Off-roading in the UAE

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Vicks, Sep 28, 2009.

  1. Vicks

    Vicks gets stuck in sand

    Joined:
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    its been a long time since i did a proper multi day ride, the last one being an year ago !!! so here goes....

    its been kinda "in the schedule" every year, for me to ride/drive down to Dubai/Abudhabi, meet a few friends, catch up on some old times and then do some exploring around the UAE.

    Last time, we (me n SWMBO) went riding to UAE on a predominantly tarmac ride - Link

    This year, i was riding alone, and planned to do some off-roading in the wadis (dry river beds) of UAE and some mountain roads (which would provide respite from the 45+ DegC heat of the arabian deserts.

    The ride from Saudi to Dubai/Abudhabi is pretty un-eventfull and boring 900kms (except if you get stuck in a sand storm - like i did on my way back:lol3 ) so no pics of that stretch. we'll jump to the start of the off road section.

    This is at the start of the first off-road section at a town called Ghail
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    The place looks like a ghost town with no people in sight, but the reality is that they are all huddled indoors to escape the in-human heat of the summer with only an occasional SUV or two passing by, with the drivers enthusiastically waving/honking at you (cos you are crazy enough to be riding there):evil

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    A few hundred meters later i came across this small dam built to retain water. The direct route is impeded by the dam wall, and the bypass has been fenced off with barbed wire (which i obviously don't want to remove)

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    The terrain is extremely rocky and pretty technical at places where there are river beds of gravel & the rocks get slippery due to algae growth.

    But this place is a canyon and some trees provide for much needed shade, so i stop for a while and take some rest.

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    at this moment i also notice on the GPS that i'm off-track, so i need to get back to the last fork in the road and find out the right track. Getting lost in 45+ DegC heat, with 1/2 liter of water is not advisable :deal .
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    #1
  2. Vicks

    Vicks gets stuck in sand

    Joined:
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    time to go get stocked up on some water and fruit juice cans...
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    just before this stop, i dropped the bike while standing, on a downhill and it took me the better part of 10mins to get her back up, while petrol kept pouring outo f the tanks !!! bathed in sweat, i had to wait for another 30mins to allow all the petrol to vaporise safely before attempting to start the bike.

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    #2
  3. abat

    abat Been here awhile

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    Respect!
    #3
  4. GB

    GB . Administrator Super Moderator Super Supporter

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    More please!! Just keep adding to this thread when riding around the UAE. :thumb
    #4
  5. Bongolia

    Bongolia stop acting

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    mabrook Vikram. Looking forward to the rest.
    #5
  6. Bok Befok

    Bok Befok Been here awhile

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    :lurk
    #6
  7. Vicks

    Vicks gets stuck in sand

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    thanks for the comments guys.

    next destination was a place called Masafi (famous for fresh water springs) where i reached via fabulous twisty mountain roads (sorry no pics .. too busy riding to be taking pics)

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    the town of masafi
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    stopped at a roadside restaurant for a burger n a cup of tea
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    the plan from here, was to ride to the top of one of the hills, take one of the off road tracks and camp out for the night.
    #7
  8. Vicks

    Vicks gets stuck in sand

    Joined:
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    by the time i found my choice of flat ground fit (not rocky enough) to camp, it was sun down, a light breeze blew, and the view was much softer on the eyes than in the morning/noon.

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    now, you'll have to bear with my pics in admiration of "Big Blue"... she ahs taken me places, excited me like no other bike (i do accept that i have not ridden many capable bikes, but still...) and generally made me grin like a fool while i join a twisty tarmac section blasting off from an off-road track :wink:

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    as you can see, the camping spot was a clearing on the mountain side, giving a fabulous view of the sunset and to the valley beneath

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    the valley beyond...
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    sunset approaches
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    riding to UAE thru desert roads = boring
    visa expenses = 100$
    gas expenses = <100$
    camping out on a mountain side = free
    "that" moment with your bike at sunset = priceless !!!

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    #8
  9. StaticMotion

    StaticMotion Adventurer

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    :lurk
    #9
  10. trackhead

    trackhead Utard Wankster

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    Looks somewhat like Phoenix, Arizona.
    #10
  11. Bowes

    Bowes Oman Dirty Biker

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    Very nice Mr Vicks:thumb
    #11
  12. Vicks

    Vicks gets stuck in sand

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    Yeah, i've heard from quite a few guys that the landscape over here in the middle-east resembles the western US ..... wonder if there's any connection :evil

    so that night, we (me n Big blue) camped out on the mountain side, and i tried out my home made Tarp pole setup for the first time and it was a success. Camping was pretty basic with just a tarp on the ground, a sleeping bag to save my skin against the rocky ground (i slept on the bag, not in it), a mosquito net for obvious reasons (better than dousing yourself in chemicals IMO) and the riding pants folded over for a pillow.
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    as i had lost one of the poles soemwhere in one of the off-road sections, Big Blue served as one
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    this was the view out of my camp
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    The night was quite interesting, with a few damned mosquitoes getting inside the net somehow, which resulted in some enthusiastic clapping by me (to kill them of course) and some wild rats either fighting for food, territory or humping rights around my camp. I made sure i left no food stuff around to attract them buggers.

    Morning arrived with the howling of a fox followed by the braying of a couple of wild asses (no, not wild ARSES, i said wild asses.. donkeys...)

    theres a fox somewhere in this pic:D
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    and a couple of wild asses
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    OK, now you can really call them a couple of arses LoL
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    my camp setup in daylight
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    #12
  13. Vicks

    Vicks gets stuck in sand

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    After a refreshing early morning dump in the nearby wilderness with a cool breeze blowing :lol3 , it was time to set out for the next dosage of mountian roads and off-road tracks.

    From Masafi, i headed towards a small time town called Siji, via some very nice mountain roads. It should be noted that the scorps, however shitty they perform in the sand (due to no fault of theirs .. proor tyres), are fantastic for blasting down twisty mountain roads and then get into hardpack dirt roads, at almost the same speeds, the superbly built bike taking care of all the undulations :clap

    stopped at a store to stock up on some cool water and juice cans (water & sugar, water & sugar...
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    the arid mountains
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    scanty shade in there parts
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    store in the background
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    #13
  14. Vicks

    Vicks gets stuck in sand

    Joined:
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    so, we come to the last off-road leg of this small ride ...

    this was a bit more open, two track deal, letting me get into an occasional 4th gear, probably doing 80-100kmph at times... quite fun going over the whoops n stuff like that ... its at times like these you really appreciate the build quality of the Big KTM's ... its like a luxury dirtbike :lol3 but then you also gotta respect her girth & mass, or she'll just spit you out in an instant and you'll be left wondering what hit you :huh

    nice wide open tracks...
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    at the end of this track, the tarmac started abruptly and that too in a twisty mountain road, again leaving me amazed at the capability of the scorpions to handle the hardpoack while being a blast on the twisties. I literally hurtled down from the dirt track in a dust trail, onto the tarmac at 70-80kmph, leaving some SUV drivers on the road gawking at the sight :D

    so after finishing off the mountain roads, i headed towards Dubai, spent the night there and the next day headedd for a visit to the KTM Dubai dealership to chat up with the guys, have a look around and order some stuff for Big Blue.

    They had some interesting stuff over at their dealership

    an LC8 950Adv based ATV used in the Mogolian Rally
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    the awssome KTM X-Bow
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    then it was back riding the 900odd kms to saudi thru a desert highway, only interesting thing being me getting caught in a sand strom. I stopped at a gas station for a while, then carried on guessing that it would prbably take a day or two for the storm to blow itself away. The result being a slightly sand blasted for leg, front wheel axle, foot peg and front mudgaurd. Nothing major, but i'll consider it as "characteristic marks"

    Next, get ready for a ride to Syria & Jordan in Nov'09. :clap
    #14
  15. mtrcycllvr

    mtrcycllvr Nerdly pseudo adventurer.

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    super cool... Or hot? :D
    #15
  16. schattat

    schattat Long timer

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    Nice report! :thumb
    #16
  17. NewHampWoodsRider

    NewHampWoodsRider Tag Captor

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    Good report!

    Looks very hot!

    The X-Bow is badass!
    #17
  18. Hambone950

    Hambone950 Mas Naranjas Por Favor!

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    As a former Dirt Donk and Dubai resident from 94 through to 98 I sure miss it when i see those photos. I also miss the guys i rode with like the Blackney brothers, Jacob Liden and the rest of the crowd.
    We used to keep our Rally bikes at Al Khaleej Rock Engineering in an air conditioned workshop in Sharjah. Hattar and all the rest of it as well as the "...Challenge".
    Good to see that it's not all paved over yet.
    Best routes for interest go North into Oman or across the mountains off road to North of Fujairah. Of course you have the miles of sand dunes and South into the empty quarter. The 660 was a great bike but my fave for day rides was the CR500 or my Husaberg 600 Desert once it was screwed together properly. My departed 950 would have been perfect too. Trust me, when you return home riding will never be the same even if you live in Nevada or Baja.
    I assume that you were referring to Floyd as the KTM dealer.
    Quite a character. He helped my out of my KTM 360 after we found that the crankshaft was made of chocolate and into the CR. For that I remain eternally grateful.
    #18
  19. Vicks

    Vicks gets stuck in sand

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    That'll be Floyd. The place is different now, with plans to build the worlds largest KTM showroom by 2010.
    #19