Sunday, December 2, 2012

Mountain-biking in Saudi


Life on a compound can get a little tedious. Each weekend, we wonder, Do we play badminton or go swimming? Do we go to the beach or play tennis? Unless you are really into mall shopping in Jeddah - no, thank you - or searching for carpets and antiques in the souks, life can get rather dull at times. This last weekend, however, we participated in a mountain bike trip to Wadi Haqqaq, which was radically different than our usual relaxing weekend. We left in the early morning darkness, driving with about twelve others to a site where we could begin cycling. Because we have had a bit of rain lately - just a bit - there was actually a thin carpet of green grass stretching under the thorn trees, whose 1-2 inch thorns we carefully. We biked through deep sand that made the bikes come to a standstill, we rode up and down rocky hills, and we arrived at Wadi Haqqaq where the pools of water drew several of the group in for a cooling off - until we felt little nibbles on our toes. It was a nature extravaganza.

Hayden and Logan each biked about twenty hard miles. Because the weather is slightly cooler now and the extreme humidity of the summer has somewhat dissipated, we drank more normal quantities of water and snacked on delicious dates. The group was a diverse mix of nationalities, but most people were far stronger mountain bikers than myself. Nonetheless, the leaders kept us all together, and the follow-car was available with extra water, tools, snacks, and seats for anyone too tired to continue. We all made it the entire way to Mushroom Rock and back, with a slight detour to the swimming hole at the Wadi.

Incredibly, the area was remarkably clean. Often when people go into the desert for driving or camping, they return with stories of trash strewn everywhere. We generally found little trash, except around water pumping areas and wells.

The trip was definitely another highlight for our lives in the desert, and we hope to go on more such mountain biking excursions. Thanks for reading! Jennifer


  1. Hi Jennifer!

    I just found out that I was the successful applicant for a job in Riyadh. I'm moving from British Columbia, Canada. While I'm extremely excited about my new job and the move, I'm oh so sad that I'll be leaving the epic mountain bike trails in BC. I'm curious to know if you went riding with a mountain bike touring company for this trip or just friends that bike regularly. I'm, in a sense, desperate to discover opportunities for biking while there. Maybe taking my bike with me would be a good idea...I'd like to find out. Any information that you would be able to give me would be an amazing help.
    Thanks so much!
    In Joy,

  2. Definitely bring your bike(s). You will find groups of people who want to do what you like. Bring back up tires and tubes, as it's virtually impossible to get them here, and any tools you use/like. We biked with friends who go regularly. You will probably find such a group in Riyadh as well. Good luck.

  3. Dear Mis and Mr Evans,

    I am Mohammed Faydi From the KAUST school (if you remember me).

    We are missing you all for sure. Hope you enjoying your new life.

    Best Regards