and magnificent castle estates, visited cultural heritage sites in Dessau, and admired modern Bauhaus architecture, ending the evening with a delightful gondola ride in the Wörlitzer Park. It was an impressive first day, but I could hardly wait to get back on the bike on the second day and explore more of D-Route 3.

1st Day Highlights:

  • Castles in Köthen and Mosigkau

  • Open-Air Museum in Reppichau

  • Bauhaus Dessau (School and Master's houses)

  • Wörlitzer Park

Day 2: Exploring Luther's heritage

We left behind the splendid, baroque castles after Schloss Oranienbaum in the morning and cycled along industrial cultural traces. The major highlight of the day: the enormous former open-pit mining excavators of Ferropolis near Gräfenhainichen. The open-air museum on a peninsula in the Gremminer See open-pit mining lake is a must-see!

After covering many paved bike paths in the previous kilometers, there were now more dusty gravel roads. With the grace of a knife cutting through soft butter, my Asket Gravel Bike effortlessly traversed over them.

The day's destination was Lutherstadt Wittenberg, a city with so many sights to see that one could spend several days there. For us, it was a stroll through the old town and a visit to the Asisi Panorama "Luther 1517," which vividly visualizes the era around Martin Luther's posting of the theses in a 360° panorama. Would definitely recommend a visit! The accommodation in the Cranach-Höfe, the home and workplace of the famous artist and contemporary of Luther, is highly recommended for bicycle travelers - with a bicycle garage, of course.

2nd Day Highlights:

  • Schloss Oranienbaum

  • City of Iron - Ferropolis

  • Lutherstadt Wittenberg wih Market Square, Castle Church, and Asisi Panorama

Day 3: Hello Brandenburg

As we approached the end of the journey, the Hohe Fläming and the wonderful Brandenburg forests gave us and our bikes solitary hours in nature on rooted trails and paved roads on the third day. Even the gravel bikes had to conquer a few meters of elevation, as the ice-age-shaped landscape offered some elevations, albeit with short inclines. Besides the castles of Rabenstein and Eisenhardt in Bad Belzig, where we took our lunch break, a unique view awaited us , at the end of the journey. High above the treetops and among the ruins of the former Beelitz-Heilstätten sanatorium, a treetop walkway led through the forest. While the bikes enjoyed a well-deserved break, I savored the view over the vast forests of Brandenburg. A successful conclusion to a varied bikepacking journey on D-Route 3.

3rd Day Highlights:

  • Castles Rabenstein and Eisenhardt

  • Bad Belzig

  • Treetop Walkway, Beelitz-Heilstätten

For three days, I followed the trails of German cultural history with the gravel bike, passing castles and fortresses, through beautiful forests, and impressive park landscapes.


The European cycle path continues for many thousands of kilometers across Europe, and who knows, maybe I'll continue the journey on it someday. There's certainly plenty to discover!"


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