logo piaggio wide

BY 03/13


Riding a Moto Guzzi down the Silk Road, among desert steppes and shamanistic rites, to experience at first hand Naadam, the centuries-old festival from the days of Genghis Khan

An extraordinary journey across Eastern Europe, Russia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, with final destination Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia. The trip was undertaken by Mario Mancini, riding a tireless Moto Guzzi all the way from Italy, along the ancient Silk Road caravan routes and into the heart of Genghis Khan’s homeland. Here, in July, the national Naadam festival takes place: music, dancing, parades in costume, archery contests, horse-racing with 6,000 riders and wrestling competitions, the country’s favourite sport, for the coveted title of Lion of Mongolia. A magnificent event blending folklore and tradition, backed by three thousand years of history (Naadam is regarded as the world’s second-oldest Olympics).

Mongolian Naadam Festival

Our Guzzi biker ventured through deserts and steppes, following the paths of nomads and shepherds, over rivers, through valleys, across mountains. No traffic lights or road signs for thousand of kilometres: just a map and the sun for guidance. Contrasting emotions, breathtakingly spectacular scenery, extraordinary faces, age-old customs and traditions relieve any fatigue and solitude. But you’re never alone when you’re riding a steel horse with an eagle on the tank.
Tuscan-born Mario Mancini, a great traveller and Guzzi biker, is the author of this splendid photo gallery of a long journey that will leave you dreaming about the farthest corners of the planet.

The journey in figures

Lucca (Tuscany)


Total km:

Total days of travel:
55, including 52 on the bike

Highest road:
2,650 m above sea level, in the Province of Bajan-Olgij (Western Mongolia)

Highest temperature:
31°C (in Ulaanbaatar)

Lowest temperature:
3°C (in the province of Arhangaj, Central Mongolia)

Daily average on the bike:
350 km until Siberia, 130 km in Mongolia

Oil consumption:
1 kg for the entire journey

Litres of petrol:
1,080 litres (from 95 to 80 octanes)

8 countries crossed:
Italy, Slovenia, Hungary, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Mongolia

2 sets of tyres: one road set, one knobbed set

1 fall in the sand