Hitting the road for the IYC in Düsseldorf

Twenty-two cyclists between the ages of 17 and 49 from Pforzheim in Germany … Their destination: the exhibition grounds in Düsseldorf. A four-day pilgrimage by bike to the International Day of the Youth.

Why walk a pilgrim’s path if you can do it by bike? Most of the cyclists are from the southern part of Germany, or more precisely, from the church district of Pforzheim. But more will be joining them along the way. And because the group is posting pictures and reports on Instagram and Facebook, it cannot be ruled out that more interested cyclists will register and join them along the way.

A new experience

“This is a completely new experience for us,” Stefan Dreja (49) says, a Deacon and the organiser. “We wanted to find a topic with which the youth from Pforzheim can contribute to the IYC.” Bicycle trips are nothing new to the youth leader. “I have experienced a lot of beautiful things.” This is how the idea was born. The basic idea behind it is to strengthen the bond among the youth. Arriving at a common destination together is an attractive thought.

“We will report about our tour experience at the IYC. We want the people to know who we are, what we do, and where the journey is taking us,” Philipp Scheuerle (36) and Saskia Kull (27) confirm. Both helped with organising the tour.

Four-hundred kilometres in the saddle

The entire tour is about 400 kilometres. They are hitting the road on Saturday, 25 May in Birkenfeld, near Pforzheim. The cyclists plan to be in Düsseldorf four days later, on Wednesday, 29 May. They will be camping along the way. And of course, this is a matter of pride, there will be an escort vehicle—in case of an emergency, and for the picnic tables, the coffee maker, and the tents. A few mod cons for the evening won’t hurt.

Detailed information on the individual stages of the tour, even with kilometres, can be found on the group’s Instagram profile @ijtradtour.

This is the route.

Five hundred kilometres on foot

Two hikers, who are doing the trip to the IYC on foot, have even further to go. Priest Hansruedi Reber from Berne in Switzerland and a Deacon from Zurich will set out on Saturday morning. The 52-year-old youth leader came up with this idea of an extended walk to church about one-and-a-half years ago.

Why wear yourself out in the age of airplanes, trains, and cars? “We want to send a message to the youth: although the path is sometimes fraught with worries, cares, and dangers, we can say to God, ‘Here I am!’ once we have reached our destination. And Hansruedi adds: “Dear youth, walk with God!”

The two are planning to spend their nights in tents and maybe a night or two in a youth hostel. Hansruedi is convinced, “It will be an absolute adventure.” Anyone who wants to join the two hikers can join the HERE_I_WALK group any time along the route: 22 May in Kehl on the Rhine, 23 May Roeschwaag, 24 May Rüleim, 26 May Koblenz, 27 May Wassenach, 28 May Heider Bergsee, 29 May Köln, 30 May Düsseldorf.

Everyone else can join the hikers online. They will be posting their experiences and progress on Facebook and Pikstagram.

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Peter Johanning, Oliver Rütten
International Youth Convention 2019 (IYC)