Heinz Stücke

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Heinz Stücke
Heinz Stücke poses with his three-speed bicycle for a photo while selling his wares in Paris. (9 July 1999)
Born (1940-01-11) January 11, 1940 (age 76)
Hövelhof, North Rhine-Westphalia
Residence None
Nationality German
Other names The Bike Man
Citizenship Germany
Occupation Cyclist, photographer, writer
Known for Cycling for most of his life through nearly every country in the world.
Website heinzstucke.com

Heinz Stücke (born 11 January 1940) is a German traveller, vagabond, and long-distance touring cyclist from Hövelhof, North Rhine-Westphalia. In 1995, he set a world record for bicycle touring.[1]

Global bicycle tour[edit]

In November 1962, the 22-year-old Stücke quit his job as a tool and die maker, and rode out of his hometown on a three-speed bicycle, with a plan to see the world.[1][2] He has never since returned to Hövelhof, stating that his extraordinary desire to travel has been partly motivated by his aversion to returning to factory work.[2]

In the early 1980s, after two decades on the road, Stücke decided to attempt to visit every country in the world. He believed he had accomplished his goal when he reached Seychelles in 1996, but he continued on.[2] Between 1962 and 2010, he cycled more than 609,000 kilometres (378,000 mi) and visited 195 countries and 78 territories. From 1995 through 1999, the Guinness Book of Records described him as having travelled more widely by bicycle than anyone in history.[1][3]

During his travels, he has encountered many hazards and suffered numerous injuries:

  • In the Atacama Desert of Chile he was hit by a truck.[2]
  • In Haiti he was chased by an angry mob.[2]
  • In Egypt he was beaten unconscious by soldiers.[2]
  • In Cameroon he was detained by the military for "slandering the state".[2]
  • In Canada he was in a car crash that plunged him into a freezing river.[4]
  • In the United States he was abandoned by an automobile driver who stole all of his supplies after offering him a ride.[1]
  • In Indonesia, 1974, he suffered a serious bout of dysentery.
  • In Zimbabwe, 1980, he was shot in the big toe by rebels.[2]
  • In Mozambique, 1995, he was attacked by bees while bathing in a river.[2]
  • In Siberia, 1997, his bicycle was stolen for the fifth time, along with his luggage (but soon recovered).[5]
  • In England, 2006, his bicycle—the same machine he rode from Hövelhof in 1962—was stolen again, this time from his campsite in Portsmouth. (The bicycle was recovered the following day in a local park.)[3][5]

Although he has ridden the same steel-framed bicycle on most of his journeys,[6] in 2002 he rode across Canada with a partner on a Hase Pino tandem recumbent bicycle, which Hase Spezialräder built and sponsored.[7]

Since 1962, Stücke has taken more than 100,000 photographs. He funds his expeditions with licensing revenue from his photo catalogue; donations; and sales of his travel writing, postcards, and booklets that feature his photographs, writing, and illustrations.[2][7]


  1. ^ a b c d Cowell, Alan (10 May 2006). "After 335,000 Miles, a Robbery Splits Man and Bike". The New York Times. Retrieved 1 July 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Ratliff, Evan (1 June 2004). "Let Us Now Praise Crazy Mofos: Heinz Stücke: Pedaling the Planet". outsideonline.com. Outside Magazine. 
  3. ^ a b Staff writer (9 May 2006). "World's most travelled bike found". BBC News: England. BBC News. Retrieved 30 June 2011.  External link in |work= (help)
  4. ^ Stücke, Heinz (1 June 2010). "An unfortunate accident". heinzstucke.com. Retrieved 29 November 2013. 
  5. ^ a b Seaton, Matt (21 May 2004). "Heinz Stucke rides through life". Taipei Times (Taipei: The Liberty Times Group). p. 18. Retrieved 21 September 2014. 
  6. ^ Stücke, Heinz. "Around the World by Bicycle". China Cycling Travelogues. Bike China Adventures, Inc. Retrieved 1 July 2011. 
  7. ^ a b Atkielski, Anthony (29 July 2009). "Heinz Stücke, World Traveller". Anthony's Home Page. Anthony Atkielski. Retrieved 1 July 2011. 

External links[edit]