Two-Wheeled Charity Tour On the Road to Success
For the 21st time, the participants of the "Tour de Kreisle" have pedaled hard for a good cause. This year's edition of the popular charity event ended with a record donation to the Hospice Association in Göppingen – and that is all the more reason to talk to tour founder Klaus Riegert about its origins and future.
Mr. Riegert, could please introduce yourself to our readers?
My name is Klaus Riegert and I was born and raised in Süßen in 1959. I studied at the police academy and then worked as a police officer for several years. I then went into politics and was a member of the German Bundestag for the CDU/CSU. After 21 years I left politics and started to work in administration at Christophsbad in Göppingen. I have been chairman of the Hospice Association in Göppingen as well as various other foundations since 2008.
How did the charity event “Tour de Kreisle” come about?
I organized the first event in 1998 as a constituency delegate. I wanted to go to the people instead of them having to come to me. I took a couple of prominent sports personalities along and collected 5,500 Deutsche Mark for the candle workshop. At that time, donations for various social causes were collected every two years as part of the charity ride. From 2005 on, the ride took place annually. It was given the name “Tour de Kreisle” [Tour of the Municipality] after passers-by asked the group of cyclists if they were riding in the “Tour de Ländle” [former recreational event in Baden-Württemberg] to which one of the cyclists spontaneously replied “no – in the Tour de Kreisle!”
Who takes part and who decides where stops are made?
There is a long list of interested cyclists who are asked year after year if they will take part again. There is also an article in the local newspaper.
In principle, anyone who wants to can join in.
For organizational reasons, a minimum number of 60 cyclists has been set, as all traffic lights and roads are closed off for the tour. Stops are made at various municipalities and companies that are willing to donate.
This year there was a record donation of 53,000 euros – what will the money be used for?
The donations are used for the running of the inpatient hospice in Faurndau near Göppingen. You have to know – 95 percent of the guests' accommodation costs are covered by health insurance, the remaining 5 percent has to be financed by our association with donations and membership fees; we are talking about 120,000 to 150,000 euros a year.
What are the future plans for the Tour?
Let me put it this way – “Never change a running system”. New companies and thus additional stops are certainly possible, also by means of suggestions from fellow cyclists. However, the tour should not exceed five days.
Do you or your fellow cyclists have direct contact with the hospice staff? Do you know about their daily work?
Yes, as chairman of the hospice I have daily contact with the employees. At the beginning of the tour, the participants are informed about the status of the hospice by its management. There have also been several visits by the cyclists.
We also have participants whose relatives were cared for in the hospice. Therefore, there is an even closer connection, and the cyclists are grateful for the wonderful care their relatives received.
Do you have any further information about the planned construction in Geislingen?
The hospice in Geislingen, like in Faurndau, will have eight inpatient places. In addition, there will be six outpatient places. The so-called day hospice will make it possible for patients to talk to each other or play games during the day, which will also relieve the patients' relatives. An outpatient hospice is still a rarity in Baden-Württemberg; there is only one other in Mannheim.
The building permit for the hospice in Geislingen has already been issued, the groundbreaking ceremony is planned for the fall. Construction will take around two years. In Geislingen, 25 to 30 employees and 10 to 15 volunteers are to be employed. That would be 5 to 10 employees and five volunteers more than in the hospice in Faurndau.
Thank you very much for your time and the interview, Mr. Riegert. We wish you all the best for the next “Tour de Kreisle”!
RAMPF Machine Systems, based in Wangen (Göppingen), has been a partner of the two-wheeled charity tour for 13 years. This year, the specialist for machine beds and frame components once again donated 500 euros.
Marc Dizdarevic, CEO of RAMPF Machine Systems:
It’s great that this year's tour has generated record donations. As a medium-sized family business we are firmly rooted in the region and involve ourselves in the community as often as possible through fundraising and sponsorship activities. We are already looking forward to the next tour in 2024!
Picture top_Are very happy with the record donations for this year’s “Tour de Kreisle” (from left to right) – Eduard Schin (Chairman RAIBA Wangen), Thomas Arbogast (Board Spokesman RAIBA Wangen), Klaus Riegert, Mary-Ann Schröder (Mayor of Wangen and Oberwälden), and Marc Dizdarevic (CEO of RAMPF Machine Systems).
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