Some people take a journey to arrive at a destination. But for others, the journey is the destination. Some journeys never end, such as Zam: a mountain biking voyage, which goes on and on.
This is the journey of the European mountain biking legend, four-time Red Bull Rampage participant and We Love Cycling’s enthusiastic collaborator and ambassador Richard ‚Gaspi‘ Gasperotti (38). The tour began in 2012 when Gaspi left for the remote Mongolian Altai Mountains to explore wild and undiscovered slopes and trails.
In June 2012, Gaspi and his team took off on the great 15,000-kilometre-long expedition in the Altai Mountains, western Mongolia. The crew reached the Russian-Mongolian border after seven thousand kilometres in a car – a specially adapted van, which became the means of transportation, base camp and an escort vehicle for the crew of four. But that was just the beginning. During the expedition, they filmed footage for the eponymous documentary Zam, which gained acclaim at international outdoor film festivals.
“While other people travel to famous or well-known destinations, we pick countries or regions where no biking movie has been filmed yet,” Gaspi says. “Obviously, we were disappointed so many times. What looked as a perfect terrain on photos was often impossible to ride down – the slopes were too steep, the rocks too big, or there was no way to reach the top because of dense vegetation or another obstacle. However, a portion of uncertainty is a part of the adventure, and we have to take the risk,” he adds.
Zam crew continued searching for new trails in Sicily in 2013. Gaspi returned to the spot just a month after his first visit with a group of riders to show them the beauty of the island as a professional mountain biking guide. That‘s because Zam is not only about gaining new experiences but also about sharing them with others.
Later that year, Gaspi took a group of Czech bikers to Canada and showed them the most beautiful biking regions of British Columbia at “The Best of BC Tour” camp, which culminated with a heli-biking mission from the top of the Barber‘s Mountain and a three-day trip through wild backcountry where the group was dropped off from a floatplane.
The successful expedition of Zam to Mongolia has established a tradition which continued in October 2013 with the Zam2 trip to New Mexico in the USA. The team discovered many great freeriding spots in the scenic areas populated by native inhabitants.
Sometimes it is good to do things the other way around. In October 2014, Gaspi invited Canadian mountain biking superstar Geoff Gulevich to get familiar with the best spots in the Czech Republic. The seven-day tour became known as Zam3.
In June 2015, the Zam team moved to Sardinia, where the community isn’t so big, but is very active. Every day they made stops when they liked some part of the countryside and also met local riders whom they had contacted beforehand via Facebook.
Taiwan was their latest destination so far. The crew’s second island in a row, Taiwan is known as the country with the biggest and most advanced bicycle industry in the world, but it’s also an island that only a few know about. Slippery roots, lianas hanging from branches, and bamboo stems were the main obstacles for the Zam crew in the deep Taiwanese jungles. Again, Gaspi travelled through the island to discover the best trails and locations.
Regardless of where the crew is heading, the aim of the Zam series is to prove that it is possible to mix endure and freeride biking with travelling. Their goal is to bring a fresh perspective on cycling in the form of video and photo documentary that will attract a wider cycling community to share similar experiences.