The temptation was waiting at kilometer 90, just behind the village of Nierstein near the town of Mainz. Once again I was on a diversion (this time, for a change, exemplary signposted) and had driven for a while through vineyards. In the villages I had seen a lot of people sitting comfortably in “Strausses” drinking new wine and eating onion tart. The sun was shining and I thought: If I would not try to ride as many kilometers as possible for “School up! River down!”, I would now for sure take the time to set in. I remained hard and continued cycling with my folding bike. Behind Nierstein, below the “Red Slope” – named after its clay sandstone ground and known for its excellent Riesling wines – about 30 people blocked the bike path.
Date17. September 2017 | 22:16
TagsAid project: School up!, Altrip, Bingen am Rhein, Folding bike, Mainz, Nierstein, Rhine, School up! River down!, Wine
I will sleep well, no matter how loud it is. “I have to warn you,” said the hotel staff at the front desk. “We have three wedding parties today, and music might be played until 6 a.m.” The hotel in the village of Altrip, located on the so-called “Blue Lagoon” about 15 kilometers from the gates of Ludwigshafen, specializes in the align of weddings. On the other hand, it also offers a special discount for bike tourists. Exemplary! And so I stood around 6 p.m. in my bike pants in the hotel lobby, a few meters away from me one of the three brides – and many guests who were dressed up. “Don’t worry,” I answered to the receptionist. “I’m all run down, I’ll sleep like a stone.”
Date16. September 2017 | 23:00
TagsAid project: School up!, Altrip, Karlsruhe, Ralf Dujmovits, Rhine, School up! River down!, Söldlingen, Sölllingen, Speyer
It was the day of encounters. At first I cycled – for a change, in sunshine – along with a Swiss from the town of Zug, in his mid-60s, tanned, on a mountain bike that had already seen better days. “I’ve stopped working after 45 years,” the cyclist told me. “And now I am fulfilling my life dream. I always wanted to make a long bike trip.” I asked him how much time he took for the ride along the Rhine. “I’ll see how far I get until winter,” he said, grinning. In the further conversation it turned out that he was also a passionate mountaineer. He had climbed all four-thousanders of his home country, said the Swiss: “Actually, I had always dreamed of climbing Mount Everest one day. But tourism on this mountain has nothing to do with the way of climbing that I like.”
Date16. September 2017 | 0:19
TagsAid project: School up!, Folding bike, Kehl, Nancy Hansen, Ralf Dujmovits, Rhein, Rhine, Rust, School up! River down!, Söllingen
The man was so wrong. “This is passing by and it will be raining in the Black Forest,” the hotelier said in the morning in Laufenburg when I drew his attention to the threatening black clouds in the sky. His weather forecast stood up to reality about ten kilometers riding with my bike, exactly to Bad Säckingen. There it began to rain and did not stop until the early afternoon. The way to Bad Säckingen, I had heavy headwinds, even squalls, which had torn branches from trees and made garbage bags drifting across the street. At the same time, I even wondered if I was cycling in the right direction: the storm caused waves on the Rhine against the direction of flow. Well, I thought, if now in addition rain comes along, the weather inferno is complete.
Date14. September 2017 | 21:59
TagsAid project: School up!, Bad Säckingen, Basel, Breisach, Folding bike, Laufenburg, Rhine, School up! River down!
I am exhausted. What a day! I feel I have fought constantly. Against the heavy legs, my weaker self, against some, thank God, only short rain showers – and especially against the headwind. It has made me almost see red. It began already shortly after the start in the town of Kreuzlingen, when I rode along the so-called Untersee, the lower part of Lake Constance, before it flows into the River Rhine again. I was happy that the announced rain showers first stayed away, but the wind blew straight in my face. And this in addition to the fact that I really felt the first two stages of my donation bike tour “School up! River down!” with a total of 226 kilometers within two days in my calves.
Date13. September 2017 | 22:39
TagsAid project: School up!, Kreuzlingen, Lauenburg, Rhein, Rhine, Rhine Falls, Schaffhausen, School up! River down!, Stein am Rhein
I know every rain is a kiss from heaven. But there are days when you do not want to be kissed, at least not from above. Unfortunately no one asks. This morning in Bad Ragaz, I had to pack my tent already wet. I started to ride in rainwear. After all, the involuntary shower ended after half an hour. I cycled down the Rhine with my folding bike for a long time on the dike top of the right side of the river. So I made flying visits in two other countries, first Liechtenstein, then Austria. Again and again some drops fell, but I could not bring myself to put on the rainwear again.
Date12. September 2017 | 23:08
TagsAid project: School up!, Folding bike, Kreuzlingen, Lake Constance, Rhine, Romanshorn, School up! River down!
I pitched my tent in Heidiland. This is how Bad Ragaz baptized their website. At the end of the 19th century, Johanna Spyri wrote in this small town on the Rhine her famous Heidi novels about the orphan who grew up with her grandfather, the “Almöhi”, living in the mountains. Spyri’s novels, with their slightly romanticized view of the life in the mountains, became one of the great Swiss export hits. Theoretically, Heidi could have had a folding bike. The first patent was issued in 1878, two years before the first Heidi novel was published. The original version, however, had little in common with my folding bike, which I used today on the first stage of “School up! River down”. Mine has 20-inch wheels, an eight-speed derailleur and weighs about 14 kilograms. I have to pat it on the saddle, today it has stood the test.
Date11. September 2017 | 21:29
TagsAid project: School up!, Bad Ragaz, Chur, Disentis, Donation campaign, Folding bike, Heidiland, Ilanz, Oberalp Pass, Rhine gorge, School up! River down!
“Gruezi” from the Oberalp Pass at an altitude of 2044 meters in Graubünden in Switzerland. After a ten-hour train journey, during which I had to change trains four times with about 40 kilograms of luggage (including my folding bike), I have reached the starting point of my donation bike tour “School up! River down!”. One of the Rhine sources is located about three kilometers from here. When I arrived up here late in the afternoon, I was surprised: early September and already winter conditions.
Date10. September 2017 | 20:09
TagsAid project: School up!, EuroVelo 15, Faltrad, Florin, Graubünden, Hilfsprojekt in Nepal: School up!, Nepal, Oberalppass, Rhein, School up! River down!, Thulosirubari
Despite my love for the mountains, I am also a river man. More precisely, a Rhine man. I was born in the Rhineland and grew up there, I live 30 meters as the crow flies from the river and work 100 meters from the Rhine. Day after day I ride the bike along the shore. I was exactly doing this when I came up with the idea of my next fundraising campaign for “School up!”.
Along with the climbers Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner and Ralf Dujmovits, I had launched “School up!” two years ago to rebuild the school of Thulosirubari, a mountain village about 70 km east of Kathmandu. The school had been destroyed by the devastating earthquake in Nepal in April 2015. Despite the heavy monsoon, the construction work has continued in recent months, the school building is increasingly taking shape (see the slideshow below). But we have not yet reached the goal and need more donations. That’s why I’ll start a week today a donation bike tour under the motto “School up! River down!”.
Date4. September 2017 | 13:35
TagsAid project: School up!, Faltrad, Hilfsprojekt in Nepal: School up!, Mündung, Quelle, Rhein, Rhine Cycle Route, School up! River down!
The weather currently makes life tough not only for the mountaineers in the Karakoram. Also in Nepal it thwarts many time schedules. The work on the new school in Thulosirubari has now been slower because of the monsoon, writes me Shyam Pandit, Nepalese liaison man of the “Nepalhilfe Beilngries”. The German aid organization coordinates the construction of the new school building, which became possible through your donations for “School up!”. Along with the well-known climbers Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner and Ralf Dujmovits, I had launched the donation campaign two years ago to rebuild the village school of Thulosirubari, about 70 kilometers east of the capital Kathmandu, as quickly as possible. The school had been so badly damaged by the devastating earthquake in Nepal on 25 April 2015 that it had had to be demolished. Since fall 2016 the construction work is in progress. Actually, the first construction phase should have been completed before the rainy season.
Date6. July 2017 | 15:35
Yesterday was the second anniversary of the devastating earthquake in Nepal. About 9,000 people died, more than 22,000 were injured, hundreds of thousands of homes collapsed or were severely damaged and thus became uninhabitable. Many people in the most affected mountain regions are still living in shelters. In the village of Thulosirubari in Sindhupalchowk District, about 70 kilometers east of the capital Kathmandu, has been a hive of construction activity over recent months. The donations for our aid project “School up!” have made it possible to start building a new school for more than 500 students, the construction is operated by the Nepalhilfe Beilngries. The old school had been so badly damaged by the earthquake that it later had had to be demolished. In recent weeks there have been temporary supply bottlenecks for constructions material, as well as a lack of water to mix concrete. Since the school ground is located on a hill, the water has to be pumped up or – if the pumps fail – even be carried up.
Date26. April 2017 | 14:35
TagsAid project: School up!, Devi Dulal, Earthquake, Nepalhilfe Beilngries, School committee, Sindhupalchowk, Thulosirubari
Tailwind. There was a lot of it for our “School up!” project yesterday. The Rhineland-Cologne section of the German Alpine Club (DAV) had invited to a charity event to support the reconstruction of the school in Thulosirubari which had been destroyed by the earthquake in Nepal in 2015. The hall in Cologne was sold out. About 400 mountain lovers had come to be taken away by Ralf Dujmovits to the highest mountains in the world. At the end of June 2015, I had launched, along with Ralf and the Austrian top climber Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner, “School up!” to rebuild the “Gerlinde and Ralf School” as soon as possible. All proceeds of the evening in Cologne flowed into the current construction work in the small village, about 70 kilometers east of Kathmandu.
Date25. March 2017 | 22:25
TagsAid project: School up!, Charity evening, DAV Cologne, German Alpine Club (DAV), Kalle Kubatschka, Mutzbacher Alphornblaeser, Ralf Dujmovits, Stefan Wiemer
An aid organization like a family – the Nepalhilfe Beilngries celebrated its 25th birthday yesterday evening with a festive event in the small Bavarian town. “I am proud that I have been part of the Nepalhilfe family since it was founded,” said Sunil Shrestha in his speech, bravely delivered in German. The 57-year-old has been coordinating the aid projects of the organization in the Himalayan state for a quarter of a century. Sunil and Shyam Pandit, also an important liaison man, had traveled, along with their wifes, from Kathmandu to Beilngries to celebrate with their German and Austrian friends. “The family should be proud of what we have achieved,” Shrestha said.
Date19. March 2017 | 14:54
Tags25 years, Dujmovits, Jubiläum, Kaltenbrunner, Kammerlander, Nepalhilfe Beilngries, Petschl, Shyam Pandit, Sunil Shrestha, Thulosirubari, Winkler
The relatively dry winter in the Nepalese district Sindhupalchowk has played into the hands of our aid project “School up!”. The construction work for the new school in the village of Thulosirubari, about 70 kilometers east of Kathmandu, could be continued almost without interruption. Meanwhile, the plate of the second floor is practically finished. The goal of completing the construction work (except for the painting) before the monsoon starts in summer seems realistic. The constructors of the new large Berlin airport who have not come to an end for years could take an example of such effectiveness (in Nepal!). Here are some more pictures:
Date10. March 2017 | 14:20
TagsAid project: School up!, Charity event, DAV Cologne, Nepal, Nepalhilfe Beilngries, Ralf and Gerlinde School, Ralf Dujmovits, Sindhupalchowk, Thulosirubari
Four are standing around and discussing, one is working. This image is known from public construction sites in Germany. The situation is quite different in Thulosirubari, a small village about 70 kilometers east of Kathmandu. There the new school is being built with great enthusiasm – made possible by your donations for our aid projekt “School up!”. “All villagers are happy to be able to help with the work,” says Shyam Pandit, liaison man of the German aid organization “Nepalhilfe Beilngries” in the Himalayan state. Devi Dulal, head of the local school committee, is also delighted: “This will be a unique building for us. The work on this is very satisfactory for us.” The old school had been so badly damaged by the devastating earthquake at the end of April 2015 that it had had to be demolished. At the end of June 2015, I had launched – along with the extreme climbers Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner and Ralf Dujmovits – “School up!” to rebuild the school as quickly as possible. In the meantime, the ceiling of the first floor has been concreted. Here are some impressions of the construction site from the past weeks:
Date31. January 2017 | 15:38
TagsAid project: School up!, DAV Cologne, Devi Dulal, Gerlinde and Ralf School, Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner, Nepalhilfe Beilngries, Ralf Dujmovits, Shyam Pandit, Thulosirubari