I cycle, therefore I am

People behind the Parallel Passion: Imme Mattern

It’s official since the end of July: Imme Mattern is one of the few women who are members of the “Club des Cinglés” – the club of the Mont Ventoux Srewballs. This is a French club for cyclists who have mastered all three routes of Mont Ventoux within 24 hours. A mountain adventure in Corona times.

Photogenic by nature

Her Instagram profile suggests that Imme is a model in her prime. But the Brunswick girl waves her hand away. “I work as a controller,” she says with a laugh. “But my best friend has a boutique for second-hand clothes. I like to be photographed there. Also to promote sustainability!”

Sporty with a VW bus

Imme is actually at home in the world of books and art. Very soon after her studies she switched to the tax profession. She also began to discover endurance sports for herself. She started running, true to the motto of the great runner Emil Zatopek: bird flies, fish swims, man walks. Imme also took part in a marathon. “After a break-up a few years ago, I was sitting around alone in a VW bus. Okay, I thought. Then I tried out the idea of being solo with the bus,” says Imme.

Three weeks France

She likes to tour Italy and France best. As without a bike you would be stuck on campsites, she always has her mountain bike and meanwhile also a road bike with her. However, because of Corona, she didn’t want to ride around as much as usual in the summer of 2020. So the tip of a French friend came in handy, to spend three weeks in June on a small campground at Mont Ventoux, in the middle of Provence.

A Crazy Plan

“The mountain also fascinates me in terms of cultural history,” enthuses Imme. “To get in the mood, I read the famous letter of Petrarch, who climbed Mont Ventoux in 1336 and wrote about it. But this only in a side note …” Furthermore, Imme sent her documents to the Club des Cinglés, The Mont Ventoux Screwballs. This club gathers cyclists who have completed all three asphalt routes of Mont Ventoux within 24 hours. Getting in as a woman – that’s it!, thought Imme.

Card at the last minute

But at the ticket station in France, nobody knew anything about Imme. Instead, she learned that so-called last-minute tickets are not distributed, but that the required stamp cards are only available via the Internet with a little lead time. After a few phone calls, Imme was lucky – and exceptionally – to receive the participation PDF, which she could print out at the campsite.

Waiting for the weather

Imme had put the ” crazy tour ” at the end of her vacation weeks and had already tried out two of the mountain routes. However, she had to wait for good weather. Because on the treeless Mont Ventoux, sun and wind can give the cyclists a hard time. Finally it was time for Imme to start at three o’clock at night from Malaucène. “I didn’t know this route yet. That’s why I thought: If I can manage that, the other two routes will also work,” the power woman recalls.

Unknown tour at first

With the stamp card in her pocket, she reached the mountain peak for the first time from Malaucène at six o’clock in the morning after 21.2 km and 1,570 meters of altitude. There followed a short break and the descent to Bédoin, where Imme had the first stamp put on her card at seven o’clock in the morning. Twenty minutes later, she started to climb again from Bédoin – this route is considered the most difficult and is a legendary part of the Tour de France.

Whole day with no wind

At 10:40 a.m. Imme had arrived at the top, took a half hour break and then rushed down to Sault with the peak stamp in her luggage for the next stamp. Shortly after 12:30 p.m., meanwhile in glaring sunshine, she took the third and, compared to the others, most leisurely route from Sault back to the top. “All day long I was lucky with the wind, it just wasn’t there,” rejoiced Imme, who reached Malaucène again after a happy departure at 4:20 pm and had the last stamp put in. So the wait for better weather was really worth it.

Just driven!

Probably because of the corona situation, a certain calmness had been present during the whole vacation. Otherwise she would have changed the campground more often to see more of the country, and the tour from the “club des cinglés” would either not have taken place at all or she would not have finished it. “So I was just there, with me, and drove,” says Imme. “I cycle, therefore I am. That’s my motto.”

I cycle, therefore I am. That’s my motto.

Long preparation tour

All kilometers from France are also included in the Parallel Passion. Imme got the Charity-Challenge Die Parallele Passion because of the rejection mail of the Mecklenburger Seenrunde and registered immediately in this Strava-Club. At the originally planned date of the MSR she simply drove her own long distance: From Brunswick it went to Luneburg. “I wanted to do 300 km. Admittedly, it was only 290, because I had no lights with me. But safety comes before ambition – and I was still very well prepared for Mont Ventoux,” says Imme happily.

So many kilometers alone – lonely wolf? Imme laughs. No, she likes to be on the road like that. Or at least you first have to meet summiteers who take part in such tours and stay happy. The Parallel Passion team always wishes Imme a good trip and suspects that anyone who reads Petrarch, can wait for the right weather and then crosses the Ventoux three times with such ease will probably also manage to become a model.

Click here for the Strava profile of Imme.
And here for her Instagram account.

It can happen so fast.

Suddenly out of control

In this short drama in five acts, Thimo describes how a small ride became a lesson in cycling safety.

Act One: Little tour after work

My colleague Hannes and I spontaneously decided to take a little drive after work. Despite the grey sky, we set off to escape the clouds and take a lap around Lake Cospuden in the most beautiful sunshine.

As chance would have it, we met a cycling enthusiast colleague on the west bank of the Cossi, who then spontaneously decided to come with us – of course with the minimum distance offered in Corona times. We were in a good mood, we had a lot of fun riding together.

So we decided to just take another lake with us. Since in Leipzig’s Neuseenland you don’t have to pedal far to get to the next lake, we were at Markkleeberg Lake in no time.

Act Two: Speed up on the climb

… … and we were already on a small climb, where I always enjoy just speeding up. So butt up, bend over the handlebars and push maximum watts into the pedals.

Just awesome


Act Three: Bang and Fall

Then two seconds followed in which a lot happened and it felt as if I could watch in slow motion. First the chain broke. Shortly after that I lost contact with the pedals and landed correspondingly rough on the crossbar.

At this point at the latest, I had realized I’d lost control! I am still fascinated by how long it took my brain to complete this process. In fact, it was probably only fractions of a second.

And splash! I hit my hip hard. I saw my glasses flying through the air in a high arc. I myself slipped like a wet sack into the ditch beside the path.

Act Four: The seconds after

End of the line.

My colleagues came to me immediately, examined me and helped me. My first thoughts circled incessantly around my glasses. Were they still in one piece? Will I still be able to put them on? Will I be able to find them again?

Fortunately, one of my fellow cyclists handed me the glasses immediately, they were in perfect condition. And my hip? After all, the impact didn’t exactly feel like falling into a soft bed. I pulled myself up.

Good luck. Nothing more had happened to me and I could go on. Sure, here and there I had a bruise and a little ache on my hand. Otherwise I was luckily spared from bigger pains.

Act Fiv: Luck in misfortune

What I learned from this: Always wear a helmet. Because even if you are on the most beautiful cycle path, have a flat surface and a wide view – an accident can happen at any time as if from nowhere.

I’ve been lucky in my misfortune. Please be careful, put on a helmet and preferably ride with friends who can help in an emergency. So that a drama does not turn into a tragedy.

Mille Grazie Paolinho!

Thank you Hannes

This text was written by Thimo Lübcke, Head of Department at Checkstone, meanwhile with helmet on the road. Click here for his Strava profile.

Charity Die Parallele Passion

Why does The Parallel Passion Charity?

Become a Charity Partner of The Parallel Passion

The Parallel Passion is a participatory event

The Parallel Passion is a participatory event for all cyclists in Europe. It is about creating a connection between people through a common idea. It’s about greatness in all of us for the big picture out there.

Now we are doing charity

Who does not like to grow up in a happy family and experience a happy childhood. Fortunately, most children are already like that. Nevertheless, many children and their families need support. Many institutions and associations that focus on the care and recreational activities of children are dependent on donations.

When we talk to people from these institutions, we hear again and again that even a small gesture is accepted with great gratitude. After all, it is also a matter of giving greater public recognition to the work of the educators and volunteers. Then, of course, it also makes sense to give the children real joy at the same time. As bicycle enthusiasts, we love the movement in nature and with the presents we bring additional quality of life into the house.

Partner wanted!

Who can become a partner?

Anyone who runs a network in Europe (event, trade, guide, etc.) can apply to become a partner in the Parallel Passion.

What do I get as a partner of the Parallel Passion?

Do good things and talk about it! The partners of the Parallel Passion are prominently featured on the website and social media channels and can also interact with the community. The partner’s own concept can be enhanced even more appropriately with the Parallel Passion’s join-in concept.

How can I become a partner of the Parallel Passion?

Do you already have an idea how you can integrate your network into the Challenge and also which institution or project you would like to support with your stage? Perfect. If you still need ideas – we are full of them. Just get in touch with Julia from Parallel Passion.