Allaaaaaahu akbar. Dawn in Marrakech and the muezzins are casting their incantations across the rooftops. Before the next group rolls in there's time for some pics of a 10-day ride I laid on for Morocco first timers. They flew in and hired bikes. I rode down beforehand to give my modified BMW XCountry a workout. I went off the X bike during the summer - horrid gear change, lumpy engine at times. Heavy handling. But a new set of Mitas 07s and an effortless 750-km-day across Spain cured that and now the Xcountry continues to grow on me and runs like a train. Slight shame that it pre-sold already but plenty more potentially great travel bikes need investigating. Crossing from Algeciras to Tangier-Med is almost as easy as UK to France now. Hour and a bit - €90 euro open return. That's Gibraltar in the back. A few years ago the Brit govt asked the 12,567 residents if they wanted The Rock handed back to Spain. About 12 345 replied 'Never. God Save the Queen!'. The other 222 were busy trolling the web. We pick up the bikes in Marrakech, faff about a bit then head into the High Atlas. A hearty lunchtime tagine (stew) and our first flat. Out with the Buzzettis and the CyclePump. Shadows lengthen as we climb towards the 6870-foot Tizi n Test pass. We meet plucky Americans Jason and Maria pedalling from Adagir to Tangiers. The chilly freewheel off the Test drove them into our hotel. Another XR with another puncture - and still flat next morning. Out of tubes already, Jason lends us a thin stick-on bike patch. It seems to work. Up towards the pass. Passing mountain villages. Then down the south side into a warmer, more arid climate. Just right this time of year. In the first town I buy a roll of chunky cut-your-own patches and glue. Not seen this before. Just as well as at the hotel the stick-on bike patch has failed. Even on the road the flexing of tyre against tube scrunched the patch up. Proof how tubes move against a tyre even on the road and on a light bike - and why tubed tyres get warm. Workable wifi - Halleluliyay! Next day we head into the Anti Atlas on our first piste (track). (pic from last year) Then steeply down the cliff track... … into Aguinan canyon oasis… … and the cozy auberge (lodge). The dusted up XCo 'support vehicle' is finally looking the part. The Hyperpro shock and front springs - custom set-up by Bas in NL - were in their element. No need for a DRZ fork as planned. Will save them for another project. Day off next day but the gang all are gagging for more riding, not chilling out. I go and recce some routes with Dave. There's been heavy rain here recently and some tracks may have got rearranged. That, as we were about to find out, was an understatement.