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07/13/2023

Cycling through Germany for a Good Cause

WHU doctoral candidate bikes over 1,000km and raises 20,000€ for charity

1,106 kilometers, five days, two bicycles. At the end of June, Pascal Frank, a doctoral student at the Allianz Endowed Chair of Finance at WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management since October, and Leonard Schefold brought their bike tour to an end. The duo, friends since their school days, rode the entire way through Germany—from the Danish border just north of Rodenäs all the way to a hut in Oberstdorf, the southernmost point of the country. And there was a lot more behind their decision than athleticism alone. “We didn’t want to do this trip just for our own sakes. We wanted to give something back,” said Frank, who had spent three years at Porsche Consulting before coming to study at WHU.

The idea behind this charitable endeavor came to the twenty-nine-year-old and his former schoolmate after the two completed a similar bike tour from Milan back to Germany last September. “We both thought, ‘we should do something like this again.’” Back in their native Öhringen area (Baden-Württemberg), they sought out the perfect project to support, eventually deciding on Safe Kids. This initiative, started by the Paul Kleinknecht Stiftung, helps children learn physical and mental self-defense techniques at specially designated schools. They learn how to be more confident and not resort to violence. The program requires special teachers, making this project, which currently runs at three schools to date, quite costly.

Cycling through Germany for a Good Cause

Frank and Schefold then set off to find private support. The project’s foundation offered to become their cooperation partner, and the pair worked to convince potential sponsors. “We rode over to them, brought our flyers, and pitched our idea,” said Frank. And then, at six o’clock in the morning, they were off to the races. The first run took them just beyond Hamburg. Then came the outskirts of Paderborn, Hanau, Schwäbisch Gmünd, and, finally, Oberstdorf. “We rode over 200km each day.”

Their hard work paid off in the end, as their bike tour raised 20,000€ in donations. “To us, this project has been a major success. We never thought that we would be able to collect that much,” said Frank. And when asked whether they would be willing to do it all again: “It would be amazing to ride through all of Italy. At any rate, we’d always tie it back to a charitable project.”

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