7 things we have learned from the desert
Go all the way.
Adventures are addictive: the magic of discovering new places, seeing new faces, getting to know new people and creating long-lasting bonds together. Adventures are all about creating new memories and going somewhere far, far away, just to find yourself. These experiences are priceless and last a lifetime. The most memorable adventures always come hand-in-hand with a tough decision. Listen to yourself. Face your passion, and you will never regret it.
You never ride alone.
You always have yourself, your thoughts, memories, and feelings… it is all there with you. Even if we travel with others, riding your bike by yourself is your personal experience, unique and untransferable. We experience each moment differently, taking different memories back home with us. Even though you might be in the desert, surrounded by nothing else than heat and sand, you’re never alone. You are still there.
Respect the nature.
Nature, the climate, and the surroundings in the desert are extreme. To name an example: before going into the fesh-fesh (very, very fine sand) areas, it is better to wait until sundown. The physical effort it requires to fall and get up again every few meters, as usually happens in this kind of environment, is tough. Imagine what it is like in 40ºC to 50ºC degree temperatures during the day!
Also, you need to consider that at night the temperatures fall very fast, which is important when planning if you are camping. Sand storms are also not uncommon; they make visibility close to none, and often it is better to stop and wait somewhere that is covered and safe and continue once the conditions have improved. The scrub can also complicate your journey. The plants might look small and easy to drive through, but in many cases, there are tree trunks or branches underneath, which can cause you to lose your balance and fall.
Also, worth mentioning are the small dunes; some of them have the same inclination on each side, but others might be “cut,” which means the other side has a straight fall which also can result in a fall if you’re driving too fast through it.
You should never trust that the terrain is free from holes, stones, rocks, or animals crossing. It is always important to drive focused and with some room for maneuver, and never push your limits too much (that’s what the Dakar rally is for!)
Even big problems can always be solved.
Something that will most certainly happen on an adventure like this is that something on your bike will fall apart. Hundreds of kilometers on rocks and stones and falling over in the sand means the bikes will suffer and break down. But that is also a part of the journey and the experience.
We have so many stories where the locals have helped us continue the journey. Once in a small village in the Moroccan Atlas Mountains, one of the bikes suffered an electrical issue, and after talking with the villagers, a mechanic appeared. He was most likely not any older than 12 years… He took us to his “garage” (a small space packed with parts), and there he repaired the bike, and we could continue the journey without any further issues.
There they are able to repair or weld absolutely anything (once a bike chassis broke in half), and if they aren’t able to do it themselves, they’ll find someone to do it for you. However, the more modern your bike or car is, it is also more difficult to repair considering the number of microchips, sensors, and spare parts out there. So the more straightforward your vehicle, the better. And obviously, you need to be checking the bike frequently during the trip and clean out the air filters.
Don’t get over our fears. Ride with them.
Fear can paralyze you, but it can also keep you staying alert. In these kinds of trips where you are riding for many hours, it is essential not to lose your concentration and always be vigilant of the road or track, riding through villages, changes in weather conditions, and similar. But this doesn’t mean you can’t be enjoying yourself too. Even in places where it seems that there isn’t anyone, there is always someone ready to help you or just have a chat. The hospitality here is incredible, and even though they don’t have much, they will share everything with you. We have on various occasions found ourselves in situations with shepherds or nomad families who offer you tea and a bit of shade, which often is all you want or need.
The crew can get through everything. Together we’re stronger.
It is an unwritten rule among riders that when you travel in a group, each one has an eye out in the rearview mirror for the person who’s driving behind them. This kind of camaraderie is even stronger and more important when traveling through remote places, where any mistake can be more challenging to figure out than when you’re only a few miles away from home. Everyone has each other’s back because today it might be your friend who needs a helping hand, and tomorrow it might be you.
Don’t limit your challenges. Challenge your limits.
At the end of the day, you will see that the only limits you have are set by yourself. You are capable of so much more than you think. So go explore the world. Take risks. Don’t settle for the ordinary and Leave the Main Road!