From Munich to Venice in 4 days.
“The idea came early 2015 when an Italian institute for tourism asked us if we could advertise for a new bike path that leads from Munich to Venice. We ignored their messages a couple of times as we didn’t really take it seriously. But they kept calling us so we were like: Okay, let’s try it out.
So off we went to Munich and just rode the four stages from there to Venice. A proper stage race was something that we had wanted to organise for a long time, but not far into the trip it became clear that stage race would be too impractical for us to take on.
So we came up with another – better – concept: the Tour de Friends. No race, no competition, no ranking. Just 500 friends riding 600k over the Alps, and having a good time doing it. True to the punk rock attitude that characterizes Rad Race events.
Seventy teams started the ride, on all kinds of bikes. Roadbikes, gravelbikes, even fixed gears and handbikes made it across the mountain ranges.
The fact that it was not a race made for a real sense of friendship and community on the road. Shared hardships make for strong bonds. People were pushing eachother up climbs, helping out with flat tires and mechanicals, sharing food and drinks. We were also astonished at the hospitality of the locals. Once we came down from the Alps, the further we got south into Italy, the more friendly and heartwarming the people were (and the better the food!). At each check point, locals came out and celebrated every rider coming through. Inhabitants from the villages visited and presented their local products, like a fair. It was a great display of cultural pride and we really got a sense of the soul of each region.
If we think back how great the people were we still can’t believe it.
There was one moment in particular that we will always remember. We had a crew from England, four friends. One of them, Justin Levene, came along on a handbike as he has been in a wheelchair for the past 8 years. He more or less started cycling because of this event.
When he crested the final summit of the queen stage, his family, 400 riders and the mayor of the town were there to welcome him in. He told us that this was one of the best moments of his life.
The fact that we were able to make this happen for him means the world to us. We couldn’t be happier. As cheesy as it might sound, this is what Rad Race is all about and why we founded these events, to give people the time of their lives.
Now, back in Germany, the stoke is absolutely still with us. After 15 months of planning, we’re still reeling with excitement that we made this happen. It was an overwhelming experience in every way, so we’re pleased to tell you we started planning for a second edition in 2018!”
From Founders Ingo Engelhardt, Jan Sprünken & photographer Nils Laengner