World cyclist Heinz Stuecke on the place de la Sorbonne in Paris, France (photo: Anthony Atkielski)
In November 1962, the 22-year-old Heinz Stücke quit his job as a tool and die maker, and rode out of his hometown on a three-speed bicycle, with a plan to see the world. He has never since returned to Hövelhof, stating that his extraordinary desire to travel has been partly motivated by his aversion to returning to factory work and “the very small-minded people” of Hövelhof.
In the early 1980s, after two decades on the road, Stücke decided to attempt to visit every country in the world. Between 1962 and 2010, he cycled more than 609,000 kilometres (378,000 mi) and visited 195 countries and 78 territories. From 1995 through 1999, the Guinness Book of Records described him as having travelled more widely by bicycle than anyone in history. (read more on wikipedia)