Off-road passion: off-road riding tips by Michele Mazzini

Off-roading in the words of Michele Mazzini.

A free spirit with innate curiosity and the rebellious nature of one who marches to a different drum. Born in Arezzo, Italy, Michele Mazzini, 32, does not care for pre-planned routes. Rather, he is an explorer for whom the beaten track is never enough, a real enduro rider unafraid of the dust and dirt. 

A life-long rider, Michele first climbed aboard a minibike when he was 7 and, from that moment, his life has been all about two wheels. His passion for off-roading is home-grown, developed in Tuscany with its countless miles of hills and woodland in which to get lost, find oneself and, above all, feel free. First with his dad and then, as the years went by, alone, pushing himself ever onward towards new destinations, to quench an unending thirst for knowledge.

Today, Michele is an off-road riding instructor and a relentless traveller

“The bike can push you towards places that seem unreachable and enrich your life with extraordinary experiences” he tells us when we call him for a chat. A man who still gets excited when talking about his trip along the world’s highest accessible road, some 5000 metres up in the Himalayan peaks, he knows all about breaking boundaries.

The perfect person, in fact, to tell us everything we need to know before straying from the beaten track and setting off in search of new horizons.

Here are his tips for taking on an off-road trip.

Riding ability

Riding a bike in the dirt requires significant technique: you need to know the bike, the riding position to adopt and how best to use the throttle and be able to remain focused on the route from start to finish. Skills that can also be very useful on the road, but that become essential on this kind of trip. 

Having said that, technique is not enough. Without good physical preparation and at least some degree of training, a rider will no doubt suffer. The legs, arms and back are put to the test by jolts resulting from the uneven ground and so should be prepared so as to limit the impact.

Planning the trip

Journeys involving off-road stages are always full of surprises. Information regarding off-road sections is limited and hard to obtain. Thanks to the internet, you can connect with other riders who have perhaps already crossed the same areas. But every off-road trip is different, as each person may take a different route, guided by their instincts and by nature. This said, there are two key elements to bear in mind: never overdo it in terms of mileage, so as to avoid being overly tired upon reaching your destination, and do not take on too much in one day, as you risk it going dark before you arrive. The rest is pure adventure.

Technology and instrumentation

And while it is true that there will be no shortage of surprises, the secret to a successful off-road expedition is to have suitable instruments with which to face up to any eventuality. Before setting off, check that you have a basic tool kit, spare lever parts, a GPS navigation system and, last but not least, those all-important off-road tyres. Do this, and your bike will be ready for anything. While you, the rider, should remember to carry a good quantity of water to combat both heat and fatigue, particularly in summer.

Shared passion

Having a trusted travel companion is every enduro rider’s dream. Traveling as a pair, each with their own bike, is a great advantage, especially over long distances and on certain types of terrain. It is not unusual to get stuck in the mud or find yourself in a tricky situation when riding off-road. And it is unlikely you will come across anyone else once roaming far from the beaten track. So, traveling as a pair means added safety and, if you have a real rapport, an extraordinary opportunity to share an unforgettable experience.

“For those tired of the usual trips, those who are curious, those who cannot do without adrenaline and adventure, my advice is to not be scared and to try off-roading. You’ll never go back.”

This is Michele’s reply when we ask him who is best suited to an off-road adventure. 

And if you recognise yourself in this, then there is only one thing to do: try it, to believe it.

Beyond Boundaries

It’s time to delve into the wild side of Croatia and conquer the muddy, dusty roads: a land in which the Multistrada 1260 Enduro is free to express itself.