by Adrian-Liviu Dorofte

"Tour de Bölck" - A grand sporting achievement for an "environment-friendly Setra"

If this example catches on, cycling may well be in for a new unexpected boom in Germany. Mathias Bölck (42), co-owner of the bus company of the same name in Schuby (district of Schleswig-Flensburg) set off all on his own on an 894-kilometre cycling trip which took eight days (plus one rest day) in order to collect his new Setra in person at the customer center in Neu-Ulm. The hobby cyclist first lived out the idea of embarking on such a remarkable cycling trip to collect a new bus in Neu-Ulm some years ago. "I thought, if you're going to collect a new environment-friendly Setra S 516 HD with low-emissions Euro VI engine, then you should travel to where you are going to collect it in environment-friendly style, too". Powered by an OM 470 6-cylinder in-line engine rated at 315 kW/428 hp, the 13.11 m long touring coach comes with 48 seats in 4-star design, Setra Voyage seating in fabric with partial leather upholstery and the adaptive cruise control and Active Brake Assist safety systems. The new ComfortClass 500 is the latest highlight among the company's 15 high-quality touring coaches. It also operates almost 20 Setra MultiClass 400 buses on regular rural services.

On Saturday, 1 June the bus operator set off from his home town of Schuby, around 40 kilometres south of Flensburg, in the direction of Neu-Ulm. He covered between 90 and 130 kilometres a day. At 8.30 a.m. on Monday, 10 June, he proudly rode into the delivery shop of the customer center in Neu-Ulm to applause from the Setra staff on hand. Inside the delivery shop he was greeted with fitting ovations by Setra sales manager Heinz Friedrich and Setra staff from various departments. Alluding to the customer's sporting prowess, Friedrich commented: "The Bölck company combines peak performance with innovative and successfully applied ideas. In launching the ComfortClass 500 we are pursuing similarly ambitious aspirations to Mathias Bölck". The final stage of Bölck's north/south cross-German trip was the shortest, but also the wettest, as it poured continuously along the few kilometres from Neu-Ulm-Finningen to the bus plant in Pfuhler Ried. This weather formed a stark contrast to the conditions on his trip. Although the sporty cyclist was forced to make a number of detours due to the floods in Germany, he enjoyed sunny weather throughout his eight-day trip.

Cycle trip a good omen for the new coach

Mathias Bölck sees the overall trip as a good omen for his new touring coach, as apart from six worn out inner tubes he had no trials or tribulations to report, let alone any mishaps or accidents. And then there was the bus driver who he met at one of the hotels where he stayed along the way. On learning of the reason behind Mathias Bölck's trip, he spontaneously enthused: "I'd walk to Neu-Ulm for a Setra S 516 HD." Following the handover of the vehicle, which was also attended by Mathias Bölck's mother, Hildegard Bölck, and his brother,Rüdiger, Bölck set off on his maiden trip to Schleswig-Holstein with the new S 516 HD, which soon had him singing the vehicle's praises. After several hundred kilometres, he got in touch by phone, gushing: "The vehicle runs great. We're already delighted with it."

Credits: Daimler AG

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