Project Horizon // Wiebke Lühmann
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 subjects, she deals with exciting topics that go far beyond just sports. In the following section, she introduces herself and explains what moves her.
Who am I?
I'm Wiebke, I'm 27 years old and I love bikepacking & triathlon. I live in Constance at Lake Constance, study business education in my master's degree, do classic club sports and I am part of the Triathlonteam Konstanz for the Baden-Württemberg League. At the same time, I am an adventurer. For me, the balance between a structured training plan and spontaneous bikepacking trips is very valuable. In Constance I have found a place where I can experience both.
What do I do?
Most of all, I like to sit on the bike: either on a gravel bike or on a road bike. Sometimes long, sometimes short. Sometimes fast, sometimes without hectic. When I'm not riding myself, I talk a lot about cycling. I share my passion on my private Instagram channel @wiebkelueh. But the topic also comes up frequently in close exchanges with friends, acquaintances, family members and roommates. 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 like talking about them can help overcome them. This led to the decision for me to become part of the newly formed collective The Women All Ride. Sharing knowledge, networking and empowering each other has become an important part for me and my journey.
Why do I do it?
For me, cycling is the most obvious realization that I can get 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 does me good. Not only does it make me more independent and confident myself, but it also allows me to give back to others.
I am very privileged to be able 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 are growing, learning and changing every day. I am convinced that we can influence our lives ourselves 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, nature experience and self-awareness. I would like to pass all this on. I am convinced that you can achieve anything with the right role models (real people with whom you can truly identify), the right environment and a pinch of courage. 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.
In April, Wiebke went on a bikepacking weekend from Constance to the Allgäu region and back. Read here what she experienced:
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, workout, eat, cell 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 this daily routine creeps in every now and then, which is kind of normal, I love to break out and get away 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. That is my goal on this tour as well.
That's how I motivate myself to go out again and again - and preferably alone - and to 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. 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 along the way. Whether in the woods, on bike 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 get tired, but my batteries are recharged. For me it is not about traveling far, 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 ALLGÄU
3 days | 2 nights | 292 kilometers | 3888 vertical meters
From Constance, I take the ferry to Meersburg, on the other side of the lake. The Alps are already visible in the distance from the lake. They are somewhat obscured by fog. According to the weather forecast, the next few days should be temperatures 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 directly take my first break. I started late and it is already lunch time. I get a muffin at the bakery, which I eat directly at the harbor. A man speaks to me and asks where I’m going and whether "that is not dangerous as a woman alone on the bike?". I say I feel safe. The most dangerous thing in Europe, I think, is the traffic on the road - and I am often spared on the gravel bike, because I am much in the forest or on dirt roads.
On my bikepacking tour in South America tour 2019 I often thought, "Well, I can‘t choose whether I am 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 people that when I travel alone, they offer me help much more often. People's openness and trust seem greater when I travel solo. And I enjoy this feeling of freedom and self-determination when bikepacking.
Shortly after the first meters of 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 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.
On day two – from Immenstadt to Haubach near Isny – I just let myself roll. I ride around 70 kilometers and in between meet two other bikepackers who meet me on their route from Ulm to Munich. We get along well right away and are happy about our adventures. 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 altitude. I do not meet a soul for over an hour. I get the feeling that I am completely alone in the forest.
The sun on the third day shines strongly from noon, so that I can take off my arm and leg warmers and feel so energy loaded again that I plan a small detour via Bad Waldsee. At 11:30 I put in a second breakfast and stop for a portion of fries, which I enjoy on a meadow in front of the castle Zeil. My body is clearly telling 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 the last three weeks. After 125 kilometers, my longest day is the last of my trip. Tired, hungry and completely satisfied I reach my front door.