Desert Biking Club Of Kuwait

Founded in 1999

Saturday, June 04, 2016



What is it? An informal, mixed group who all enjoy recreational cycling – whenever possible away from the traffic and the town. The rides are not ‘guided tours’ but we do try to find points of interest along the way.

What do we do ?

We meet Friday mornings throughout the year and cycle as a group in many different areas of Kuwait. Rides are anything between 20 and 40 kms long depending on the terrain, and the group proceeds at the pace of the slowest rider. Members of the club take turns to plan and lead the rides. During the main season from October to June, we like to use desert tracks. Muttlah Ridge and the surroundings of Ahmadi and Sulaibiya are some of our favourite areas. We also ride on Failaka Island, in the Zour & Kiran areas and all along the coast, and we’ve enjoyed evening Iftar rides during Ramadan in Kuwait City. In the summer, rides are somewhat shorter and earlier in the morning, mostly in the shady suburbs. Some parts of the suburbs are surprisingly pleasant. (Scroll down to see photos)

We also have occasional social functions such as BBQs, parties, etc.. The group has been biking together since Feb 1999.

Who can join us ?

Anyone from teenage upwards is welcome to give it a try. If under the age of 18, we ask that you ride with us only under the personal responsibility of an adult rider. There is no application form, no membership fee and no committee. ‘Members’ are simply those who ride together regularly.

What do I need to join in ?

Mainly enthusiasm, some cycling experience and a bike suitable for off road riding. We strongly recommend wearing a well-fitting helmetGloves increase comfort and can prevent cuts if you do happen to come off. Colourful clothing makes you more visible to car drivers and to other riders when the group spreads out. You will also need a water bottle or two and a spare inner tube, and some basic bike tools will be useful.

Rides usually start around 06.00 to 08.00 and you need to allow several hours of your Friday morning, including travelling time, for each ride.

A degree of fitness helps since biking in the desert can be quite tough at times. We are not power bikers, but absolute beginners would not enjoy these rides.

Is it safe ?

All riding is entirely at your own risk. You are bound to fall off sometimes but we have had very few injuries over the years and nothing too serious. Common sense accident prevention and normal biking good practice are all we ask of you. Wearing a Cycle Helmet is the single best personal safety measure you can take. Drink plenty of water during the rides. Following the ride leader and not straying off the route or zooming out ahead of the group also enhances your safety. Bring a mobile phone and store numbers of other riders for use in the event of emergency. It is a club tradition that all riders are accounted for. If you are missing, we assume that you are lost, injured or have a problem with your bike. It is advisable to let the rest of the group know if you decide to separate from us so that we don’t have to organise a rescue mission.

Where is the next ride ?

We use email to inform members of the ride meeting place, start time and other useful information. Usually we put our bikes onto or into cars and drive to the ride start point. Getting to the start point is basically your own responsibility but regular riders can sometimes help. Just ask.


Email Information:

We use a Group Email System to send out ride notices and reports to regular members. This is a free, secure system to which you can only subscribe by invitation. Once you become a regular rider, we will arrange an invitation to be sent to you.

Contact Details:

If you are interested in joining the Desert Biking Club, please send an email to Anthony Burrows, telling us something about yourself, your cycling experience and what bike you have. anthonycburrows@gmail.com



Special Thanks to the dedicated members who made major contributions to the club and discovered biking routes in Kuwait's deserts:

Elena Resechova- started the club in 1999, led and ran it for 10 years.

Anthony Burrows: researched and organized many rides and currently to be contacted for any questions regarding membership or following rides.

John Lewington - aka Digital John - Godfather of the Club, discovered numerous bike routes and is in charge of our group e- system .

Ian Smith/ Roy Holder - started the Summer Season Suburban rides and were instrumental in the organization of the club.



Dima Najm -(PT)- former rider who made this blog in October 2006.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Rides photos:

Elena and riders @ 7th Ring Road Pedalling offroad @ Shuwaik's Shore
Breathtaking scenery of Mutla Ridge - North of Kuwait
Greek ruins on Failaka Island - Wreck on Bubiyan Island
Satellite Station in Abdally area - Riding down on Road #40
Bird Sanctuary East of Jahra - Ahmadi Green Circle

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

GPS/ Maps:

........................................................................................... Driving west on #80 from Shuwaik Campus through Jahra to Mutla area

Driving south on #40- Exit 212 to Ahmamdi area- Green Circle Plantation

Buying a Bike:


Choosing  your bike

The most suitable bikes for Club Rides are cross country mountain bikes with 26” to 29” wheels and fat (2” plus) tyres. Multiple gears, front suspension and disk brakes are now standard. The terrain here is fairly unchallenging apart from the sand and thorns, so a high spec bike is not essential. However, commuter bikes, shoppers, cruisers, hybrids, sports/ racing road bikes and cheap chain-store bikes are not suitable.

The many choices in design and specification can be bewildering so you may need to spend time researching in magazines or websites, looking in shops or seeking expert advice before you buy.  

New mountain (style) bikes can cost as little as $100 (KD30) but these are really only suitable for pottering around your neighbourhood or light recreational use. They usually have heavy frames and cheap components. You will soon find one of these hard work and uncomfortable, especially off road. It will also soon prove to be unreliable and difficult to repair.  Good quality bikes have lightweight frames made from high grade steel or, more usually, aluminium and, at the top end, carbon fibre, plus better quality components such as wheels, brakes and gears.

Make sure the frame is the right size for you, especially if you are quite tall. A small size may seem comfortable in the shop but will be uncomfortable and tiring for riding over any time or distance.

Most new mountain bikes have tyres unsuitable for Kuwait. Get some puncture resistant ones.

Bringing a bike from outside Kuwait means you can choose from a wider selection and it may be cheaper. Cargo shipping can be problematic with Customs. Better to bring as your luggage.


Buying a bike in Kuwait

Only a few good brands are available here, but there is usually something for most people’s requirements and budget. Do not expect much product knowledge, reliable advice or technical expertise in local shops.

Good quality entry-level mountain bikes currently cost around KD220.  Better ones are available but it may not be worth spending more than KD400 until you are sure that you’ll retain the enthusiasm or have a better idea of your requirements. Second hand bargains can sometimes be found but they are rare.

Shops

Extreme Sports Shuwaikh, Tilal Centre, behind City Centre on Jahra Rd No. 80.  Good selection of Trek bikes. Some spares and accessories in stock. Will import to order. Workshop area where they attempt most repairs. Tel. 2225 4567  

Extreme Sports Salmiyah, Hamad Al Mubarak St, next to Jothen Gallery and Red Tag (SANA). Smaller version of above. Helpful assistant, Tel. 2575 5898.
Extreme Sports Mangaf, Coast Road.  Similar to Salmiya shop. Tel 2371 9822

Vib Bikes Salmiya, Hamad Al Mubarak St, between Extreme Sports and Jothen Gallery.  Selection of Orbea and Cannondale bikes. A few spares. Workshop area.  Tel. Manuel 55219829 

Decathlon Marina Mall, Salmiya. Sports supermarket selling B’twin bikes. Some spares & clothes.

Bike and Toy Souk in Sharq; many toy shops; plus chain stores such as Ace Hardware and Sultan Centre have very cheap bikes. Rarely of a good enough quality for off road riding or  suitable for club rides. Usually a false economy.

Bike Parts and accessories
Helmets, lights, pumps, gloves, Camelbaks, car racks, tyres, inner tubes and Slime etc are usually available from Decathlon. Extreme has range of clothing. Ace has lubes. Good tyres, clothing and spare parts beyond the most basic are often difficult to find here.

Useful websites
General cycling information: www.sheldonbrown.com

US based cycling info: http://www.bikeradar.com/

Mountain bike product reviews & discussions: http://www.mtbr.com/

UK online cycle dealers: http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/

                                        http://www.wiggle.co.uk/

UK shops and online sales: http://www.evanscycles.co.uk



DBCK May 2015 


Information on Tyres and Tubes:


Tyres


We use mountain bikes because they are the most suitable type for off road riding, in the desert; and that’s mainly because of the fat tyres. Most mountain bikes use 26” diameter tyres but larger 650B and 29” sizes are becoming popular. Widths range from2.00” to 2.4”; Choose according to rider weight and riding preferences. Narrower will be faster on the road, but wider will give more comfort, traction, grip and speed off road, especially in sand. The best all season tread is one with small knobs; although for summer riding on roads and pathways, some people use slicks (no tread) or semi slicks.

Punctures (flat tyres), caused by thorns are an ever present hazard in Kuwait. Most tyres fitted to new bikes are not suitable for our rides. The best protection is given by puncture resistant tyres. Different brands offer various kinds of puncture resistance, using special rubber compounds and Aramid or Kevlar plus higher density weaves. There is a slight penalty in cost, weight and performance but good, puncture resistant tyres are highly recommended.

Tubeless tyres are mainly for the committed enthusiast. They use a semi liquid sealant instead of an inner tube. They cannot be fitted directly onto standard wheels, and retro fitting requires new wheels or a conversion kit.

Inner Tubes

The best mountain bike inner tube brands are American or European (even if made in China or Taiwan). Cheap Indian brands available in Kuwait are heavy and less durable. The 26” tubes for Indian style bikes will fit but are not really the correct size. They have Woods/ Dunlop (Indian) type valves which make it difficult to add Slime and they require a special pump adaptor. Avoid them. Various kinds of self-sealing (e.g. Slime) tubes are now widely available.

Valves Types

Mountain bikes use either Shraeder (American/ like cars) or Presta (French/ high pressure)You can easily add Slime (see below) to the Schraeder valve tubes and they can be inflated with most pumps and in any petrol station. Tubes with Shraeder and Presta Valves are not interchangeable; the holes in the wheel rims are of different sizes.

Slime

Slime is a kind of liquid sealant put into inner tubes that seals small holes caused by thorns and the like. It works most of the time but is not foolproof. It will not work if the puncture / hole is too big but close inspection of the tube will often show that it has already sealed several small holes and saved you a lot of trouble. Slime comes in 8oz bottles. You need 4oz per tube. It is highly recommended and really does make a difference. Tubes pre-filled with Slime are now widely available.

Slime Tape/Protector

For non puncture resisting tyres, this is a thin but tough plastic strip which goes between the tube and tyre. It stops thorns, glass and nails etc from going into the tube. Like Slime liquid, it is not completely foolproof and adds a little weight but it greatly reduces the chances of a flat tyre.

Recommendations

Buy good quality puncture resistant tyres or use Slime Liner/ Protector. Keep a spare tube of the correct size and valve type plus some Slime or a pre Slimed tube and a pump with you. Get some tyre levers as well.

Where to Buy

There is a limited choice of tyres available in Kuwait; better to bring them from outside. Tubes and Slime can be bought from Extreme Sports, ACE and Decathlon. See above “Buying a Bike” for more info.

Further information about tyres and tubes: www.sheldonbrown.com/tires.html