INGO ENGELHARDT: CYCLING WITH RAD RACE MEANS PASSION AND FUN
My name is Ingo Engelhardt and I am one of the founders of RAD RACE. What is RAD RACE? To put it simply, our motto is: “Stop Racism – Start Raceism!” It doesn’t matter what type of bike you have, the colour of your skin or your religion. It doesn’t matter where you come from. We here at RAD RACE want to share our passion for cycling with you.
How did the RAD RACE adventure start? When I was younger, I didn’t really like cycling – or I should say – I didn’t like a certain type of cycling, stuck in old patterns centred solely on competition. I remember when I was a kid; my dad took me to see a cycling race. I stood there for hours waiting to see these champions, then they just zoomed by and in a matter of minutes it was all over. I was very disappointed and for many years I didn’t care much for cycling, and I got into other sports like football and running. Then in 2008 a friend gave me a bike and when I took it for a spin I reached a speed of 70 km/h on a downhill. I had never experienced such a thrill. And that’s where the idea started. I wanted to make cycling a lifestyle and a profession, pouring my heart and soul into a sport that had given me such a unique, adrenaline-filled feeling.
However, nobody was organizing races that were not solely centred on the bicycle, but rather based on friendship and having fun.
So I called up 11 of my closest friends and suggested we organize a race. “We’ll call it RAD RACE,” I said. We didn’t have any money, just a lot of good ideas. We put together a tiny budget to get things started and we raised enough money to set up our website, and we bought some tents and other essential materials to begin with. We didn’t have any sponsors; we were just 11 curious and determined friends.
Now we have a staff of 60 people and through the years we’ve managed to attract solid cycling sponsors, like Selle San Marco.
Five years ago we organized our first race in Berlin, on a race car track. It wasn’t a real race so to speak, it was more a tournament with 8 cyclists riding around the circuit and after each lap the last rider was eliminated. Right then we realized that the formula worked. The crowd went crazy, not for the winner but for the guy in last place, because they didn’t want to see him eliminated so they would cheer him frantically and urge him on. The Italians are always the craziest at our races, because they know how to party, they scream and yell and really get into it. After that we were organizing some circuit rides for fixed gear bikes, and we were approached by an Italian group that worked with a tourism board associated with the EU. They wanted to organize an event to promote the bike path that goes from Munich to Venice. We accepted right away.
We had an idea to organize a stage race, but we wanted to eliminate the competitive aspect and make it more like a cycling tourism event to share with a group of friends. This is how we came up with the name Tour de Friends.
This year 500 people registered for the second edition of our Tour de Friends, but our goal for the next several years is to expand that number up to 1000 riders, because there wouldn’t be such a big difference in terms of organization and logistics. Next year we will be in Italy again for our Tour de Friends 3, which will go from Augusta to Feltre. It will be five stages, across Germany, Austria and Switzerland, all the way to Italy.
In these days we will be in Colombia to check out the route for the Tour de Friends 4, which will take place in 2020. We hope that we will be able to organize more Tour de Friends during the year. We’ve already made contacts with people in Scandinavia, Slovenia and throughout Europe in general, to promote this format in several countries that believe in cycling and in this project.
Come participate in the next Tour de Friends, it will be lots of fun!