"Nothing can stop me"

by Ruth Bücker,  2011/09/29

Since April of this year, Heinz Allgaier has been on the road with his bike. Since then, he has travelled through 15 countries - a distance of 11,810 kilometres. Heinz pedals for charity purposes and the money collected by means of his campaign is donated to a children's day care centre in South Africa, which is supported by humedica. And this day care centre also was Heinz’ first important interim goal, which he reached a few days ago.

Dear Heinz, you have been travelling for almost six months now. How do you feel?

I feel absolutely perfect. I'm as fit as a fiddle and I can't complain. And then, right now, I’m having a two-day break in Buenos Aires and during the days I spent in Cape Town before this stay I didn't cycle either and it rather felt like a short holiday.

Sometimes, it was hard; when I cycled for a period of 18 days without a break. But even though I was tired, I wanted to go on by all means. Nothing can stop me.

How does your day look like? Is it you alone with your bike all day long, do you often stop in villages or do people "accompany" you?

It was great fun above all in Ethiopia and Kenya. Life of the people there happens right by the roadside, i.e. their huts or accommodations and market stands are mostly set up to the left and right of the main road. And hence, the roads I cycle on.

"I smoked a peace pipe with the Masai - however, only under the precondition that he could test my bike." Photo: humedica/Heinz Allgaier

Sometimes I couldn't cycle more than two kilometres alone and even had some kind of competition with local cyclists. They accompanied me for short distances and challenged me to have a race with them. And I have to admit: they were really good sprinters.

Luckily, they lacked stamina and soon fell behind, and hence I was the winner of long-distance races. But I certainly had some entertaining moments with them. One of them, a Masai in Kenya, even rode my bike.

This was a hilarious scenario: the tribal warrior with his traditional clothes and his spear riding my bike. It was great. I often have encounters like this one, which contribute to enriching my tour even more.

And how do you feel mentally? What are your impressions of the European and African countries you have crossed by bike?

Well, actually, I feel absolutely perfect. Although, sometimes, I was alarmed to see the people's poverty. Although I've seen poverty in some of the European countries, it was in Ethiopia where I really noticed the poverty for the first time. It seemed to be an immensely poor country.

The children didn't beg, but you could see their poverty by merely looking at them. I didn't come face to face with the current famine, since I didn't cycle through these regions. But above all in the south of Ethiopia I saw the meagre and dry country and with this sight in my mind I could at least imagine the extent to some degree.

And apart from that, I had completely different impressions. Every country I crossed had its own beauty and they were very different from each other with regard to culture, food, landscape, weather and road conditions - which are very important for me as a cyclist.

Which was your most impressive experience during the 11,810 kilometres you have travelled so far?

I had numerous impressive experiences on my journey. The landscapes I have travelled through: across mountains, along the sea, through lush green regions and then through dust and sand. All of that were great and impressive experiences.

Heinz Allgaier at "his" project Sibongile, which he intends to support with the donations he receives. Photo: humedica

But what nevertheless impressed me most, was Sibongile. The institution for disabled children is an amazing project and I am very pleased that I can support it. Without the staff working at Sibongile, the children would lead very sad lives. When I thought about this, I didn't feel so good any more.

And I am grateful for the fact that I have such a good life. And for the fact that the environment I grew up in was not as dangerous and criminal as is the environment of many children in the poor slums of Cape Town.

These days I spent in Cape Town and with the children and employees of Sibongile, made me reflect a lot, but I am glad that I could experience this. I'd never want to miss that visit, and at no point during my tour around the world was I so sure about doing the right thing, like then.

Did this interim stop at Sibongile increase your motivation further?

When I started my tour around the world, I was of course motivated to start with, or I wouldn't have set out. But the days in Cape Town and at the children's centre Sibongile really did increase my motivation, yes.

The days I spent there were filled with emotions. 35 children are taken care of at the institutions; children who are severely disabled and partly HIV positive. And that gave me an additional incentive and increased my original motivation even further.

How will your journey go on?

According to current plans, the next stage of my journey will lead me from Buenos Aires across the Andes to Santiago de Chile. Then I will cycle southwards along the Andes Mountains to Ushuaia in Patagonia.

After a short trip by bus or plane I will then cycle northwards once more on the Argentinean side of the Andes, through Bolivia and Peru to Ecuador. Then I'll be on the road again.

Dear Heinz, thank you very much for the interview and we wish you all the best.

The cyclist from the Allgäu region cycles around the world and calls for donations which will be used for supporting the Sibongile Day & Night Care Centre in Cape Town. A new building is to provide sufficient space for special exercise therapy which will be implemented by honorary physiotherapists from Germany and other countries.

The day care centre and the physiotherapeutic treatment enable the children, who suffer from cerebral palsy, to lead a better life. And for this purpose, Heinz Allgaier cycles around the world. Please support him and the girls and boys at Sibongile by means of a targeted donation.

      humedica e.V.
      Donation reference “Cycle Tour around the World
      Account 47 47
      Bank Code 734 500 00
      Sparkasse Kaufbeuren

You can also support the humedica projects by means of sending a text message: send the reference DOC to +49 8 11 90 and you will make a donation of 5 euros, with 4.83 euros of this amount being directly channelled into targeted relief projects. Thank you very much.

On his tour around the world: Heinz and the team of the children's day care centre Sibongile. Please support us with your donation. Photo: humedica

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