Video: Richard Gasperotti Charges Down a 250 Meter Coal Mine

Dec 7, 2021 at 5:54
by GASPI  


Words, Photos, & Video: ZAM

Despite his Italian name and hot-blooded temperament, Richard Gasperotti is a biker born, raised and living in the Czech Republic. Even though he failed to conquer a surface coal mine Bílína by bike earlier this year, the biker did not give up. After a few months break, he returned to the spot with the entire “Kill Hill!“ filming crew to give it another try. Apart from challenging the 250 meter slopes of the mine, there was one more task Gaspi desired to complete: to confront the old demons from his childhood.

PHOTO Milo t fek

PHOTO Milo t fek

PHOTO Milo t fek

Except for the state authorities, everybody calls him Gaspi. The 44-year old rider from the Norther Bohemia has not been in the mine for the first time. As he spent his childhood living in a town nearby, he remembers watching the dark area with high terraces from a safe distance. The surface mine resembled him a living organism as it migrated across the country through the excavating process. Gaspi enjoyed the big machines that crawled over the surface to gain valuable coal. He remembers the deep hole in the ground that could have moved up to 100 meters a year. The mine area, which is now owned by Severočeské Doly company, had employed Gaspi's imagination for many years.

PHOTO Milo t fek

PHOTO Milo t fek

PHOTO Milo t fek

After a few illegal attempts to ride in the slopes in the abandoned parts of the excavations site, he found out that this was not the way he wanted to follow. With a couple of starts at the Red Bull Rampage and the career of a professional biker under his belt, he eventually made it to arrange a meeting with the current management that agreed that Gaspi could have entered the site legally. In the end, getting official approval turned out to be a surprisingly feasible goal.

PHOTO Milo t fek

PHOTO Milo t fek

PHOTO Milo t fek

The crew visited the mining site in spring 2021 to explore the terrain, yet heavy rain made most of the site nearly impassable. The visit was not entirely fruitless, though. The team learned that riding in the mine demands a different approach from what Gaspi experienced at the slopes of the Mongolian Altai Mountains or the Mount Vesuvius volcano in Italy.

PHOTO Milo t fek

PHOTO Milo t fek

PHOTO Milo t fek

While entering the location, every visitor is obliged to keep lots of safety rules. Activities in the mine area are regulated by mining law, and every step is under permanent surveillance. Local occupational health and safety authorities take care of that everybody around keeps the rules seriously. Neither the company management nor Gaspi's team would voluntarily become a mine accident victim, be it an unexpected cave-in or a slide from a pile of excavated earth.

PHOTO Milo t fek

PHOTO Milo t fek

PHOTO Milo t fek

Observing the operations in the 40 km2 large-scale open-pit mine makes the machines working at the bottom of the mine resemble kids' toys. But the K10 000 bucket-wheel excavator is anything but a toy. The 6000 tons heavy machine can dig out 10,000 cubic metres of earth per hour. The excavator is one of the biggest machines in the country.

PHOTO Milo t fek

PHOTO Milo t fek

PHOTO Milo t fek

At the end of the spring, Gaspi visited the site with his old good-fellow and awarded photographer Miloš Štáfek who took a couple of stunning shots despite foul weather. Gaspi promised to come back and shoot a video with the whole filming crew.

PHOTO Milo t fek

PHOTO Milo t fek

PHOTO Milo t fek

Gaspi gathered filmmakers, audiovisual artists, experienced bikers and old friends into the crew named Kill Hill! The temperatures in the second week in August 2021 attacked 30 degrees of Celsius. In the mine pit, the temperature rose by 10 degrees or even more. The most important task of a two day-filming schedule was to find a line that starts at the highest point of the mine and goes down to the bottom, which has the same level as the surface of the Baltic sea. The show was about to start.

PHOTO Milo t fek

PHOTO Milo t fek

PHOTO Milo t fek

From watching a short video, one could think that Gaspi just went down, brake-less and taking the shortest line possible. The truth was way more complicated, though. The most important goal was to avoid the working machines at any rate. Gaspi was not permitted to use main roads, either. Patočkovi brothers from the safety department kept an eye if anyone from the crew respected the rules. Some sections were passable only after meticulous preparation. Given that, Gaspi's ride to fulfil his child's dreams was a subject of well-planned actions. In the summer heat, it was an incredible challenge for anyone involved.

PHOTO Milo t fek

PHOTO Milo t fek

PHOTO Milo t fek

If someone asked to compare filming in the mine, I would say try walking across the beach for two days in the high season. The only difference is that the ash-like black sand carves deep in every pore of your skin and ends in every fold of your cloth. The equipment has not been spared, either. The mine is a beach without parasols nor a chilling breeze.

PHOTO Milo t fek

PHOTO Milo t fek

PHOTO Milo t fek

Did Gaspi enjoy being very likely the first man in history to have a bike ride in the mine that has been probably redesigned by excavators ever since? Did he make it to deal with his old demons? Watch the Legal Deeper video to learn more.

PHOTO Milo t fek

PHOTO Milo t fek

PHOTO Milo t fek



photographer: Miloš Štáfek
Acam and drone: Márty Smolík
Bcam and edit : Big Buba
translate: Adam Maršál
rider: Richard Gasperotti

PHOTO Milo t fek

PHOTO Milo t fek

PHOTO Milo t fek

PHOTO Milo t fek

PHOTO Milo t fek


Author Info:
gaspi avatar

Member since Nov 17, 2009
53 articles

48 Comments
  • 61 20
 This is why we need to start building nuclear plants again, NOW!
  • 29 39
flag muddytreker (Dec 11, 2021 at 6:51) (Below Threshold)
 Yeh, then we can burry the nuclear waste under tons of concrete and label the site as a contaminated no go zone, for say athousand years, not to mention building them near the coast for water cooling, perfect for future sea level rises. yeh hurry this planets demise NOW!
  • 89 7
 @muddytreker: I worked as an I&C tech at a nuke for 5 years, it was nowhere near a major body of water. New modular designs can be located anywhere you can put a water reclamation facility.

Furthermore, it is absolutely not necessary to burry the waste, it can sit in concrete casks designed to survive the apocalypse, above ground, indefinitely with zero maintenance. You can stand next them and receive less radiation than you get leaning on a granite countertop.

I’ve also worked at coal plants and gas plants. Nuclear was by far the safest and least polluting producer I’ve ever seen. It produced zero emissions, (with the exception of the backup generators that had to be tested monthly) and produced more megawatts than any other plant in the country.

Nuclear is not the boogie man it’s made out to be, quite the opposite, it might be our salvation.
  • 15 32
flag muddytreker (Dec 11, 2021 at 7:46) (Below Threshold)
 @mrosie: Humans are greedy, selfish uncaring beings and those in control are terrible at
doing good for life and the planet. We are very wastful and over consume resources and
need to regulate our greed on power consumption, and come up with solutions that have
as little impact on the enviornment in use as possible with virtually no harmful waste,
and have far less consequense when disaster strikes, whether thats human error or natural
disaster, japan tsunami and chernobyl are prime examples of this, not to mention future possible
conflicts that could arrise and target a nations power supply, much rather a wind turbine destroyed
or hacked into than a nuclear power plant.
  • 12 11
 Nuclear isn't going to save the planet or slow climate change. That's delusion. (See the video I linked to in my other comment.)
  • 40 8
 @muddytreker: Two incidents in a 70 year history of safe operation, and neither one as bad as Hollywood and media has portrayed, do a little research. Also, new reactor designs eliminate the possibility of similar accidents.

We need realistic solutions, not hippy fantasies. Consumption is not going down even if we want it to. Electric vehicles are the future, how do you think they’ll be charged? Cloud data storage is the future, how do we power those facilities? I could go on and on.

Solar and wind are helpful, except they produce a TINY amount of power, especially considering the space and resources they require. Grid level storage will no doubt help, but that technology doesn’t exist yet in any meaningful way, and if it is invented, it pairs equally well with nuclear (when base load exceeds demand, use excess from nuclear to charge batteries, fill reservoirs, or produce hydrogen, which can later be used as peakers).
  • 29 1
 Yep, Nuclear is the only technology with anything near the energy density we need to keep 7.5 billion people powered, showered, and fed without causing massive strain on the environment. It has ZERO emission and takes up a FRACTION of the physical space that renewables do. The waste is minimal (allbeit more hazardous, but completely manageable) and the plants themselves last for decades. Its a no-brainer...
  • 14 1
 @mrosie: 100% right: I have family that are engineers in nuclear plants. The best power source we have hands down. Too bad the Cold War images are still in people’s minds.
  • 14 21
flag muddytreker (Dec 11, 2021 at 13:33) (Below Threshold)
 @mrosie: Two incidents in 70 years is too many considering the scale of it, Irans nuclear
efforts get hacked by outside nations, justified or not it demonstrates a vulnerability with
potentially disastrous consequences, theres no telling what the future holds with the way
nations behave towards one another.
Decommissioning nuclear power stations costs are massive and time consuming, what have we done
with nuclear waste in the past besides bury it, cover it and create no go land areas,
oh yeh turn depleted uranium into bullets to shoot at folk during conflicts, who thinks to do that and who allows that ? and thats from supposedly civilized nations.

I dont doubt nuclears benefits, I doubt its handling and disposal and the mess it creates and the potential
lethality when it goes wrong, the messes we have created around the globe with oil drilling and mineral
extraction are signs of how we treat things, we just dont seem responsible to handle it in a good all round
way.
  • 1 1
 Low Tier God
  • 3 0
 @mrosie: I agree, mining and burning coal is almost comical.
  • 3 8
flag ottifant FL (Dec 12, 2021 at 1:22) (Below Threshold)
 Nuclear power is super expensive and needs a lot of subsidys. It is more economic to use the taxes for renewables.
  • 2 5
 @mrosie: While relatively CO2 clean it's still far from clean. Building these reactors and also extracting plutonium, transporting it savely produces CO2 aswell.
  • 5 0
 @ottifant: one reason nuclear energy is expensive is because of the cost of money. A power plant is a huge initial investment, and low operating costs relative to the energy produced. Build a power plants with low interests rates, and its overall cost won’t actually be that high.
EROI of nuclear is around 50. EROI of wind mills is 10 to 20 (drops if you include storage). Solar panels is at 5. Coal and natural gas around 30.
  • 4 1
 A bit of scale: 10 cubic meter of air going through a wind mill at 80 km/h gives you about as much energy as 3mL of oil.
1g of uranium gives you as much energy as roughly 1 ton of oil, or 2.5 tons of coal.

Modern wind mill power is typically 4 to 5 MW (one single nuclear reactor is generally 1GW, and there are often more than one reactor in a single power plant). There are some bigger and smaller wind mills, but onshore wind mills are around that. This rated power typically occurs with winds around 40km/h. However, power of a wind mill increases with the cube of the wind velocity. That is, at 20km/h wind velocity, the wind mill produces 8 times less power than at 40km/h. Under 10km/h of wind, even if spinning, the windmill doesn’t generate power.
Finally, because renewables power is “unreliable” (you get only power during sunny or windy days), it increases the operating cost of all the other plants (nuclear, but also coal and natural gas) because they can’t run at their nominal load all the time.
Don’t tell me about energy storage. It will not be available in time (if ever) in the massive scales we would need to run 100% on renewables.
  • 5 6
 @muddytreker: just like all other forms of life on the planet.

no one is going to suck your johnson because you're so woke. just stop.
  • 3 1
 @mrosie: Well that sure sounds authoritative, but you know what the people that are actually making decisions on new power plants are looking at? It's almost exclusively Levelized Cost of Energy, which is why wind, utility-scale solar, and battery storage are being built in massive amounts in the US and the only new nuclear plant under construction is Plant Vogtle, a massively costly boondoggle in Georgia.

www.lazard.com/perspective/levelized-cost-of-energy-levelized-cost-of-storage-and-levelized-cost-of-hydrogen

New nuclear isn't getting built anytime soon in the US without a massive price on CO2 emissions or similar policy. It's a shame that the overlap in the Venn diagram of "Nuclear Lovers" and "People in Favor of Mandated Emissions Reductions" is almost nonexistent. A problem at both ends, in my opinion.
  • 1 1
 @conoat: wheir just tadpoles flirting in a pond, don't worry yourself
  • 34 0
 Longest video ever about 250m descend...
  • 31 7
 My e-bike is powered by fairy dust and my $100,000 Sprinter van runs on unicorn farts.

I also fly in airplanes all over the planet. Airplanes run on happy thoughts and good wishes, right?

"Collapse in a Nutshell: Understanding Our Predicament": youtu.be/e6FcNgOHYoo
  • 3 0
 I don't know if I get your comment wrong but the whole video talks about the now controversial nature of the mine, how it powers 1 out of 4 lightbulb in the country but was creating a fog so dense he'd go back home by heart. Sure he could have take a muscular bike but we all have our contradictions.
  • 2 0
 No, all those things run off the incorrect assumptions of cocky T-rex's that underestimated an asteroid.
  • 1 0
 @takeiteasyridehard: check this out, they didn't underestimate it just weren't able to do anything

www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYXpRWHVIPE

can anyone tell me how to post a direct link like the op did?
  • 14 2
 Coal Mining powers 1/4 of this country grid in Central Europe, as well as, this pro riders Ebike. Ebike rolling coal so awesomeness.
  • 13 0
 I got the black lung Pop...
  • 3 0
 *cough* *cough*
  • 10 0
 "Mister!" he said with a sawdusty sneeze,
"I am the Lorax, I speak for the trees."
  • 6 0
 Some nature advocacy groups argue that building mountainbike riding spots destroys the landscape. Seeing these pics, I get their point. Don't use a K10000 to build your trails!
  • 4 0
 As someone in North America, the most amazing part about this is that he actually got permission to do it at an ACTIVE mine. Mines around here are so media shy and have such high safety standards I can't imagine this ever being possible.
  • 7 1
 Ebikes are perfect for those with black lungs - disabled and still rolling. Nothing beats clean coal…
  • 6 0
 3 minutes and 10 seconds into the video, there's some actual riding.
  • 2 0
 I was riding in the Ore Mountains last week, just north of this massive hole in the earth. You can see how dirty the air is from above. There's always a strip of smog stretching the horizon and reaching up to the 700 to 800 m peaks of Ceske Stredorhori. Sadly that's normal. However last week even the top layer of fresh snow was a shade of grey in the slopes facing the mine. That was about 11 km away and almost 900 meters above the mine's lowest point.
  • 3 0
 Cool video. Just a wee note: not all coal is for creating electricity. Metallurgical coal (Coking coal) is required when making any steal based product...bikes, wind turbines, electric cars, etc.
  • 2 0
 This brown coal or lignite is used for burning only.
  • 11 8
 Unfortunately all I can see is the mass destruction of the earth when I look at that. Sad... I'm sure it was a fun to ride tho.
  • 18 3
 Coal, E bike and Mercedes car sponser, just need the riders to be packing a 20 pack of Malboro for the puff breaks
  • 4 0
 Cru Jones this in the logging yard and didn’t even get permission first.
  • 4 0
 we call this part of the Ore Mountains "Mordor", terrible place
  • 1 0
 Un grande video interpretato da un grande biker.
Richerd è un grande sportivo ma anche un grande uomo e un grande amico.
Saluti
Giuseppe
  • 3 0
 This brings a new meaning to rolling coal =EMTB…
  • 1 0
 This is way better than going to Iceland to ride down scree hills, maybe the future of coal mines is beeing transformed to bike parks :-) That would be fun.
  • 1 0
 I would like this, too! But they will change into lakes. Which is not bad, either.
  • 2 2
 Coal powers the world let get real. Yes we can reduce growth of its use and replace with renewables but please aware the cost of your bike doubling is not an anomaly.
  • 2 0
 So now we need E-MTB to ride downhill???
  • 3 3
 Beautiful piece! Consuming more energy (such as in battery powered bikes) is clearly not the answer.
  • 3 1
 amazing photos!!
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