I woke up early on Friday and promised myself to have a good day.
I was out of bed by 04:55 and left home by 5:20 with my mountain bicycle loaded into the car and happiness and good anticipation in my heart. I was going to meet new people and ride into new terrain, one that my bike was actually meant for. It was going to be a different type of cycling in Bahrain.
You see, my two regulars with whom I’ve been riding over the last few weeks were not available, but I wasn’t going to let Friday pass without having my ride.
The rides have become quite precious to me. They present a time where I get a chance to momentarily disconnect and recharge in the outdoors and continue on my health journey too. Knowing how much I enjoy riding with a group, I was determined to find one that I can ride with this Friday. So I trawled Instagram and searched the various Bahrain Cycling hashtags in the hope of finding one. Those searches resulted in a couple of WhatsApp contact numbers which I duly messaged to find more information about them and whether they had a program for Friday I could join. One responded with a suggestion to check out TriLife. That led to another Instagram search which ultimately resulted in finding an announcement of their scheduled desert outing. Great! That would do, thanks very much.
I arrived at TriLife’s shop location in Zallaq at 6am. The ride was scheduled for 6.30am so I was quite a bit early. Their shop wasn’t open yet; however, a number of cycling enthusiasts were arriving at the location and setting up their gear. They were mostly road bikers, and serious ones at that too. Their heads were fully down to the task of setting up their bikes. It was nice to see people in industry.
At around 6.15 I noticed that someone was setting up bikes in front of the shop, and as I’ve already set my bike, I went over to that area to await the start of the mountain bikers’ trek. In the interim, I had a quick chance to look at the shop’s wares and noticed that apart from the good bike selection, they seemed to also have quite a lot of associated accessories. As I don’t have enough experience yet, I couldn’t judge the competitiveness of their pricing or the actual breadth of their product line. However, I think the shop is well worth a visit by any enthusiast. The feeling I had is that they offer competition to Skate Shack which is the incumbent on the island.
By 6.30, there was quite a nice group of around 15 gathered ready for the fun ahead. Most opted to rent bikes from TriLife, a service that was just introduced by them that very day.
After an obligatory group photo, we were led out by Corne Van Aswegen to the desert, passing the University of Bahrain then crossed the road to enter the area of the horse racing track and the beautiful small hills in the area. It was some of those that we were going to ride on. It was a nice prospect and far different from my usual rides which offer no elevation except for gentle gradients at the Bahrain Fort. It had rained the night before too, evidenced by several puddles in the area, as well as many muddy tracks along the route.
The real ride started with a good climb of the old go-cart incline in the area. That alone was worth the day as it brought some happy childhood memories when my dad took us to watch those funny races. I could tell you that climbing was a sight harder than I thought!
Assembling at the top, we started the trek in earnest, riding through puddles, rocks, muddy paths, inclines and descents. A lot of those tracks were somewhat challenging to attempt, basically because my foot kept sliding off the peddles. The smooth surface of my trainers against the smooth and wet surface of the open peddles made those already challenging ascents even more so. I had to resort to pushing my bike up on a couple of instances rather than riding it to the apexes. Others faired better, and a few worse.
The scenery along the path was quite nice. I haven’t been to that part of the desert before. I have certainly not been to the top of those hills ever, so the scenery was very new. One that was enjoyed by all.
The real enjoyment of course was for all to rediscover their childhood! Everyone was copiously covered in mud at the end of the ride, and happily so!
I look forward to join the rides in the future. I’m not sure whether they will continue in the summer, and doubt that they will in Ramadan, at least not ones in the daylight anyway, so I’ll treasure the remaining few rides before then and shall enjoy them as much as I can. I know I shall enjoy them more by sharing the experience with the many enthusiasts I had the pleasure of meeting and riding with on Friday.
To join the Bahrain MTB WhatsApp Group, call Trilife on +973-77333777 and ask for Corne and mention that I sent you.
Disclosure: I am not associated with TriLife or its personnel in any way and I receive no payments from them.