Heinz Stücke: The Touring Cyclist Who Covered the Most Miles Ever

 

Heinz Stucke
When it comes to touring cyclists who have covered the most miles ever, there are a few names that come to mind. However, one cyclist stands out above the rest - Heinz Stücke.

Heinz Stücke, born in Germany in 1940, started his cycling journey in 1962 at the age of 22. He set out on his first tour from his hometown of Hövelhof, Germany, with the intention of cycling through Europe. He pedaled through France, Spain, and Portugal, and eventually reached Morocco. He continued his journey through Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, and soon found himself cycling around the world.

Stücke's cycling adventure didn't stop there, as he continued to tour for over 50 years, covering a staggering 648,000 kilometers (or approximately 403,000 miles) in total. This distance is equivalent to cycling around the equator over 16 times, or making more than 15 trips from New York to Los Angeles.

Stücke's journey took him through over 200 countries, and he was always eager to learn about different cultures and ways of life. He supported himself along the way by selling photos, writing articles, and even performing as a street musician.

Stücke's bicycle of choice was a heavy-duty, custom-built touring bike that he affectionately named "Expedition." He carried all his belongings on the bike, including a tent, cooking gear, and a typewriter. In fact, Stücke was known for his minimalist approach to touring, preferring to live simply and carry only the essentials.

Stücke's travels were not without challenges. He faced dangerous situations, such as being robbed at gunpoint in Colombia and being stranded in a remote area of Siberia for several days. He also endured physical hardships, including multiple broken bones and bouts of illness.

Despite these challenges, Stücke remained committed to his passion for cycling and traveling. He believed that the world was a beautiful place and that people were inherently good, and his travels only reinforced these beliefs.

In 2019, at the age of 79, Stücke returned to his hometown of Hövelhof, completing his final tour. He had planned to continue cycling, but he found it increasingly difficult due to health issues.

Heinz Stücke's cycling journey is a testament to the power of human determination and the joy of exploration. His travels inspired countless people to get on their bikes and see the world for themselves, and his legacy will undoubtedly live on for many years to come.

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