Oman has a terrain so exquisite and so diverse that it can be well explored in whatever manner one desires to. Exploring the hidden off-road trails has always allured adventurers. Be it trekking or off-road drive, people in the Sultanate are venturing towards the untapped path and are tracking these courses to create a list to share with others.
In recent years, as we move ahead with trekking and off-road drives, the MTBs (mountain bikes) has taken its portion of the interest unleashing the adrenaline hunger among Oman’s residents.
Inspired by mega-events like the Tour of Oman, the fervent mountain bikers of different adventure groups like Adventure Oman and Muscat Mountain Biking paddle distances covering not less than 10 km at a given time of the day.
As adults ride with the appetite for adventure, youngsters under-11 too, are aware of the exciting ride through not so smooth topography. To get a hook of it, children are offered sessions conducted by adventure groups like Twenty3Extreme, providing the core strategies to remain balanced.
Mountain bikes, or MTBs as we call them, gives bicycle lovers a chance to withstand the tough terrain of the land and zoom through some most unaccomplished off-tracks. It is a passion well nurtured and a skill that is honed over a period of time.
It is different and a fun way to discover the land. Riding MTBs allow you to screech, rush, jump and bump through the rocky rugged paths.
Riding along the gradients, bending the bends and bumping over the rocks, the mountain bikers enjoy every second of their ride with their eyes on the path, the breeze whispering by and the beauty around them.
“With an average high temperature during most months of the year, walks and treks become difficult at times. The best thing about cycling is that it allows a mild breeze to sooth every drop of your sweat as you ride. The beauty of the terrain is a bonus to us,” says Saurabh Singh, Adventure Oman member, and mountain biker.
The sport of riding the bicycle off-road is packed with challenges that adventurers seek — be it the downhill descents, the ascents, free-ride, and even dirt jumping, Oman countryside unlocks every possible skillset Oman riders have.
From beginner to difficult levels, bikers grab them all. Here in this land, groups perusing such activities adore what nature offers them and exploits every possible MTB opportunities that come across them.
“Oman has abundant opportunities for adventure sport like cycling, rock climbing, diving to name a few. Nature is molded in a way to woo adventure lovers. When it comes to mountain biking, there are several such untouched trails which are awesome to venture. Though these bikers are few, yet, it is currently a growing trend, as most adventurous people is seen investing in modern and highly optimized MTB models,” shared Arun D’Souza, the team leader of Adventure Oman and a skilled MTB racer.
he added, “Yes, definitely, the tracks marked by the Tour of Oman provide ample opportunities for the mountain bikers and have raised awareness in this similar field. Known tracks are easier to follow and one is in a lesser risk of getting lost or abandoned. We conduct weekly programs for those interested in such events and numbers are gradually growing.”
As beginners need to follow the basic black-top or the tarred path, difficulty level needs to have an adept supervision and expertise to handle the right gear at the right time.
Here in comes the choice of the bike one is riding on and the number of months and perhaps years the biker has been trained through.
‘Go slow’ — is the word of caution initially, along with the defined path before venturing to what awaits one in the wild.
“It takes almost fifteen to twenty basic rides before one gets a good hold of his/her bikes and thereafter taking it forward. Safety comes first and never too late before checking out on the requirements,” said biking enthusiast Saurabh Singh.
He added, “A helmet, proper shoes, comfortable clothing, padded cycling shorts, gloves and the must-have is the 3 litres of water and a medicine kit is must for any adventure.”
Be it the cross-country ride, the trailed tracks or the undiscovered courses, paddling has never been so much fun with nature laying the perfect topography for the cycle. Are you ready to give your ride a new dimension the MTB way?
Where to ride in the city?
There are endless locales where bikers can enjoy their free-ride. Here are a few.
Bandar Al Khairan
Pick your bike:
Enduro bikes – It is perfect for terrains that are rugged and steep. They are full suspension trail bikes apt for gradients of the mountain topography. It is best suited for Oman topography.
Trail Bikes - The most commonly used among the bikers. It meets the all basic needs of the gradients. With relaxed angles and aggressive tires, these bikes are perfect for those who are not so experienced cyclist in the city.
Cross-country bikes- A competitors’ choice, these are the lightest bikes of all and performs a great climb but not a great descent though.
Fat bikes- Best suited for sandy landscape, it is popular for off-the-beaten tracks.
Downhill Bikes- With optimised traction, support and shock absorption, these large and tough bikes are great for steep descents and high jumps.