She is no longer the same person she was, Burkhardt declared. But I still have feelings for her. I consider it to be a sad occasion each time I return home.
90-year-old Peter Burkhardt will cycle the entire distance to meet his soul mate. Peter’s wife is located in an Apeldoorn hospice, 17 kilometres away. “Cold doesn’t bother me and with rain, you can put on a rain jacket. If it’s really bad I’ll take a cab and else one of my sons will bring me. So I’ll always get to my wife,” said Burkhardt in an interview posted by @u/kleutscher. When asked why is he doing this, he said, “Because I want to see my wife and be with her. We are married for 63 years so then you want to be together.”
He stays in Diepenveen, and it takes him an hour to cycle there and an hour to cycle back. Burkhardt gets dressed in his outfit, which consists of a body warmer on top of a blue (ski) suit. As he circles the Zwolseeweg roundabout in Deventer, he looks to the left and the right. According to De Stentor, he then crosses a railroad bridge, ascends a steep hill, and finally follows a straight road to his destination. For the past seven years, Burkhardt has visited Apeldoorn. I have to accept the situation as it is, he said. “I have to take the situation as it is. I just want to be with her every day. I just can’t miss her. I did it by car for a while. But even then I alternated it with the bike.”
He stores his tricycle in his home’s shed every morning because he hasn’t had a car in a while. Additionally, his driver’s license was rejected. He took his bicycle out for the trip because it was in the shed. Burkhardt completed his journey in December of last year after travelling more than 40,000 kilometres over the course of more than three years. He occasionally travels more than an hour to get to Apeldoorn. He said, “It takes me about an hour. But in the heavy wind for a little more than an hour.”
“Without support, I really wouldn’t make it anymore.” He doesn’t find the ride dangerous at any time of the day or night. However, he thinks the cycle path on the railway bridge at Deventer is too narrow. He wants them to do something about it. He said, “It really is a disaster. You can barely get past each other there with the two of you.” Burkhardt knows that he is getting older and he agreed that there were many things that he could do 5-6 years ago but now he can’t. He said, “I hope I can keep doing it. I walk a lot less now, but cycling is still going well.” He was asked if his wife knows what he does for her every day. He said, “No, not that. It is completely outside her realm of experience. But when I’m back, I notice that she gives me a very nice hug every now and then.”
His sole reason for doing this is to benefit Apeldoorn. “I want to see her, hear her voice. When I enter the nursing home I immediately know where she is. She is no longer the same as she was. But I’m still in love with her. Every time I go back home, I think it’s a sad moment.”
His offspring support him in continuing to do what he does every day and are proud of him for it. Wouter Burkhardt, his son, stated: “I think they keep each other alive with this. I hope my father inspires other people with this.”