10/24/21 – Living on the Edge

Sometimes, if I set my mind on something, I will stubbornly pursue it even if my own common sense tells me it ain’t wise. This happened when I decided to cycle to Edge of the World on my Brompton, even before I arrived in Saudi Arabia. Beside being quite far from Riyadh, the last 25 km of the road is going through rocky desert. Even after initially visiting this place by car and seeing how bad the road was, I stayed undeterred. To add more “excitement“ to my adventure, instead of taking a taxi to Riyadh’s city limits as my starting point, I chose to cycle from our compound through Riyadh, which added an additional 35 km.
On my only day off, while my colleagues probably stayed in bed late and had a relaxing day to prepare for the upcoming workweek, I was off cycling at 4:45am trying to beat the heat. Five hours later I left the paved road for the rocky desert trail, hoping to get over those final 25 km in a couple of hours, in sha’Allah. It wasn’t the case though – or rather, it was a case of triple whammy: rocky road, light but steady incline, and to top it off, strong head wind. Result? It took me more than three hours to cover that short distance. Out of these 25 km I probably pushed the bike for 3-4 km, either because I couldn’t pedal anymore or the road was too sandy. Completely exhausted and on the verge of heatstroke, I finally made it and even rode on the ledge of the Edge of the World. The views, by the way, were breathtaking. Although perhaps I should have listen to my common sense.

I then had to cycle back, but luckily only up to the start of the paved road where I caught a ride back to Riyadh.

Edge of the World in numbers:

135 km — distance cycled
2770 — calories burned
305 m — the Edge of the World drops down into an ancient ocean bed
40 C° — threshold when heatstroke occurs; luckily I didn’t reach it