TWO TRAVELLERS WITH A DREAM: GOING TO CHINA. IT WAS 2004 WHEN THEY ARRIVED IN BEIJING ON TWO PIAGGIO SCOOTERS. FROM ITALY THROUGH EASTERN EUROPE, RUSSIA, MONGOLIA, AND ON TO THE CHINESE CAPITAL: ALESSANDRO BACCI, UNICEF AMBASSADOR FOR THE NATIONAL FIREFIGHTERS CORPS, TELLS US ABOUT THEIR TRIP.
When you have an irresistible desire to discover and learn about other places and people, what do you do? You start travelling, and with a two-wheeler you really do get a sense of freedom. Add an extra dose of courage and imagination to resolve unforeseen problems and difficulties, and the journey turns into an adventure. This is what happened to Alessandro Bacci of Perugia, a firefighter by profession and a biker by passion, and his colleague and travel companion Emanuele Cruciani. In 2004, the pair had just come back from an “outing” to the North Cape and were dreaming about going to China, but not on a powerful motorcycle: the real challenge was to travel to Beijing on two 50cc scooters. They chose the Piaggio Liberty 50 4T, organised the trip and, realising that it would not be easy to enter China and move around on motor vehicles as visitors, they travelled “on a mission” as firefighters and UNICEF ambassadors.
Alessandro and Emanuele left from Perugia, rode up to northern Italy and on to Eastern Europe (Croatia, Hungary, Poland, Belarus), Russia (Moscow, with a stop in Red Square), Mongolia (travelling through the Gobi desert to Ulaan Baatar), and finally reaching Beijing, after successfully overcoming unforeseen events, bureaucratic difficulties, tiredness and resistance tests for both themselves and their vehicles. The journey had an unexpected conclusion: the city authorities involved them in an official parade on their Liberty scooters, with reports in the papers and on television, as well as parties, football games and a twinning program with their Chinese firefighting counterparts.
THE STORY OF THE TRIP:
ABOUT ALESSANDRO BACCI: “I was born in Perugia in 1972, I work as a firefighter and I have a passion for travel. The scooter is a special, flexible means of transport to discover new places and meet new people. My way of travelling has nothing to do with pinning little flags on a map to say ‘I’ve been there’. I try to transform the desire to explore, learn about new places and meet people that bubbles up inside me every so often, into roads beneath my two-wheeler and I often take along the symbols of peace and friendship as a UNICEF ambassador for the National Firefighters Corps. My motorcycling experience began by chance in 2003 when I set off on an Aprilia Caponord, to make a solo trip to Turkey.
Since then, I’ve never stopped! Coast to coast in America, the Isle of Man, Perugia-North Cape, Perugia–Beijing, the Holy Land and Perugia-Dakar: these are just some of my trips, during which I’ve met many special people and taken home a pile of memories, thoughts and experiences… I like recording my trips in writing, in a simple, direct style, recounting my adventures without filters. When I write, I want to take the reader far away and fuel the desire for discovery that lies within us all. I don’t regard myself as a writer, just as a narrator. I’ve published ‘Perugia Pechino in motorino’ (2008), ‘L’importante è partire’ (2010), ‘Terra Santa’ (2011), ‘Pas de problème’ (2014). I’ve written technical and travel articles for a number of magazines… and my experience in automobile racing has enabled me to work as a tester for a number of motorcycle manufacturers.”
(The photos for this article are taken from Alessandro Bacci’s website, which also has videos of his journeys).