Across America by Bike: Ingo Hamm made that dream come true this year. In 72 days he covered a total of 5,600 km on two wheels. However, he was motivated not only by the desire to travel and a personal challenge, but also to do something good. Through the tour, he collected donations for the Hospice Raphael in Arnsberg.
Arnsberg – “You can experience everything intensely on a bike. And achieving a goal with your own muscle is something very special. It was the best ride of my life,” says the 59-year-old. Ingo Hamm is a cyclist through and through. In 2015, he drove from the North Cape to Sicily. The idea of crossing the USA by bike had been in his head for a long time, and now it was time for this big tour. The chief forester has collected two years’ leave for this.
It started in Seattle, Washington state on the east coast. From there through Idaho in the direction of Iowa, through Ontario (Canada) and finally through Massachusetts to the East Coast – a total of 11 US states and one Canadian state. “The stages through Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming were great natural experiences. Traversing Mount Rainier, Yellowstone, Cave of the Winds, and Mount Rushmore National Parks was impressive. He also describes Niagara Falls as “special stops on his tour, which was a massive effort of about 77 kilometers a day on a bike through the mountains.” and valleys. “It was a mental and physical challenge doing it,” Arnsberger concludes. However, the combination of sport and nature gives him an unusually large number of moments of happiness.
And then, of course, there were numerous encounters. “People have always been the best thing about all my travels, especially on this one.” “It was already getting dark and I had to see where I might pitch my tent. With this question, I approached a woman who went to fetch her husband, who then took me to his farm three miles away. He showed me where to pitch my tent and take a bath. When he saw my shirt, he asked what I was doing here When I then explained to him the background of the inn, his jaw snapped and I sensed a change. He immediately invited me to the guest house and brought me food. The next day he came with his son, they thought they wanted to donate to me too.” “Almost half of the total amount donated,” Ingo Hamm is still impressed by the auto support.
Self-confidence, trust in people and trust in God always accompanied him during the journey, Arnsberger describes. “I found that you just have to talk to people. I was completely touched by their warmth and willingness to help.” Whether the chain broke on the way or the tire went flat – help was always quickly available. “For example, in a remote small town in Montana, I asked a woman if I could camp near her house. She was very hospitable and told me to stay home. It is said that bears come out sometimes…” People gave him some souvenirs to take with them, Including a medal symbolizing friendship. “I still keep in touch with everyone,” Ingo Hamm said enthusiastically about the Americans’ friendship.
After 72 days, he finally reached his destination, Montauk Point Lighthouse, the easternmost point of New York State. “The Tour was titled ‘Coast to Coast.’ First I was with the rear wheel in the Pacific and here at the finish line with the front wheel in the Atlantic,” he says of a personal goal he’s set for himself. “It’s an emotional thing. Happiness is when you take something, work on it and then achieve it, that’s the nicest thing. A lot of people always say ‘you should’, but you do it, you have to stick with it. Then you can also set ambitious goals.”
With the support of local businesses and companies as well as other donations, a proud sum of more than €11,000 was eventually raised, which Ingo Hamm gave to the hospice. The money has already been used to purchase a special care chair worth about 6,000 euros, which also allows residents who can only lie down to participate in community life in the hospice. “These are great moments for families too, when they can sit with their loved ones or go outside,” says Helga Müller, deputy director of hospice care, who is delighted that this purchase is now possible. Additional funds will also be used to purchase two comfortable armchairs for relatives who often spend days and nights at the bedside.
Ingo Hamm is happy that his donation goes directly to something meaningful and visual. “With the handover, the campaign is now complete for me. I am so proud and grateful that I was able to do this tour and that I was able to do good things. I can only encourage everyone to do something like this.”
Communicator. Reader. Hipster-friendly introvert. General zombie specialist. Tv trailblazer