Riding Mopeds from Paris to Dakar
A motorcycle trip in Africa is always demanding, but on a moped like the Piaggio Ciao, it turns into an enormous challenge. That’s especially true when your journey takes you from Paris to Dakar in Senegal, covering almost 2,900 miles over 23 days in the summer.
When preparing for my interview with Mirco Targon, 48, and his wife Alice, 39—who rode two Piaggio Ciaos from Paris to Dakar in August 2022—I expected to meet two ascetics with a fakir-like appearance, physically marked by their adventures. Instead, I face a perfectly “normal” Italian couple in their prime. These two are just bursting with energy, health, and positive charisma.
I'm puzzled and can’t withhold my curiosity. "What motivates grown-up, healthy people like you to expose yourselves to such torture?” I ask. “Boredom? Exhaustion with civilization? Or is it just for the thrill?"
Quite untypical for Italian adventurers, Mirco explains with great composure: "We have been driven for a long time by a strong need to live out our passions together and do what we love most—traveling on motorcycles, discovering new things, meeting people, and ‘getting involved.’
“We were aware that the trip to Dakar on mopeds would be a very difficult journey, but we were open to accept anything that fate had in store for us. Facing the good and the difficult sides of life with a positive attitude is what pushes us on."
Alright, many others feel the same way. But most other people ride bikes with more than 50cc.