It was one of those things I could’ve easily done by car but that would be too mundane for me.
In itself, a one-way 100 km ride isn’t a big deal but layered with cycling across Riyadh and then somehow finding a way to return home, that’s a challenge. After last week’s “excitement” of cycling an extra 35-40 km from our compound through the whole city of Riyadh before heading out to my destination, I wisened up and chose an alternative method: I used a shuttle bus to get myself closer to the city limits and only from there did I cycle to my destination, a mere 70 km away. Although we are in the middle of the Arabian Desert, around Riyadh it’s mostly rocks and stones with strands of sand dunes. That’s where I headed to see the dunes so familiar from postcards – in this case Red Sand Dunes, a popular spot for locals.
Four hours down the road I arrived at the Red Sand Dunes. The scenery getting there looked like Utah’s Monument Valley. The dunes themselves were a bit of a disappointment, the game wasn’t worth the candle considering the effort I put into getting there. I even did a stuntman alike roll of my bike into dusty soft shoulder when I hit the bordure because a car swooshed so close to me.
During my last two days off I did far flung bike trips on my Brompton. Both of us need some rest. Besides, there aren’t many things to see around Riyadh, especially ones worthy of long hours on the saddle.
Red Sand Dunes in numbers:
137 km — distance cycled, this time I pedal both way
2 330 000 km2 — occupied by the Arabian Desert, the fifth largest desert in the world
75 SAR — to rent an ATV for an hour at Red Sand Dunes, there are plenty of vendors, so you can haggle