Rocks, roots, trails and camper vans are Stephanie’s addictions. When she’s not outside mountain unicycling, running or climbing, she’s probably planning the next adventure. On our blog, Stephanie keeps you updated with the newest komoot features, best user stories and won’t stop bugging you about going outside until you actually do.
660 km across the Alps. Partly on Gravel. In one stage. Or at least that was the plan. But then it started raining. What other hardships were still waiting for Christopher and if the Rando Imperator ended well for him, he will tell you here.
It’s midnight and I am shivering and freezing in the pouring rain in the market square of Bolzano and can’t go any further. It has been raining for six hours already. Sometimes more (keyword: cloudbreak), sometimes less, but uninterrupted. The original plan to ride the 660 km of the Rando Imperator from Munich to Ferrara in one go… I discarded it hours ago. I just stuck to the back wheel of some unknown frontman, to somehow reach Bolzano. All other thoughts I forbid myself – first of all Bolzano, how (and if) this goes on, I’ll see then.
Even though Thomas has the mountains right in front of his door, his eyes are always sparkling when he is going up a steep via ferrata or standing on a summit. Being a komoot Pioneer, he is always out exploring, finding the most exciting outdoor spots in his region so he can recommend them to you. We enjoyed talking to Thomas, hearing why he discovered his passion for mountaineering rather late and what his perfect Tour looks like.
Hi Thomas! Tell us, who are you? Well, I am Thomas, I am 36 years old and I live in Vorarlberg, the most western and second smallest federal state of Austria. I work in the online marketing industry and therefore, like many of us, have to live with the drawback that I am sitting all day and exercise is going short.
Due to a serious disc prolapse and the following surgery a couple of years ago, I have been advised to quit running, which was my favorite hobby back then. So I had to find something else. And one day, I discovered mountaineering. That was around the same time I found a blog of a fellow countryman with many tours I had never heard about and – drum roll – discovered komoot. The blog inspired me and I rely on komoot for navigation ever since.
What do you like about your region? Vorarlberg might not be the land of unlimited possibilities, but it does have two crucial advantages. On one hand, the quality of life is very high, it’s not stressful at all, it has all the amenities of modern life and is in a great location to use it as a base to explore Europe. When it gets to nature, we have a little bit of everything: Lush meadows in the valley, beautiful Lake Constance in the North and our mountains in the East and South, with perfectly prepared hiking trails and skiing slopes. I am very fond of this mix and wouldn’t want to miss it.
What does being active and outdoors mean to you? I would explain it with a mix of 20 percent athletic challenge, 30 percent relaxation for the body and mind and 50 percent of pure endorphines. The latter, because I simply love discovering new tours. This feeling reminds me of Christmas, what it was like to unwrap the presents as a little child.Continue reading →
A journey with the main purpose of seeing beautiful landscapes and indulge the sweet idleness – definitly not André‘s style. On his one-year trip through South America, he is putting encounters with people and personal development in the focus. After two months of pedaling, we talked to him about his experiences and life on two wheels.
Hi André! Where are you right now? I am writing to you from Cartagena, Columbia. A city, that put me under its charm with its old city centre from the colonial times.
What are you doing in South America? For one year, I am traveling the contintent with my bike. I started in Costa Rica at the end of April, and at the beginning of next year, I want to be in Tierra del Fuego, Argentina. For the route, I do have a couple of spots I want to see, everything else I plan on a day-to-day basis.
What’s your motivation for this journey? I wanted to get away from my everyday life in Germany, that I know so well, and experience a culture that is new to me. In 2009, I went on a longer trip to the rather westerly New Zealand. This time, it was important to me to get to know other perspectives. In addition, I am purposely creating tasks and challenging situations with this journey, that I want to embrace and focus on my personal development.
Which cultural differences have you noticed so far? Anything that impressed or surprised you? Most people here are very friendly and open. When asked, it’s usually not a problem to set up camp in somebody’s yard. But even more than that, the people of Panama and Costa Rica even brought us drinks outside, invited us into their house and offered to use their bathroom. I am very grateful for that and happy about this hospitality. It also feels good that everything is moving at a slower pace here, even though it took me a while to get used to.
On the other side, I have noticed that there’s much less awareness for certain topics. Continue reading →
When Christian is talking about his upcoming bike adventure across Europe with bright eyes, smiling, you wouldn’t believe it has only been a couple of weeks since he last had his “head opened,” as he puts it. When he was diagnosed with brain cancer at the age of 24, it took him, his family and friends a while to learn how to deal with the disease. In order to make it easier for others and give them courage, Christian came up with the Tour for Life, that anyone can join. Before he’ll take off next weekend, he patiently answered our nosy questions.
Hey Christian, how are you? I am doing great, thanks. Until Easter, I was undergoing chemo therapy and during that time, I wasn’t doing well at all. The happier I am now, that the weather is warmer again and I can go outside on bike rides and hikes.
What is your story? It’s a pretty intense story, if I may say so. It all started at age 24, when I suddenly had an epileptic seizure and was rescued from the bottom of a swimming pool. A litter later I knew the diagnosis: brain cancer. This was in 2007 and I have had to deal with it since. I’ve had three surgeries, one radio therapy and three chemo therapies. The last surgery was especially hard to take, because I couldn’t walk for two weeks. This sickness has changed my life completely, but also gave me a second life, that I didn’t really ask for.
What is the Tour for Life? What do you want to achieve? With the Tour for Life, I want to raise awareness for the situation of people who have to deal with cancer. Sadly, almost everyone knows somebody amongst their friends or family, who suffer from the disease. It is my goal to give them courage and a platform and to have a good time together, on the bike. I want to motivate others to re-discover their life, by joining me on the tour, even if it’s just for a small distance. At the same time, I am working closely with some charity foundations and we started a campaign to raise money for cancer research and counseling.
What motivated you to come up with the Tour for Life? Work-out, nature, encounters and exploring the world. This is what cycling means to me. Cycling keeps me fit, it strengthens my immune system and also gives me a lot of mental confidence. I would like to pass this on to more people and encourage them to ride with me. I am also looking forward to see new countries and cultures as part of Tour for Life. Continue reading →
Kissing hog. Garlic Rocks. Or Lichtenstein Castle. Sandra’s favorite highlights all sound like they arose straight from a fairytale. One actually does feel a bit like exploring another world, when hiking through her home region Schwäbische Alp in the South of Germany. It’s rare to meet cool girls like Sandra, who love exploring as much as we do. Which is why we are extremely happy to see her amongst our Pioneers now. We had the pleasure to talk to her about what makes an adventure for her, from the obligatory summit to robot band-aids in her backpack.
Hi Sandra! Tell us, who are you and what are you doing when you are not out hiking? My name is Sandra, I am 26 years old and live in Stuttgart. In 2013, I started a traineeship at the museums of literature of the German Literature Archives in Marbach. I work in literary education, which means I spend my days guiding students, adults and children through the museum and show them manuscripts, letters and the like by Schiller, Mörike, Rilke, Kafka and many more. I also organize special events for exhibitions and come up with interesting workshops.
Which tours do you like the most? How do you decide where to go? I like tours where I get to see something: Waterfalls, caves, castles, ruins and great views fascinate me! Small destinations, that you can look forward to. And I like exploring spots, that I have only heard and read of before. When you’re directly standing in front of them, it all looks different from what you imagined and it’s great to put together these places with the stories you might have heard. I also need a small challenge on every adventure, be it a steep trail or a high summit – just straight and flat would get boring quickly.
What are you bringing on a Tour? One or two books are always in my pack, even though I rarely (hardly ever) have the time to read when hiking. One, two, three sandwiches as a solid base, some fruit – which must be cut before (!) or I’ll just bring my boyfriend and his pocket knife along – and a little surprise for the highest peak, mostly chocolate. Robot band-aids for the emergency, tissues and last, but not least, my phone with komoot and the camera in my jacket. Continue reading →
You want a destination and you want to get there as fast as possible. After a couple of years of working as a bike messenger, you never get rid of that habit, says Peter. Nowadays, he’s the one deciding where he’s going. His next big destination is Istanbul. By bike. In 18 days. That’s 2475 km. He’s always been fascinated by this huge city and likes the idea of traveling to Asia by bike. We’ll keep up with Peter during and after this big challenge and tell you all about it. Right now, he’s in the middle of the physical preparations for the trip and met with us for a quick chat.
Hey Peter. You’re planning to do this adventure all by yourself. We’d like to hear a bit about your background. My name is Peter, I was born in 1971 in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein. I got my first road bike as a present when I was 14 and have been a keen cyclist ever since, but never rode in a club. Starting in 1993, I worked as a bike messenger for 16 years, first in Hamburg, then in Berlin, some of it was during my studies. I am now working as a self-employed blog administrator.
Okay, here’s the obvious question: How did you get the idea to ride a bike from Berlin to Istanbul? My first multi-day trip was in 2010, when I rode from Berlin to Frankfurt/Main (570km in 3 days), the second one took me to Pisa, Italy two years later (1200 km in 8 days). Istanbul has always fascinated me as a city and I like the idea of riding a bike from Berlin to Asia. I travelled through Romania and Bulgaria by car in 2011 and fell in love with these countries, their people and the culture. On the route I picked, I’ll be traveling through Romania and Bulgaria for 1100 km.
Steven is new to this whole outdoorsy thing. But he quickly became addicted to the physical and mental benefits of adventures, when he moved to San Francisco to work as a developer six months ago. By now, exploring the many protected nature areas around the city have become a natural part of his time off. Rumor has it, he’s been seen dancing and singing to his favorite tunes out there – thinking no one else was around. Well, this Pioneer sounded geeky and interesting enough for us to ask him a couple of questions.
Hi Steven. We’d love to hear a bit about your background.
I am a 33-year-old web developer, originally from Arlington, TX. When I’m not swearing at bugs or celebrating a successful product launch, I enjoy spicy food, Toyota sports cars, trip-hop, and beer snobbery. I’m accompanied by my loving wife, Tiffani, our twin sugar gliders, Eliza and Jane, and Rory, the green spotted puffer fish.
What’s special about your region?
We just moved to San Francisco’s East Bay six months ago. I like everything about the area. They describe the weather here as a “Mediterranean climate” which is just perfect. The warm, dry summers and mild, wet winters in combination with the hilly landscape mean that it is beautiful here year-round. The area doesn’t see all four seasons in the traditional sense, but thus far, I’m not missing them.
What do you like about being outdoors?
To be completely honest, I’m brand new to this. I had maybe one to two days of hiking experience in my life before this year. I had never looked at a trail map before July. Komoot maps actually gave me a bit of courage to get out there and give it a shot.
In every tour I always try to find a little place, roughly half way through, where I can stop for a few minutes to take everything in. I prefer these places to be isolated and quiet since I use it as sort of a mental recharge time.Continue reading →
Whenever we talk about Pioneers here in our office, Ronald‘s name is sure to come up. Together with his wife and dogs, he has tracked over 1,200 km of Tours on komoot and highlighted an incredible amount of beautiful and interesting places. During his long walks in the north and east of the Netherlands, what he enjoys most is the peace and quiet. When he’s not out recording Tours or nature watching, you are likely to find him in his vegetable garden or knitting colorful socks. Cool guy, right? Here’s a selection of his Highlights.
Den Bramel Estate
“Castle Den Bramel is a former castle west of the road Vorden-Almen in the heart of the Achterhoek in the Dutch province of Gelderland. The estate dates back to 1396, when it was first mentioned in historical records. The present form of the castle dates from around 1725 with older masonry of a previous house was rebuilt. The estate is open to the public, the castle itself and surrounding gardens are private.“
Sometimes we can’t believe how enthusiastically you’re using the new highlights feature. The most active ones amongst you have already made it to our Pioneers Program by highlighting places and adding photos and interesting descriptions. Today, we’d like to introduce you to Vilda, our first Pioneer in the Czech Republic.
Vilda is interested in historical highlights, especially in fortifications from World War II. His Tours often take him to the border of the Czech Republic. “Today, you can still find a lot of bunkers that were built between 1937 and 1939,” Vilda says. He likes to research about the historical sights close to his hometown Brno and adds their stories to the places he highlights on komoot, after he and his family come back from their weekend hikes. “I am glad that my children can now peacefully explore the rubble of the war and learn about the past, while spending time outdoors.”
Pěchotní Srub K-S5 U Potoka
“This is a military fortress bunker built in 1936 during the construction of the line border fortresses. The basic build of the object KS 5 lasted six days, while processing a total of 1756 m3 of reinforced concrete. This object, as well as other objects of this type in the Czech Republic, were never used in any battle. There is a museum in this fortress now.”Continue reading →
In case you haven’t heard of our Pioneers program yet, you should check it out. Because you might just be the outdoors geek we are looking for. Pioneers are the most active members of komoot, highlighting the best spots on their Tours with photos and comments for others to check them out. Our Pioneer series introduces exceptional members of the komoot community, that have already proven themselves as Pioneers.
One of our favorite Pioneers is Silvia. She fell in love with cycling, because she noticed how it made her relax during stressful times. Soon after, she sold her car and simply cycled everywhere she had to go. She and her aluminium friend collected over 50,000 km on the road. And even though she now owns a car again due to her new job, she continues to be drawn towards long cycling and hiking paths and the freedom she feels conquering them. Here are our very favorites amongst Silvia’s endless collection of Highlights.
Neualp Lakes at Hohe Tauern
“A friend of mine, a rather loud person, became quiet and awed when looking at these majestic mountains, this loneliness and cold. I recommend this Tour to anyone who doesn’t hike on a regular basis but wants to get high up anyhow. There’s a little food place at the lift, but you should bring enough food and drinks for the rest of the trail.”Continue reading →