Show 34: Heinz Stücke Interview

Heinz Stucke, Copyright Anthony Atkielski (Agateller)Heinz Stücke is the world’s most experienced bike tourist.

On the road since 1962, he’s covered 600,000km by bicycle, through most of the countries in the world. Now 70 years old, Heinz is still going strong.

I was fortunate to speak to Heinz by phone while he was taking a winter break in Paris.

In this 45-minute interview (the best of a 2 hour phone conversation), Heinz talks about how his approach to bike touring has changed over the years, why he doesn’t wear a helmet but believes it should be illegal to cycle without a mirror, how he really feels about bicycle paths and what he hopes to achieve in future years.

Show Notes:

*Some people have indicated they find Heinz hard to understand because of his accent. Thanks to Jesse, a kind reader, we have a transcript of the interview with Heinz Stücke!

Comments

  1. Peter Gostelow
    19th February 2010 at 11:02 am #

    Interesting to hear the old guy have a ramble. I can see how this interview would have taken some editing. He seems to have a lot on his chest and is really quite angry at times. This was surprising. I find it interesting that his mission is still purely to tick off countries – or am I wrong? I too have met at least half a dozen people who’ve met the guy, one of which is my friend Tim. They met outside a charity shop in Australia. Tim told him he’d cycled from England and Heinz’s reply was: “That’s a good start”. Hilarious.

  2. George Snow
    19th February 2010 at 12:13 pm #

    Hello Heinz, why don’t you join us in Palestine. It’s a great place to cycle. Truly another World .Geographically, historically and of course politically. http://www.bikepalestine.com

  3. umitorhan
    5th March 2010 at 2:07 am #

    Thank you very much for this great interview!
    The talk was so good that i could listen to him until the morning.
    I think I would not call his mission to “tick off” countries. And also, if it was his mission, it is still not easy and as seen in the example takes the whole life.
    it is very clear that “he rides therefor he is”.
    it is not necessary to cover the ride with something that you really dont care about, just to be seen as doing something that seems good for the society.

    Was this interview made with a normal phone call? Were you the ones who is calling? After 45 minutes(or 2 hours) of great talk, it seems like he had been let go. 🙂 I can understand that but i wish it would be longer.

    Thank you very much for this interview again.
    This blog is a wonderfull discovery for me.

    Cheers

    • friedel
      5th March 2010 at 7:12 am #

      The interview was done by Skype on my end, and a normal phone on Heinz’s end. You are right – the end to the interview is not the best and yes, I was trying to let him go. The background was that he had just returned from Japan, was still jetlagged and had been planning to go to sleep when I called! Also, he was heading for Germany the following day and was expecting a phone call from a friend there. For all those reasons, I thought maybe I should let him go after 2 hours of chatting. I’m glad you’re enjoying the blog 🙂

  4. Jon Picklesimer
    10th March 2010 at 10:53 am #

    I just wanted to thank you for posting this. I have come to greatly admire Heinz and the values/standards he lives by. I hear he is cycling Canada this summer. Any idea on how to find out his locations throughout his tour?
    Thanks,
    Jon

  5. Richard Beale
    23rd May 2011 at 1:59 pm #

    Heinz, We met in the late 60’s in Birmingham Alabama. I was one of the fellows that imvited you to stay the night in the servants quarters. Joe and I enjoyed getting to know you, but alas the doctor’s widow and her sister would have none of it and we had to ask you to leave. Sad evening for all. Buy the way, soon after, we were asked to leave. Seems we had violated the rules. Yes we had, but we thought you were and exception. I have never forgotten you.
    Did you complete the book? You said that night, we would be included. I hope you were kind as possible.
    Would love to hear from you, if you remember the incident. Back then I had red hair. Glad to see you are still on the road. I actually had a bike club when I started teaching and we did some cycle camping. You were and inspiration. Richard Beale

  6. ALLAN MARRIOTT
    29th July 2011 at 11:47 am #

    Heinz,I met you in 1973 in PNG(PapuaNewGuinea)where I was working. Fantastic journey! You need a laptop to store your many photos.I also read all 28 pages of your website(now unavailable). Best wishes. ALLAN MARRIOTT now in Scotland.

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