German cyclist rides around U.S. to commemorate 9/11, aid St. Jude's
On a BCM backpacking trip in Lassen National Park in July, SNEWS® happened to spy a wiry European-man with a loaded down bike -- obviously on a very long tour.
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On a BCM backpacking trip in Lassen National Park in July, SNEWS® happened to spy a wiry European-man with a loaded down bike — obviously on a very long tour. Looking closer, we noticed he was wearing European-manufacturer Vaude clothing and sporting Vaude stickers. So we addressed him in German. Alfred Guenthoer of Friedrichshafen, Germany (yes, where the OutDoor show is every summer), was halfway through his ride around the United States, sponsored, yes, by Vaude, which did it for two reasons: One, to honor the United States by commemorating the events of Sept. 11 by finishing his ride on Sept. 11 this year and, two, to raise money and awareness for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Peoria, Ill., which so happens to be one of Friedrichshafen’s sister cities. Guenthoer began his ride April 11 in Peoria, and finished it there on Sept. 11 after riding through 40 states and covering some 10,800 miles. On the last day of the ride, he reported to SNEWS, the local Peoria bike club escorted him the last 31 miles into town. He said he was involved in a whirlwind of press interviews and TV talk shows after his ride, and spent the six months on his ride also visiting schools and giving “more than 100” interviews about the importance of the work done by St. Jude’s. “Unfortunately, I can’t pinpoint the exact amount of donations since the press also just gave St. Jude’s as a general contact,” he told SNEWS®. “But my personal goal was to raise awareness, and that I was able to do everywhere I went.” SNEWS® View: SNEWS® was able to watch him in action talking to people at a popular vista point in Lassen Park, and he knew how to smile and talk to people in his English hinted with German. Now, if he’d had a sponsoring company that Americans knew, the company might have gained some beneficial exposure. Few outside of the hard-core outdoor consumers in the United States know about Vaude.