- Our Town
A tour with a twist - German cyclist bikes through Vanderhoof on his way to Alaska
A german cyclist stopped by in Vanderhoof at the beginning of July, as part of a slightly different bike tour from B.C. to Alaska.
The different aspect being that he is handing out souvenirs along the way to anyone that helps him out.
Klaus Lüttgen of the city of Cologne (Köln) in Germany, left Vancouver on June 8 and took the Sea To The Sky Highway, through to Whistler, 70-Mile House, Bridge Lake and Clearwater. He arrived in Vanderhoof on Thursday June 30 and stayed a night to enjoy some of the Canada Day celebrations at the museum grounds before continuing on his journey.
His tour is dedicated to his father Charles Lüttgen, who died in August 2008.
Charles was an avid collector and before his death had amassed about 20,000 medals from Cologne’s famous Rosemontag festival which he left to his son in his will.
Klaus says he hadn't spoken to his father for a number of years before his death and decided to use the medals on a bike tour in North America.
“Since I was a little boy I often dreamt about Canada and Alaska,” he said.
"My father and I, we went our own separate ways and I couldn't speak with him before he died ... now I will dedicate this tour to my father."
About 11 months ago Klaus lost his job as a mechanic and says this gave him the final push he needed to do the tour.
"This was the last inspiration for me - it said to me - now or never," said the 52-year-old.
He sold his Yamaha bike along with a number of his other possessions to finance the trip and purchased a 30-year-old Gazelle Ladies Dutch bike with steel frame.
He says that as far as he knows he is the only person to do this tour on such a bike. He also purchased a small bike trailer which he uses to tow 200 of the medals around.
He has been given the medals out along his journey to anyone who gives him any help or kindness.
"I give them away to the people that help me along the way - for overnight stay, for meal, water, coffee, for nice conversation," he said.
The recent Canada postal strike has caused him a few problems however, as he has been getting friends to send him out more medals at certain towns on his route. He was expecting to pick up more medals from the Clearwater post office, but as a result of the strike, did not receive them.
The most challenging part of his journey so far was the 14 kilometres up the steep Lake Duffy Road just out of Pemberton. He pushed his bike up for six and a half hours and then encountered a bear when he finally made it to the top.
On July 1 he continued his journey on from Vanderhoof, heading up the Cassier Highway towards Alaska. He plans to take a ferry from Skagway, through the Inside Passage to Prince Rupert and then on to Port Hardy on Vancouver Island. He plans to get back to Vancouver to fly back to Germany on October 9.
Anyone interested can follow his tour at www.rocktheroads.de.