Meet Gerald Pfitzmann,a man dedicated to riding and doing good. This year he will be taking a team of people as part of a really extraordinary ride that will test their strength and endurance in the seat. In his own words...
The Ride of my Life… The Rhino Ride.
I have a dream...
The idea was born long time ago and the rough route was in my head for years already. I have been travelling most of the countries years before without own vehicle. The organization of the tour takes already months and is not finished yet. Questions needed an answer such as is the trip possible at all, how many kilometers you want to ride per day under different conditions, how detailed can every day be planned ahead for such a long trip, who can join me on this trip? There are seven visas to apply for. Requirements are different depending on the country. You need invitation letters from Pakistan, reference numbers for Iran, international driving licenses, a ”green Insurance card" for the countries to be visited, a Carnet de Passage, international health insurance, for some countries certain vaccinations are advisable and so on. One country needs the visa of the country you want to pass on before they give you there visa. Another consulate does just not give you a second entry visa. It is not a packaged tour. You got to find out yourself.
When I started to talk about the trip right away it was difficult to convince adequate fellow riders who intended to join me on this extreme trip. But finally three crazy GS riders were persistent to do “The Ride of my Life” with me and I am happy not to be a lonely rider on this trip.
By the way: there was never a question about which bike to take! Because there is only one appropriate bike on the market to suit this kind of long distance trip: the R1200GS. And all of us luckily ride such bikes…! A normal GS from series production does not need any upgrade or so. Enough is enough. Appart from some accessories such as side bags, top case, crash bars, LED-lights you need nothing more. All riders are members of the “BMW GS Club International e.V.” (www.bmw-gs-club.net) based in Munich.
I got to know about the project “The Rhino Ride” (www.therhinoride.org.za) founded by the two South African GS riders Andre Barnard Jnr and Gavin Green to increase awareness about this incredible rhino crises in Africa. As I had the chance to experience the unique wildlife in South Africa and Namibia I was instantly enthusiastic to help the project and the rhinos. The rhinos won't make it without help. The thread of extinction is only a couple of years ahead. Nobody can 100% make sure to protect the rhinos in Africa. More than 1.000 rhinos get slaughtered every year and mostly die a real torturous death. Some Chinese and Vietnamese people drive the demand to extinction. They traditionally use the rhino horn as a medicine for various diseases, even though it does not help! There is no medical evidence for any positive effect. The horn is something like our fingernails or our hair. The price for the horn is so immense that meanwhile the use is also a status symbol for upper class people.
“Rhino Wars” is the name of this photo from Brent Stirton, Getty Images for National Geographic Magazine, which won the first price is the category “Nature, Stories” at the World Press Photo Competition.
We have to change the tradition and the habit to use the horn. We must reach those Chinese and Vietnamese rhino horn consumers. We must convince them to stop the use of the horn. But nothing is harder to change than tradition and habits!
We got to act now. We have to cut demand. The rhinos wont make it without help.
Wildlife has less and less space to live on our planet. More and more species are threatened with extinction. Only mass production of livestock will be left over.
The world has got so many problems and will have even more. We can not pick up one single problem and declare it the most important one. We have to start to tackle many problems at the same time. We can not wait. Some things are irreversible: extinction.
Which world do we want to pass on to the next generation?
Everybody should have a problem, an issue to look after. There is no judgement about importance of a problem. Everybody has to find a problem. What is yours? Mine is the rhino crises in Africa.
Increase the awareness of the rhino crisis in Africa.
- Gerald Pfitzmann -