steps in the Alps

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520 kilometers and 17.215 meters of altitude in 7 days

In July, steps will be supported by Ronny Staps and Markus Kaiser. The team tells you in an interview what the two of them are up to and how they are taking steps into the Alps.

Please introduce yourself clearly: Who are you and what do you have in common?

Ronny: My name is Ronny Staps, I am 39 years old and work as a product designer in a Hamburg design office for medical technology. I am now the father of two sons aged 2 and 4.

Mark: My name is Markus Kaiser, I am also 39 years old, married and father of 4 children (13, 11, 7 and 3 years old). I ended up in Franconia. More specifically to Forchheim, near Erlangen/Nuremberg. I work there as an engineer, also in medical technology.

Ronny: We both come from Münchenbernsdorf, a small town in eastern Thuringia. There we went to school together, trained for soccer and basketball, or simply played computer games. Later we lived together in our first student shared apartment in Jena.

How long have you been mountain biking and how did that come about?

Ronny: For a long time, the mountain bike was my usual means of transport as a teenager to go to friends, to training or meeting places in town. In 2007, when we were still students in Jena and Weimar, we had the idea of ​​crossing the Alps by bike along the old Roman trade routes and going to Lake Garda (on the Via Claudia Augusta). On the first crossing of the Alps we chose a slightly easier route. On the following tours there were more and more meters in altitude with significantly more off-road parts!

Mark: For me, the initial spark for mountain biking came from our tour in 2007. That was still an adventure back then. Without smartphone and GPS. After that, it quickly became more. I have now developed a general love for cycling and endurance sports.

from left Ronny and Markus on a training trip in April. A little muddier than expected but happy and looking forward to the Alps in summer!

In summer you will take part in one of the toughest MTB races in Europe - the Maxxis BIKE Transalp. Why did you decide to do this?

Ronny: The BIKE Transalp Riding has been a dream for us since we rode our first mountain bike marathon in Thuringia. At the time, this stage race was still a bit too big for us. Both in terms of key figures such as kilometers and altitude meters, but also in terms of finances. We were still studying at the time. On the weekends we went to the regional MTB races together and just wanted to iron roots and soak up the sporty atmosphere. We always started as lone fighters at different distances. We never won – except for a towel when we came 7th overall in the Thuringian Energy Bike Cup 2009 🙂

Mark: Since we started a mountain bike marathon together again in 2022 (the EBM - Erzgebirgs Bike Marathon) and finished the 2023-hour race on the Nürburgring as a team in 24, we have decided to take part in the BIKE Transalp for the first time in 2024, together as a team of two . When, if not now!

You have a great idea - you would like to take us on the stages and start together as a steps team and in the matching, self-designed steps jerseys. Is there a way to support you in your sporting challenge?

Ronny: First and foremost, we want to give steps visibility in the cycling bubble. We would like to draw attention to this great project and the great work of the employees and volunteers on site, as we know first-hand what is being done there for the children and young people.

Mark: We will share our experiences and also a little of our preparations for the race on social media:

We are pleased that you are taking steps to the Alps. How did you become aware of the steps for children foundation?

Ronny: In 2015, my wife Barbara wanted to support a non-profit social organization as a volunteer. She became aware of steps for children and then 6 months in Gobabis participated and gave lessons together with the employees on site or helped with the daily lunch routine. Although I couldn't be there, except for a few Overnight stays in the steps guesthouse At the beginning of your time there, in the following months I was able to experience first hand how direct and immediate steps for children works and how children and young people are given a perspective through education, social community and at least one reliable, warm meal a day. That made a lasting impression on me!

Is there anything that particularly convinces you about steps for children?

Ronny: Personally, I have the impression that your commitment in Namibia always takes place together with the local people and that participation in the implementation is completely normal. I think it's great that we rely on the motivation of the local employees to implement the projects! I believe that, among other things, this helps ensure that the aid from your foundation reaches the site directly!

Mark: When you find out more about steps, you immediately notice the personal enthusiasm of each individual contributor. The transparency about which projects you support and how donations are used is also exemplary. The wealth of projects you support is also impressive.

When you find out more about steps, you immediately notice the personal enthusiasm of each individual contributor. The transparency about which projects you support and how donations are used is also exemplary.

Marcus Kaiser

They designed the jerseys themselves! So the two of them will start and drive for a good cause to tell even more people about our activities in Namibia. And who knows, maybe we'll see them at the start next time at the Desert Dash in Namibia?

We have various steps – social and income-generating measures that you can get involved in: Do you have a project close to your heart?

Ronny: Definitely the steps preschool in combination with the guardian angel program. This enables the children to make the transition to local primary schools and thus gives them a perspective. The steps employees and volunteers accompany the children step-by-step into their school career and also support them with seemingly banal formal steps. Without steps, some children in the settlements might not go to school! You just have to start your school career first in order to be able to complete it successfully.

Without steps, some children in the settlements might not go to school! You just have to start your school career first in order to be able to complete it successfully.

Ronny Staps

What do you want for the steps children in Namibia?

Ronny: School is a long journey for every child until it is completed and new doors can one day open up through what they have learned. We wish all school children that they stick with it and become school finishers, even if there are difficult phases!

Is there anything you are grateful for?

Ronny: We are grateful to have our children and to have the support of our families in preparing for the race! And of course we are happy that we can make our dream come true with the BIKE Transalp this year. We hope that we will start healthy and fit. 

Mark: And the icing on the cake is that we will take you into the race and start as a “steps for children” team!

Dear Ronny, dear Markus, we wish you a lot of fun and success with the sporting challenge and thank you very much for giving our work in Namibia visibility at this event in the Alps and for standing for steps with heart and conviction!

Further ways to support steps for children:

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Would you like to volunteer and take action to help disadvantaged children in Namibia? The non-profit organization steps for children works to improve the living conditions of girls

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