In my case, one can say that bicycling is tradition. Already as a schoolkid in the 70s I rode around one homemade bikes. At that time, I collected discarded bikes fom the dump, dismantled them and reassembled the parts into functional bikes. I distincly remember 22 such creations which I would sell now and again to satisfied customers.
My mechanical talents did help me to absolve a three-year course as an industrial mechanic in Berlin, but my future I saw in the "leisure life." So I enrolled at the FU Berlin. Spanish philology and geography prompted me to explore the world for four years. In order to "study Spanish," I first went to northern Spain, to the Rioja. Working as a washing machine repairs man, I was taken in by a hospitable family and in this way was able to "study" country and people. Later, I preferred the Southamerican states between Columbia and Argentina for my "Spanish studies." For more than three years I flew again and again to Ecuador (where I really know every nook and cranny), Peru, Bolivia and Chile. During a 30-day-long bicycle trek through southern Chile and Argentina, the idea ripened that it was about time to turn my back on the "leisure
life" and finally to start a concrete project. I finished my studies (with the intermediate examination).
I wrote 16 letters to agencies who offered something like bicycle tours, and in this way, as an ignorant wannabe tour organizer, I slipped into the leisure time industry. Six years as a tourguide for biking and hiking tours took me into every remote corner of Europe.
During all this time, I realized more and more that a bicycle tour is one of the most intensive forms of travelling there is. It satisfies almost perfectly our wish for freedom, communion with nature and mobility. My most beautiful travel memories are all connected with biking: the incredibly picturesque panorama roads of Europe, the old mountain passes, the shouted greetings and the enthusiasm of the locals along the way, the moans and groans of my fellow travellers on a long ascent, the grandiose view down into the valley, the thrilling, effortless downhill run afterwards, and the lively conversation and happy looks of the freshly showered travel companions at the evening meal.
On two trips I met Peter Eich who was the regional speaker of the local cycling club in Konstanz. This encounter prompted one year later the founding of ZeitReisen. In 1998 we started our first venture of a combined bicycle and boat tour on a simple motor sailer in the Adriatic...and Islang Hopping was born.