We are very happy to welcome Wiebke Lühmann as a new member of the Project Horizon team. Wiebke is a passionate triathlete and loves adventures on the bike. Around these areas, she deals with many exciting topics that go far beyond mere sporting activities. In the following section, she introduces herself and explains what moves her.
Who am I?
I'm Wiebke, 26 years old and love bikepacking and Triathlon. I live in Konstanz on Lake Constance, am doing a master's in business education, do classic club sports, am part of the Constance triathlon team for the Baden-Württemberg League, and am an adventurer at the same time. For me, the balance between a structured training plan and spontaneous bikepacking trips is very valuable. In Konstanz, I have found a place where I can experience both.
What am I doing?
My favorite thing is to sit on the bike myself: either on a gravel bike or on a road bike. Sometimes long, sometimes short. Sometimes fast, sometimes without a rush. When I'm not riding, I talk a lot about cycling. I share my passion on my private Instagram channel @wiebkeluehBut the topic also comes up frequently in close exchanges with friends, acquaintances, family members, and flatmates. The more I ride, the more I love it. And the more I talk about it, the more I realize how many topics there are that are absolutely worth talking about. Either because they are beautiful and I want to share them with everyone, or because they are talked about far too little and I feel that talking about them can help overcome them. This led to the decision for me to become part of the newly founded collective The Women All Ride. Sharing knowledge, networking, and empowering each other has become an important part for me and my journey.
Why am I doing it?
For me, cycling is the most obvious realization that I can go really far under my own power. And the more I realize this self-efficacy, the closer I work with my body, the more I push my limits, the freer I can feel. And that is good for me. Not only do I become more independent and self-confident, but I can also give something back to others.
I am very privileged to have these experiences and to be able to talk about them. I enjoy sharing my stories and I have learned that we are in constant process. We grow, learn, and change every day. I am convinced that we can influence our lives through our actions, our thoughts, and our compassion and that motivates me enormously.
What am I committed to and what do I want to stand for?
Cycling is empowerment. You empower yourself, so to speak. It is the symbiosis between physical and mental strength, endurance, experiencing nature, and self-awareness. I want to pass all this on. I am convinced that with the right role models (i.e. real people with whom you, and especially women, can identify), the right environment and a pinch of courage, you can achieve anything. But I don't only want to inspire and motivate others, I also want to initiate complex topics and get into an exchange about them.
Wiebke's Bikepacking Adventure
In April, Wiebke went on a bikepacking weekend from Konstanz to Allgäu and back. Here, you can read what she experienced on her adventure:
From the lake to the mountains
In everyday life, I sometimes don't even notice how time flies. Get up, drink coffee, work, eat, more coffee, continue working, training, eat, mobile phone, sleep. The days in lockdown are often very monotonous. And bang, it's the middle of April again. What happens to all those hours?
I love sunsets. And independence. Even if the daily routine creeps in again and again, which is somehow normal, I love to break out and escape for a short time. To leave the usual structures, to challenge my body a bit, to breathe as much fresh air as possible and to clear my head at the same time. That's my goal for this tour, too.
This is how I motivate myself to set off again and again - and preferably alone - and change the horizon. The bicycle is my best companion. I cover long distances, can carry enough luggage and am not dependent on anyone. Only on myself. The decisions about where I sleep, what I eat or how far I ride are up to me. I enjoy discovering new places and finding my rhythm. Whether in the forest, on cycle paths or through rural villages, I gather numerous new impressions in just a few moments. Every minute is different. Every minute I am awake and in the moment. My legs may get tired, but my batteries are recharged. For me, it's not about travelling far at all at the moment. It's more about breaking away for a moment and taking a deep breath. Even though packing is sometimes very exhausting at the beginning and there are many small and big to-dos that I have to think about, I pull myself together to leave the comfort zone. It's the weekend escapes, the micro-adventures or overnighters that excite me.
From Lake Constance to the Allgäu
3 days | 2 nights | 292 kilometers | 3888 meters altitude difference
From Constance, I take the ferry to Meersburg, on the other side of the lake. The Alps can already be seen in the distance from the lake. They are somewhat obscured by fog. According to the weather forecast, the next few days will be between -5 and 15 degrees. I have everything with me, from a long merino jersey, overshoes and thick socks to a short jersey.
After the first 20 kilometers at the lake, I take my first break. I started late and it was already lunchtime. I get a muffin at the bakery and eat it right at the harbor. A man approaches me and asks where I'm going and whether "it's dangerous for a woman alone on a bike." I say I feel safe. The most dangerous thing in Europe, I think, is the traffic on the road, and I'm often spared that on a gravel bike because I'm often in the forest or on dirt roads.
On my bikepacking tour in South America 2019, I often thought, "can't choose whether I'm a woman or a man" when I was asked this question. However, this answer is usually not satisfactory for my counterpart. More convincing, on the other hand, is when I tell them that when I travel alone, people offer me help much more often. People seem more open and trusting when I'm travelling solo. And I enjoy this feeling of freedom and self-determination when I'm packing my bike.
Shortly after the first meters in altitude and the route leading away from the lake, I reach the first snow. I still have a good 1000 meters of altitude ahead of me today until I reach my destination for the day, Immenstadt. A few crisp climbs make me sweat, but the view over the mountains and the peace in the forest are worth it. I stop in the forest, eat the pretzel I brought with me, and am satisfied that I am finally on my way. My goal these days is to find my own pace and consciously enjoy the tour.
Day two -- from Immenstadt to Haubach near Isny -- I just let myself roll. I cycle just under 70 kilometers and in between I meet two other bikepackers who come to meet me on their route from Ulm to Munich. We hit it off right away and enjoy our adventures together. The track leads me through the snow-covered forests and I enjoy the view over the Illertal. The temperatures are pleasant. In between, I have to push because the snow is too high at over 1000 meters in altitude. I don't meet a soul for over an hour. I have the feeling that I am the only one in the forest.
The sun shines strongly from midday on the third day, so I can take off my arm and leg warmers and feel so energetic again that I plan a small diversion via Bad Waldsee. At 11:30, I have a second breakfast and stop for a portion of fries, which I enjoy on a meadow in front of Zeil Castle. My body clearly tells me what it needs. We make a good team, I think. In between, I discover the local sights -- old lime trees, fountains, streams, old buildings, farmhouses, meadows. I take away many impressions and even though my legs are very heavy at the end, I feel as if I have experienced more than in reality in the last three weeks. After 125 kilometers, my longest day is the last of my journey. Tired, hungry, and completely satisfied, I reach my front door.
The film about Wiebke's bikepacking tour to the North Cape
In August 2022, Wiebke set out on a cycling trip from Hamburg to the North Cape - covering 3,500 kilometers in 30 days. A longtime friend accompanied her with her camera. Watch the inspiring film here - a film about freedom, self-realization and traveling alone:
You are planning a bikepacking adventure and still need the right gear? Here you can find the RYZON clothing that Wiebke has worn and accompanied on her trip: