SHAWKA – Mountain biking in the United Arab Emirates

As a mountain biker, moving to a “desert” country like the UAE can be a heartbreaker. The thoughts of sand dunes and extreme heat easily turn people away… let alone someone who enjoys dirt, rocks and epic rides on single tracks under green canopies. The world’s perception of Dubai is nothing short of an urban jungle built on a sand patch with gleaming glass towers usually associated with the words “best”, biggest”, “tallest” etc. A place where canals are carved out in the heart of the city and islands are sprinkled along its coast. But definitely not a single riding spot visible in sight.

An hour drive east towards the other side of the country lies a small village called Showqa. With loose dirt and razor-sharp rocks, this undulating part of the Hajjar mountain range offers miles and miles of single track, perfect for weekend trail riding. Flowy goat and man-made trails crisscrossed this hidden riding haven. This area was initially developed/built by hotcogs, a group of mountain bikers who were also born with fat knobs tattooed in their hearts. The unmarked network of trails continues to lengthen as the number of trail builder grows together with the rapid expansion of this region’s mountain-biking community.

We’ve been riding this trails for years now and whenever our families and friends ask why we love the place so much, words and still images aren’t enough to justify each of our experiences whenever we saddle up for our weekend fixes.

Text: FTHN