1100 kilometres in the saddle: Photographer cycles from Bonn to Berlin

1100 kilometres in the saddle : Photographer cycles from Bonn to Berlin

The photographer Mina Esfandiari rides the cycle path of the German Unity. So far she has only examined her Iranian roots, now she wants to get to know Germany better. She wants to create an illustrated book from her experiences.

The photographer Mina Esfandiari rides the cycle path of the German Unity. So far she has onlyexamined her Iranian roots, now she wants to get to know Germany better. She wants to create an illustrated book from her experiences. It should be an adventure of about 1100 kilometres. With muscle power the photographer Mina Esfandiari wants to experience the history of German unity on her bicycle. This is made possible by the "German Unity Cycle Route", planned by the Federal Ministry of Transport in 2015, starting in Bonn and finishing in Berlin. Esfandiari will start her tour on Saturday in the German capital. The photos she will take during her one-month trip from the Rhine to the Spree will be used to create a book of photographs and an exhibition.

"The first thought of doing the bike tour came to me two years ago when I saw an advertising poster for the cycle path in Berlin," says Esfandiari. Although the 34-year-old is an enthusiastic city cyclist, she also has respect for the route: "After all, you have to climb a few metres along the way. That's one of the reasons why she will be taking more time than officially planned for the 20 stages, with an average length of around 60 kilometres. "I'm not purely interested in sport, I want to get to know the country and its people.

The Berlin woman enters new territory through the photo project. So far she has mainly dealt with her Iranian roots in her work. "Now I want to explore my own country." She hopes to learn more about German unity. After all, she's been confronted with German-German history ever since she moved to Berlin. She is also interested in how people look back on the unification 30 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Esfandiari plans a kind of inventory: "What kind of feeling do people have after 30 years?" There should also be forecast/prediction. "What would people think would still have to happen in order to further promote unity?"

Many sustainable ideas

Another aim of the journey is to be as minimalist and sustainable as possible. This starts with the means of transport, the bicycle. She will not stay overnight in hotels, but mainly in tents and with private hosts. In addition, Esfandiari became creative: For example, she uses homemade deodorant and built herself a camping stove for the tour, consisting of a beer can and a clothes hanger. What sounds like a fun experiment has a serious background for her. "Our planet exists only once, we humans have to take care of it." She is pleased that at the moment many young people are working for more sustainability and climate protection, for example through the "Fridays for Future" movement. "That moves me and pulls me along."

In addition to getting to know German-German history, the people on the way and the topic of sustainability, she motivated people to travel, to bring the cycle path closer to other people and to encourage them to ride the tour themselves.

For more information go to radweg-deutsche-einheit.de.

Original text: Matthias Lorenz

Translation: Mareike Graepel