A 2,300 kilometre journey - through six European countries and across two mountain ranges with sheer muscle power: that's the plan for an unusual cycling team established by employees of Munich Airport. They will depart for their destination in southern Spain from Marienplatz, the iconic square at the heart of Munich, on May 30, 2016. The honorary patron of "Road to Granada" is Munich’s mayor Mayor Dieter Reiter.
The six-member team, made up of five men and one woman, includes two airport employees and three Syrians who fled to Germany. Upon the start in Munich, it will take the team 11 days to reach Granada, covering up to 237 kilometres per day. The route will take them over the Central and Western Alps as well as the Pyrenees, with a cumulative elevation gain of 20,000 meters. To prepare for these challenges, the team began a regular program of tough training sessions in February.
"The Andalusian city of Granada, with its Moorish history, is seen by many as a symbol of tolerance and a centuries-old tradition of co-existence of Christians, Jews and Muslims," says Munich Airport employee Björn Potulski, the initiator of the project. "With 'Road to Granada' we not only want to commemorate a remarkable period of European history. By crossing six countries, we want this special tour to highlight the enormous achievement represented by our freedom of movement within Europe – an achievement that is important to preserve."
Through the “Road to Granada” project, the team plans to raise money to help Syrian children attend school after fleeing their homes. The proceeds will go to the Munich-based aid organization "Orienthelfer e.V.", and will help to fund temporary schools operating in Lebanese refugee camps. The annual operating costs for the schools amount to 300 euros per child.
The stages of the trip are: Munich to Pfunds (Tyrol); Pfunds-Oggiono (Engadin, Lombardy); Oggiono-Susa (Piedmont); Susa-Séderon (Auvergne-Rôhne-Alpes/Mon Ventoux); Séderon-Sète (Languedoc); Sète-Prades (Roussillon); Prades-Balguer (Catalonia); Balguer-Aliaga (Aragón); Aliaga-Villagorde del Cabriel (Valencia); Villagorde del Cabriel-Villanueva del Arzobispo (La Mancha, Andalusia/Province of Jaén); Villanueva del Arzobispo-Granada (Andalusia/Province of Jaén and Granada).