Bike Check: Nico Valsesia and the Hobootleg Geo

Bike Check: Nico Valsesia and the Hobootleg Geo

After conquering numerous From 0 to … records, after finishing the Race Across America several times, one of the most challenging long-distance ultra cycling races in the world, after taking dozens and dozens of cycling friends around the world.

Nico has decided to settle down and make that part of Morocco behind the Atlas mountains his home, with his project From 0 to Atlas.


Before the release of his documentary on his latest expedition Marrakech - Dakar (that will be replicated next year starting 1st of january 2025) we wanted to have a chat with him to hear more about the crossing and how he found himself with the Hobootleg geo.





How many kms have you clocked on your Hobo Geo so far including the 2700 of the Marrakech - Dakar?

I don't really like being precise about mileage, also because I often go out on my bike without any tools, to enjoy the journey, training and friends as much as possible, without getting distracted and being a slave to technology, in any case I will have done 8/ 10,000km.


How many kms have you clocked on your Hobo Geo so far including the 2700 of the Marrakech - Dakar?


During the incredible Marrakech Dakar I can say that I crossed every type of terrain, earth, sand, rock, scree, cultivated fields, asphalt, and even iron! Inside the freight car of the iron train in Mauritania, consequently in a journey of almost a month apart from the snow, all conditions, heat, cold, wind, and a lot of tranquility.

Could you explain how the set-up of your bike was tuned to suit these conditions? Did you have to make any changes to the set-up during the ride? Could you point out for us the most special details of your set-up and of the set-ups of the friends you rode with?


I wanted to keep the bike as similar as possible to the original version, to test, but above all to demonstrate that for traveling it is not necessary to make too many high-level upgrades, all you need is a very robust frame, equally robust fork, reliable wheels, the rest that it is functional...naturally I set it up complete with bags, with the only addition of the rear rack where I applied the large side bags to carry many of the spare parts and the tools to assist the group... my friends' bike , apart from the panniers, they were exactly identical.

What was the biggest challenge of the Marrakech – Dakar? What was the hardest moment physically? What was the hardest moment emotionally?

I didn't face the Marrakech Dakar as a challenge, but as an opportunity, I didn't fight against it, but appreciated and respected it, hoping that it would welcome me and allow me to get to my destination enjoying every single meter of an adventure that was perhaps unique in my life, the stress is above all given by the responsibility I had towards those who cycled with me... the most difficult emotional moment... the accident in a taxi during a transfer.... fortunately without any consequences.





When was the moment you were most happy you were riding the Hobo Geo and not another kind of bike?

Happy to use the HoboGeo?? perhaps it would be more correct to ask me what were the most "unhappy" moments of not being able to use the HoboGeo a few times, before and after the Marrakech Dakar... jokes aside, it's truly a pleasure to ride the HoboGeo, I think it's the most comfortable bike I have ever used in my life, you can enjoy the ride 100% without distractions. I repeat, the travel bike par excellence!!


How would you describe the geometry and ride quality of the Hobo Geo? In what terrain is it happiest?

Certainly the HoboGeo is more at ease on very uneven terrain, but the truly comfortable geometry due to the elongated position and very open angles makes it a sofa even on long asphalt rides.


If you could recommend a change to the bike what would it be?

Modifications.... for a trip like that of the Marrakech Dakar it could be fine as it comes as standard, I would like Cinelli to prepare a luggage rack suitable for the frame which is not easy to find, perhaps a small modification to the fixing points of the luggage rack, it would be fantastic have a dedicated and tailor-made bag kit for this fantastic bike, which if offered in more high-performance configurations could become an excellent long-distance racing bike.


What do you like most about this bike and why would you recommend it to a friend looking to go on a bikepacking adventure?

I mainly like the unbeatable comfort of the HoboGeo, I repeat the most comfortable bike I have ever used, and the absolute reliability of the frame, so I would recommend it with my eyes closed to anyone who wants to travel and wherever they want to do it.


What was the most beautiful thing you saw on your ride?

The most beautiful thing I saw during the Marrakech Dakar... without a doubt the thousand faces of the children met from the first to the last day.…


What was the most unexpected thing you saw or that happened to you on your trip?


The most unexpected thing I would say was the iron train, I had seen it, having seen some videos, I had imagined it, but in person it really struck me, a crazy and surreal experience, I didn't believe something like that could exist.…


Did you buy any souvenirs on the adventure?

In addition to the souvenirs that I carry in my heart and in my mind, I like to collect strange objects along the road, such as car license plates, signs, strange objects... this time 3 license plates, a dromedary femur... and dozens of shells of the Atlantic Ocean.


What was the best meal you ate on the adventure?

The best meals were those in the houses of the Berbers and the huts of the Saharans who hosted us along our adventure, I don't remember so much the food, which was excellent anyway, but the hospitality, the kind gestures and the availability of these communities.

What the best beverage you drank on the adventure?

The best drink... definitely the happy cola and another type of local cola.... honestly they were horrible, but in the kiosks inside the huts where they were fresh they were sent from heaven…

If this story made you want to explore Morocco instead of sitting in the office (any references to real people who are writing this article are purely coincidental), you can contact Nico through his website, and go exploring with guided and personalized itineraries based on your skills.