East Coast to the West Coast with Jubail Rides and BMW OWNERS Group
BY CLAUDIA TERRA
PHOTOS AND VÍDEO: ALI ALMUTAWA AND KHALID AHMED
Seven riders with different technical levels and different styles of motorcycles set off on a 9-day adventure through the region of Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia has large numbers of motorcyclists including HOG members and other motorcycle groups (see article here).
There were 5000 km of hot deserts and cool mountains, starting from Jubail, passing through the cities of Dammam, Riyadh, Thaief, Al bahah, Abha, Jazan, as well as many villages in the area. Ali Almutawa: “We are 7 riders from Saudi Arabia, Khalid Ahmad, Talal Alzahrani Jubail 966, Easa Alhussain, Hussain Alahmad, all of us are members of the virtual moto group Rides Jubail, in addition to Al-lahaidah also Jubail Rides and director of the BMW Owners Group of the province eastern Saudi Arabia and Ayman Alshamrani also a member of the BMW Owners Group eastern province of Saudi Arabia. We are motorcyclists with various technical levels, mainly new riders. Aymen rode for only 6 months, Hussain walked for 9 months, Easa is a motorcyclist 2 years ago, this was his second trip to southern Saudi Arabia. Abdullah and Talal have been going a few years and I’ve been going since 2000.
We started the trip on the Ramadan holiday, a festival with family and friends in Saudi Arabia. I used my KTM 1290 Super Adventure T from 2015, Abdullah went with his BMW K1600 GT, Khalid with the Suzuki Boulevard 1500cc from 2016, Talal used the Hayabusa Suzuki GSX-R 1300cc, Ayman with the BMW GS 1200, Easa with the Kawasaki 1000 Versus and Hussain with the Cross Country of Victoria Motorclycle. It was a good mix of motorbikes and a support vehicle, which made the trip a lot more fun. The motorcycle brotherhood transcends any kind of motorcycle, “Ali explains.
The adventure began on June 5, departing from Jubail following to Riyadh, Thaief, Al bahah, Abha, Jazan. The return of the trip went through the same starting route. During the trip they also rolled during the night for 1500 km, with the temperature varying from 25 to 12 degrees and during the day the temperature can reach up to 50c. An adventure with moments of rain and others with beautiful nights, with overnight stays in hotels and camps. They went through rain with hail and even floods on some stretches and road, formed by the excess water of the rains of the mountains that surprised the adventurers.
The landscapes, although predominantly deserts in the country, were different, with green nature and mountains in some cities of the route: “Altaief is 2000 meters above sea level. Al bahah is about 2500 m above sea level, it is cooler then followed we have Altaief. It rained daily. The mountains were covered with vegetation, which is very different from the deserts of the east and the middle of Saudi Arabia. Abha is about 2800 m above sea level, it was the coolest area. Many national parks and many winding roads. In the last 3 years the number of motorcyclists in this area is increasing. The region is visited by motorcyclists from all over the Middle East. The most beautiful part of the trip was on the road between Al Bahah and Abha, “says Ali.
These bikers were very well received in all the cities they went through, the union and affection of the other bikers were always a special joy during the trip: “The truth is, everywhere we went we were welcomed by the locals. The Saudis are a very hospitable and generous nation. During the trip and in all cities, we visited several groups of motorcyclists who invited us and welcomed us, and even individual riders helped us a lot. We did not accept many of the invitations because we had a schedule for the trip. In Altaief, we accepted the invitation for breakfast of our colleague Mr. Abdulrahman Alsharif. In Al Bahah, we accept the lunch invitation from our fellow motorcyclists, Soughour Al Bahah (Al Bahah Howks).
In Abha we accepted the invitation for dinner with our traveling companions with the Aseer United MC group. We felt that we were among brothers with all of them. Abha is about 2800 m above sea level, it was the coolest area. Many national parks and many winding roads. We went to a waterfall, went to a water dam, visited historic villages and ruins. It was a really cool ride, “Ali explains.
Ali Almutawa has been traveling extensively since 2000 for his country and has made several trips to the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Katar, Oman and Jordan. He created the Jubail Rides group in 2017 and currently has 153 members who are always meeting, running and organizing great journeys. Ali is a motorcyclist and engineer, has his own company in Jubail industrial city, a small and beautiful city, planned, founded in 1975, located 400 km west of Riyadh, the capital of the countries 300 km south of Kuwait.
Ali and his friend Abdullah Al-lahaidah had the idea of making this 10-day trip to discover the beauties of the country. It adds approximately 200,000 km on trips made. His big dream is that all drivers on the road respect motorcyclists and take care of each other: “I dream of the day when all riders treat each other like brothers and sisters regardless of brand or type of motorcycle, regardless of color, sex, ethnicity or nationality, “says Ali. He says he wanted to be a motorcyclist since he was 16, but a boy, his neighbor suffered an accident with a tricycle and his mother made him promise that he would never ride a bike, much later in 2000 he managed to become a motorcyclist, a dream come true and always lived. Other dreams you want to accomplish are traveling the world on your bike and making new friends around the world, even want to visit Brazil soon.
Kubid Ahmed, Jubail’s cartoonist and motorcyclist, talks about his experience in this journey through Arabia: “The adventure in Arabia has had passages for natural beauties and some constructions, like the passage through the tunnel with blue lights that gives a very cool look. There were 24 tunnels on the route, museums, historic villages and many welcoming and friendly people along the way. The road from Taif to Al Bahah we passed through some tunnels and the best roads on this trip. We passed a tunnel with blue LEDs that created beautiful effects. This was a bit mesmerizing and I had to remind myself, more than once, to focus on the road! I also enjoyed visiting a museum in Tamniah, where I saw some antiques, including some of the first motorcycles imported into the country.
The other highlight of the trip is through the mountains of Al Bahah, heading for a historic village called “Thee Ain”. Road with 35/40 km of curves and at an altitude of 2300m to the plains of Tihamah. Descending, you can feel the temperature increase every km. There was rain and fog as we approached the top. Al Bahah had the best scenery, weather and roads. Maybe because she’s less populous. One more thing about Al Bahah and that pleasantly surprised me was that it rained for three days in a row, about the same time every day, around 13 o’clock. The only thing that was uniform along the way was the kindness and generosity of the people we met who insisted on many occasions to invite us into their homes. Especially in rural towns, in the middle of the desert, like Albijadyah and Afif.
I did some tours to the central and eastern regions of the country. The southern region (Al bahah and Abha) is unique in climate, relief and culture. The Hijaz mountain range crosses the region, deserts near the east and the red sea to the west. We have all had the pleasure of meeting many people along the way. We also met local bikers in Al Bahah and Abha. And as always, we connect instantly like old friends.
My connection to motorcycling was love at first sight. You can see this in the eyes of every child when they see a motorcycle for the first time. The first meeting was when I was six years old. My uncle used to travel daily on a 125cc Yamaha from 1970. I knew then what my body and soul were missing. I needed a motorcycle! My current bike is a Suzuki Boulevard C90T BOSS, 1500cc, from 2016. My biggest dream, besides understanding my own complexities, is to keep learning new things about people and the world, traveling by motorcycle for as long as possible.
I know Brazil is one of the best places to travel by motorcycle in the world. I read and saw on video about fantastic tours to places like Rio de Janeiro, the magnificent Iguaçu Falls and the Rastro River Range. I also enjoyed watching some videos about motorcycle conventions in Brazil and some bikers events in the country. Brazil is at the top of my list of destinations to visit and travel, concludes Khalid Ahmed.
Saudi Arabia is a fascinating option for those who want adventure through deserts and green mountains and different cultures in each region. Spring and fall are the best seasons to travel by motorcycle across the country. The route of this journey through the country is a great region to meet on board a motorcycle. It is a region that has received a large number of motorcyclists from all over the Middle East and possibly from other continents.
And here in Brazil we are ready to receive motorcyclists from all continents with our joy. All are welcome. We are all one by adventure and freedom on two wheels. Peace and love always!
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*Cláudia Terra is a journalist, rider and lover of the Harley-Davidson universe. Follow her on the blog.