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July 2023 (G.T.) – Such courage (topped with a dusting of healthy recklessness) on the part of Emilio Radice: Italian biker-traveller, as well as journalist, with over 40 years of experience. He is just back from his umpteenth adventure on the road: two months travelling (May to June) from the hills of Zagarolo (a metropolitan city of Rome) to Kabul (Afghanistan), pushing all the way to Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan before heading home. An epic journey, accompanied by his new Aprilia Tuareg 660 motorcycle.

Itinerary and trip photo diary by Emilio Radice:

Emilio Radice recounts, “I took my Tuareg 660 past the red line of the European borders, travelling thousands of miles in Greece, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and KyrgyzstanThe Afghanistan leg was a first ever for an Aprilia and in general for the entire motorcycling movement. Among other things, I also crossed paths with the official Yamaha expedition, Kamchatkaraid (Rosario Sala, Franco Ballatore, and Maurizio Limonta) with their Teneré 700 machines… And we covered part of Iran and much of Afghanistan together.

On the road, subjectively: potholes and dust. Video clip of Emilio Radice:

An unintentional comparison came up, with the Tuareg 660 coming out with head held high. It never had a technical problem, it drank the worst petrol in the world, it withstood terrible temperatures, it breathed in clouds of asphyxiating dust, and the frame and suspension held up under frightening blows and vibrations. Not even a trace of seeping oil!”

A visit to the Emergency war hospital, in Laskhar Gha, Afghanistan.
Source of images

“Partly due to the constant stops imposed by the groups of armed Taliban that roam all over Afghanistan, the trip was extremely difficult. With two interesting moments: the visit to the Emergency war hospital in Laskhar Gha, and the one in the Bamyan valley, where the statues of Buddha were destroyed. Due to a series of hostilities at the border, I was unable to go back by land, as I had planned to do. My Tuareg (which I call Lolita) is now stopped in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, waiting to be shipped to Italy by truck. Many bikers followed me on the Internet, including a lot of fans of the brand... I think that a trial of this sort (twenty thousand absolutely terrible km) deserves to be known. I love my bike. I am doing it first and foremost for her and for those who doubt her efficiency.”

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Of course, the experience he has gained over decades of motorcycle trips came in handy. But, to paraphrase, every time he publishes an article, he risks his career. Just like every time you throw a leg over your bike and set out, you risk your... “skin”, especially if you choose difficult routes and destinations from every point of view, as Emilio did. But that’s how it is. Emilio is Emilio. Full stop. He has already been a “hero” for some time in the international biker community. And now he is also acclaimed in the community dedicated to the Aprilia Tuareg 660.

The motorbike. The motorbike is my pen on the road,
it draws them, tells them...

Emilio Radice.

And we should also point out that super biker Emilio faced this new challenge astride a bike that was new for him (accustomed to much larger and more powerful bikes), adding potential unknowns to a high-risk trip, between unexpected events and sacrifices, impossible roads and complicated but exciting and challenging encounters. Concerning her - the Aprilia Tuareg 660 (technological, with dynamic features of a true enduro, lightweight and high performance, with an innate instinct for off-road adventure), Emilio confesses that he “fell in love” at first glance. His is a discerning eye, which saw things correctly.

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In fact, during the ride, he wrote this on his Facebook page about the bike. “The bike works well. I have no observations to make about her. At cruising speed, so around 100 km/h, consumption is 22.5 km per litre. Good. The ‘poor’ petrol, in situations of fading - high heat - can make you hit your head on the engine if you don’t dole out the power right when you twist the throttle. But I noticed that, with the off-road programme, which favours low torque and rounded acceleration, the phenomenon becomes practically non-existent. In any case, I’ll try to calibrate an individual programme with the off-road parameters. I’ve never filtered the petrol. I have no oil leaks. Those who follow me may have noticed that my trips are not connected to any product or sponsorship. I like being a biker, full stop. So, if I say that my Ixs ventilation system jacket is a great jacket, I say it solely because I am convinced of it. In the same way, if I say that the Aprilia Tuareg is a fantastic bike, Aprilia will like that, but I’ll like it much more, since it was not a gift from them.” Hurray for brutal honesty! Emilio Radice can afford it, and how.

Biker-journalist Emilio Radice on the eve of his “reckless” ride in the company of his new, young, fun to ride, and trustworthy travel companion – his words – the Aprilia Tuareg 660.
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“11 June 2023. My dear friends, I have returned to Italy. I'm home now. I believe that I can say this, despite the situation being more complicated than usual. I've returned, but nothing has come to an end. Everything is still highly undefined. This two-month journey which was not only in Afghanistan but in other places, in other times, in thousands and thousands of sensations, is a great tangle for me, an entanglement which I must unravel little by little. In short, general disorder. And my bike, my Tuareg 660, is still in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, and it is as though half of me is still there. But then, but then.... Could it be true that I endured a late winter with cold and glaciers, to then descend from the vast Anatolian Plateaus, finding myself in the spring lushness of Iranian Baluchistan, on the frills of the Persian coast, covered by a tangle of pump-petroleum pipes...? So much, too much, all at once. Like when one leaves the cinema after seeing a complex film and must explain it. You feel it, but you are unable to speak about it. Yes, I'm still in the tangle. If I rest my mind on any specific moment of what I experienced over the past two months, I feel the need for a re-reading, a meditation. Here is just a fragment of many: the children in the mud village near Herat. How must they have seen me? What must they have thought of me, or rather of us, since there were three of us who crossed the scree of the dry riverbed that separates them from the rest of the world. And now they are there, whilst I am here. So, is everything as it was before? No, because now I know. Because now I am aware. They are moments to expand and understand more. This type of journey never entirely comes to an end. It is always the beginning of something else…” Emilio Radice.

Oh, and if you’re wondering why Emilio called his Tuareg Lolita, reminiscent of the intriguing Nabokov character, he replies seraphic, “Because she is young, whereas I am just a bit older.”
Appendix.My first bike? A Moto Guzzi Stornello Sport 125. Followed by: Vespa 90, Moto Guzzi 500 Condor, Moto Guzzi 850 T3, Moto Guzzi 1000 SP (with which I ‘got into trouble’. We left for Spain-Portugal in two and three).” And the “heir” smiles. Not all the “credit” goes to the daddy-biker’s Eagle brand motorcycle.
A flash of the high beam from Emilio Radice to bikers worldwide.

Emilio Radice, his travel reportages: