Spreading message of love and kindness
Sixth time around the world by bike and kayak for 76-year-old
Hans Frischeisen was born in 1941 in the town of Kaliningrad, which was then a part of Germany. Now 76 years old, he lives with his wife in Reno, Nevada. He has come to Quebec to visit friends Roger and Michelle Aubrey who live in Aylmer and whom he met on a cruise from San Diego to Hawaii several years ago.
The extraordinary part of Mr Frischeisen’s story is that he cycled here alone from Victoria, BC as part of his sixth trip around the world by bicycle and kayak, where necessary. He departed Victoria on June 7 and arrived here a month later without a single day of rest, carrying only a daypack with few personal items.
This latest circumnavigation will be done in three parts. The North American portion will be completed when he leaves Aylmer for Gaspé. He will then cycle through Russia, Kazakhstan and China. A retired IBM sales rep and trained naturopath, Mr Frischeisen began touring the globe by bike and kayak in 1990. His first tour took him horizontally above the equator. Leaving from the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco cycling eastward to New York City, he then took a plane to France and continued his journey through Europe and Asia.
After that he completed another four tours circling the world by bike and kayak. At times, he had a support vehicle driven by his wife. At times, one or both of his sons would cycle or paddle with him. For much of the time, he was alone. He takes his time, completing the trips in giant legs over a couple of years. Mr Frischeisen estimates he has travelled a total of approximately 193,000 km.
He has faced many challenges on his adventures and when asked about the most memorable, he replied “kayaking rapids in Siberia”. His boat tipped and he narrowly escaped freezing waters to find the nearest village totally abandoned. He made his way farther down the rapids to the next village and was warmly welcomed into a home with food and drink. He stated that that experience contributed greatly to his belief in guardian angels.
When Mr Frischeisen was nearly four years old, Kaliningrad belonged to Germany and his father was enlisted into the German war effort. His father told his mother what signs to watch for that would indicate she should take their son and leave Kaliningrad. The day she heard the Russian artillery, Mr Frisheisen’s mother packed a few precious items and fled with her son. On a bicycle. Within a month, 300,000 civilians were slaughtered in Kaliningrad. He says, “In all likelihood, a bicycle saved my life.”
When asked why he does these cycling and paddling adventures, he laughed, “It helps to be a little bit crazy”, then went on to say “I also have a love for the earth and I don’t think this culture we have developed with a love for cars is very wholesome for our planet. I would like to project some considerations for biking and kayaking that don’t create anything destructive for our planet, while showing that you can have a lot of fun, learn a lot, become healthy and have adventures. Even at nearly 77 years old.”
Mr Frischeisen explained that, in his experience, the people of Mongolia and Iran are the most hospitable people on earth, something he had not expected. He did not hesitate when asked what message he would like to tell people. “The world is full of love and kindness. That is certain.”