Richard Gasperotti has done a lot of different things on two wheels. Racing is one of them, but he's also competed in the Red Bull Rampage, performed in riding demos that involve bridges just a few inches wide that are high in the air, and even been towed up to 131mph behind a motorbike. Things are a bit calmer in Gaspi's life these days, though, with his focus being more on the journey and adventure than sending it off huge cliffs or trying to break speed records. Gaspi, can you introduce yourself to the readers?Hi, my name is Richard Gasperotti but most of my friends, including my father, call me Gaspi. This year I’ve turned 38, which is a great age for a mountain biker, in my opinion. I make my living by riding a bike and doing things around biking. So it’s not only entertainment, but also a serious job for me. I was born in Jirkov, North Bohemia, but today I spend most of my time in the czech capital, Prague, where my wife comes from.Can you tell me something about your achievements?I am a four times Red Bull Rampage participant and I was the first European rider invited to this event. Kids can hardly remember because it was back in 2002! Before that I was a member of Dangerous Dan’s Flow Show, and during my stay in Vancouver I made some video footage with Digger for his North Shore Extreme movie series. In 2009 I made a world speed record on the mountain bike being towed by the motorcycle. We rolled down the runway at the airport at a speed of 211.5 km/h (131.42 mph)! Later on I took part in other slope style competitions, but I left racing because I wanted to ride in the big mountains and focus on the trail riding. What kind of rider are you?I think that companies support two kinds of riders: the ones who collect racing points, and than the others who are riding just for fun. The latter are seen in the media or give companies feedback about technical stuff. I definitively belong to the second group. Beside that, I take care of riders involved in my biking camp and keep the ,Zam project going.What’s ,Zam?,Zam means journey in the Mongolian language. It's not only a never-ending journey, but also a way to explore the most fascinating places in the world, which are just asking to be discovered for the mountain biking community. The tour has begun in 2012 when me and my friends departed to the remote Mongolian Altai mountains to explore wild and undiscovered slopes and trails. During the Mongolian expedition, we travelled fifteen thousand kilometers in a specially adapted van, which became our means of transportation, our base camp and an escort vehicle for the crew of four.
During the expedition, one of the crew members, Martin Smolik, filmed footage for the movie ,Zam. The documentary gained acclaim at international outdoor film festivals. Shortly afterwards, we won fourth place in the international online poll for the Adventurer of the Year 2012! We left behind such legends as the skydiver, daredevil and BASE jumper felix Baumgartner. After that we made other trips to Sicily and New Mexico in the United States.What bike are you riding these days?I have bicycles for different occasions. This time I want to introduce you to my freeride machine. The frame is a Mondraker Summum Pro Team Carbon built in the medium size. The front wheel is suspended by a FOX 40 27.5 Factory Kashima, and the rear by a DHX RC4 Kashima shock. I’m testing prototype FUNN Fantom DH 27.5 wheels with prototype Mitas Highlander 2.4'' endurance/dead compound tires. Most of the components also come from FUNN, like Carbonation Solo cranks, Python pedals, new Zippa DH chain gudie, Fatboy 30mm rise handlebar, and the Combat III grips. Stem is Onoff Integrated FG 20-30mm. When shifting and braking, I rely on Shimano parts. The total weight of the bike is 14.6kg, which I find pretty amazing because not many years ago I was riding bikes that used to weight more than 25kg!Sounds like you’re testing a bunch of new parts as well?I’m part of developing process with two companies. My tires are made by the czech company Mitas, and most of the components come from FUNN, who are based out of Taiwan. I find both cooperations very inspirational because I can tell the engineers what I like and what I don’t, and it seems they are glad because they have a fast feedback about their work. Beside that, I work also as the consulter and ambassador for the international website Welovecycling, supported by Skoda Car company.How is the mountain biking doing in Czech Republic? Czech Republic is a small country with ten millions inhabitants. We don’t have big mountains like our neighbours in Austria or Germany, but we still have very nice spots to ride. Last year I invited Geoff Gulevich to visit the best places that I know, and that seven day tour became known as ,Zam3. We had great fun and the media crew made a nice movie documentary about it.As I know, you have also joined the Pinkbike project, Share the Ride. Was it successful in your country?I was absolutely stoked about this project and about the reaction of the kids here in the Czech Republic. Together with popular television presenter from the Czech TV channel, Prima Tomas Hauptvogel, and supported by Pinkbike, we arranged a delivery of eighteen brand new Specialized Hotrock bikes and helmets to the children living in Czech orphanages. You should see the faces of the kids! This was a great satisfaction for everyone involved. Another project was focused on getting my friend Michal Kosik back to riding after an accident where he broke his spinal chord and became disabled. Together with another friends we helped him to collect money and build a special four wheel off-road quad, which returned him back to the action.What about plans for this year?,Zam is going to continue this summer with ‚Zam4. Our new destination is Sardinia. It is the second largest island in the Mediterranean Sea (after Sicily and before Cyprus) and an autonomous region of Italy. While the beaches are visited by thousands of tourist every year, the inland' s backcountry stays untouched and wild. The highest mountains reach over 1800m. Again, we want to travel through these places to discover the best trails and locations.Do you have any longterm visions?I still want to ride my bike as much as possible. However, I’d like to spent my free time with my supportive wife Tereza and our baby girl Eleonora. Sometimes it’s hard to make everyone happy because I am very busy, but I try to do my best. With the ,Zam series our goal is to bring a fresh perspective on cycling in the form of the video and the photo documentary that will attract a wider cycling community to share similar experiences. ,Zam will continue! And here you can watch a short trailer made about our recent project K!LL H!LL