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Speedy hobby

It's 9:30 a.m. at the Mundorf filling station in Rösrath: The trade fair bikers have parked their motorcycles and are already wondering what route Michael Wintermeier, commercial employee in Pay at Koelnmesse, has chosen for them today. Tanks filled, visors down – then in a roar of engines, they're off. Only Wintermeier knows which route they will be taking today towards the Eifel, Westerwald or Bergisches Land. However, the day trips of the 10 to 20-member group of motorcycle enthusiasts do not take them more than 250 kilometers away from Cologne. After eight hours at the most, they finish up back at the filling station in Rösrath, with excellent access to the highway. "Without Michael Wintermeier, there would be no trade fair bikers," says Matthias Becker, Director of the INTERNATIONAL HARDWARE FAIR and Asia-Pacific Sourcing, talking about the early days of the biking group. "We have been organizing group tours for all Koelnmesse motorcyclists interested in taking part since 2013". Three times a year, experienced motorcyclist Wintermeier plans varied routes through beautiful landscapes and with cultural delights for the breaks. "In the Eifel, for example, we sampled Maria Laach's famous pea soup, but also visited the ski jump on the Kahler Asten, the Nougat Museum or Checkpoint Zero in Thuringia," recalls Nadja Dillmann, Assistant to the Business Development unit manager. In addition to a one-day tour in March to open the season and a final tour in October, the bikers also enjoy an annual weekend tour with two overnight stays, during which they head for more distant regions. "This year in July, 14 motorcycles will travel to Saarland," says Becker.

Always talking on the move

The trade fair bikers are a colorful group, but they are united by their love of motorcycling: "Colleagues from various areas of Koelnmesse are represented in our group. Interestingly enough, we never talk about work. What someone does for a living becomes a minor matter here. The focus is on the ride. You can learn things from others and in the breaks we chat about what we've seen along the way, discuss motorcycles and talk about holidays," reports Dillmann. Different riding styles within the group are no problem either, as everyone rides according to a fixed system in which nobody can get lost and everyone has a say in determining the pace. "The only thing each rider has to take care of for themselves is the fuel. Although someone once miscalculated and broke down," says Becker with a laugh. "It was amusing for everyone when the person in question headed off to the next filling station with a small canister and later had to buy a round of beer because we had to wait for him."