1,100 km at altitudes up to 10,000 m, in seven countries, over eight days – it's a Herculean task that the eight men and women in the mtu Power4Seas cycling team at Rolls-Royce business unit Power Systems have chosen to take on. They are based in Friedrichshafen and will be joined on the London to Monaco charity bike ride by their fellow riders from La Spezia (Italy) and East Grinstead (UK) to raise funds for the Blue Marine Foundation whose mission is to protect the world's oceans. Their grand departure from the British capital is on 19 September. On 26 September, the eve of the Monaco Yacht Show, they'll be eagerly awaited in Monaco on the Côte d’Azur.
Besides sharing a passion for cycling, all of them work in the development, sale and support of Rolls-Royce's mtu marine products for yacht, commercial and governmental applications. But now Friedrichshafen colleagues Kevin Daffey, Bartosz Kowalinski, Daniela Schmitt, Torsten Becker, Tobias Kohl and Arnd Lierhammer, together with Darren Barnett from East Grinstead in the UK and Alberto Magnani from Arcola, Italy are preparing intensively for the ride.
But why submit to the torment of covering 130 to 170 km each day in a bicycle saddle? Bartosz Kowalinski, Marine Automation manager at Rolls-Royce in Friedrichshafen, puts it simply: “Because what you do today shapes tomorrow. My son is twelve years old. And I often wonder how long the oceans and the world around us as we know it are going to last, and what the future holds for my child. I consider the Blue Marine initiative to be incredibly important, and I'm pleased that we're supporting it.”
Team spirit plays a major role, as Kevin Daffey explains: “I like helping people to achieve their goals. I can help my colleagues here who aren't yet familiar with long-distance cycling by sharing my experiences with them.” In his professional life, he is Vice President of mtu NautIQ Solutions and Director of Application Engineering Governmental Vessels.
Whether the subject is state-ot-the-art engines, exhaust aftertreatment, hybrid propulsion, or alternative fuels such as HVO or methanol, sustainability is becoming a watchword in the marine business. “This is why we're sponsoring the Marine Foundation,” explained Denise Kurtulus, head of Marine business. “I'm already incredibly proud of the team just for having taken on this immense sporting challenge.”
The eight cyclists have set themselves the goal of raising at least 28,000 pounds sterling in funds. Anyone interested in making a donation to support the team and their mission can do so by visiting the website at https://bluemarinefoundation.enthuse.com/pf/mtupower4seas. “Perhaps this event will inspire people to question their lifestyles,” said software engineer Daniela Schmitt, who is also participating and will see her goal as achieved if that's the case.
When they arrive on 26th September in the principality of Monaco and are received by Prince Albert, they will have covered some 1,100 km all the way from London, passing through 's-Hertogenbosch, Neuss, Bad Dürkheim, Andermatt, Varese, Alessandria and Loano.
Any fear of saddle sores after eight days of riding? “We've developed a fair amount of stamina over the last few months, which includes our staying power in the saddle!” said Bartosz Kowalinski.