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DavidEasum

Adventure Motorcycle Riding in the UAE

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Hi Moses,

 

I just got back from Dubai after a weekend participating in the Touratech Advanced Off-Road training course. It's a long story as to how that happened (I went there for other reasons) but it was a pleasant surprise to be able to take part.

 

I borrowed a friend's F800 GS to do it and unfortunately I left it a little worse for wear - cosmetically at least.  :( See the first three photos attached - I look like a rank novice :rolleyes: .

 

But the culmination of the training was going out into the sand dunes to put into practice all the tricks and tips learned over the two days. To my amazement, even on such a heavy bike, I was able to ride like a real Paris-Dakar wannabe! No falls, no scary moments, just huge rooster tails of sand, occasional air, and lots of "Yeeeeehaw!" in the helmet!

 

The last photos are not me, but they're a good indication of what the sand riding was all about. 

 

I'm looking forward to the next outing on the XR (still running like a champ) to practice some more! I was really wishing I had it with me on the trip. It would not have fared as well as the Beemer on the long stretches of paved roads at 70-80 mph that we did to get to the venue (with luggage and gear for 2 people), but once there, it would have been quite the star.

 

David

PS. hope I'm not violating any copyright by re-posting these photos...

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Good footage is also available on www.vimeo.com/113280934  (Sorry about the soundtrack...)

 

I don't see me in there, but I was definitely there! Not sure why it says Nov 14 - it was Nov 28 & 29...

 

The guy who was filming is a former F16 pilot from the Belgian air force, now flying A380s for Emirates.

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Wow, David!  When you get going, there's no stopping...Just months ago, you had never ridden on dirt.  Now you're keeping company with Dakar riders!  The F800 GS Beemer actually looks impressive under these conditions, your Honda XR650R would be a breeze after subjecting yourself to adventure-touring riding at the edge...What a great opportunity!   

 

Any tips to pass on?  What's the trick to keeping a beast like the BMW F800 GS upright and moving in sand dunes?

 

Moses

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Hi Moses,

 

No specific tips that you don't know already, but the one major difference to how I would have normally approached this type of riding is to stand up. Knees bent, elbows bent, pegs under your arches. To turn, push the bike under you (in the direction of the turn), counterbalance it with weight on the opposite peg, look where you want to go. Sometimes you squeeze the tank with your knees, other times you don't. Get off the throttle when you can, so that you have revs left for when you need to lighten the front end. Let the bike move under you and keep your arms relaxed. It's good if you have a strong back and abdomen! (which I don't!).

 

On the street, the more contact your body has with the bike, the better. Adventure riding is somewhat different.

 

The key to keeping the big bike moving in the sand is speed and revs! Also, you gotta be smooooooth.

 

D.

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Sounds like you're well up the learning curve, David!...The balance for a dirt bike on sand is to keep the momentum up and the front end lighter.  Slowing to the point of stall results in "burying" the bike, which is not good.  Keeping the cycle maneuverable and atop the sand is essential, the front wheel must remain light and not plow into the sand.  Like you share, the correct throttle setting and gear choice are important.

 

I'm curious if you were itching for a lighter machine or whether the BMW F800 GS felt nimble enough with its mass.  Was the weight a liability?  Or did it ultimately not make much difference if you kept the bike riding high on the sand?  Did taking off in sand present a problem with a bike of this weight?

 

What kind of protective gear did you wear for sand of this magnitude?  What riding apparel makes the best sense?

 

Your comments on back and core muscle strength are apt.  Did you catch the new group/section that I opened on fitness?  This is aimed at all of us who go off-roading, whether strapped into a 4x4 seat or winging it on a dirt motorcycle.  I started the section to encourage forum members to coax and inspire each other around getting into shape.  While motorcycling on the level you did at the UAE is a bona fide five-muscle group workout, it pays to be in condition before subjecting ourselves to this pounding.  The new section aims at helping us prevent injuries and performing at our best. 

 

Take a peek and jump into the discussion at:  http://forums.4wdmechanix.com/forum/73-health-and-fitness-for-four-wheelers-and-powersports-enthusiasts/.

 

Moses

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