RIYADH: People ride motorbikes for the adrenaline rush and the feeling of the wind in their hair, but for Alhasan Dabbagh it is a chance to discover the wonders of Saudi Arabia.
His content reaches more than 100,000 followers on social media. His travels and adventures are not for financial gain but to entertain and educate others about his motorcycle lifestyle and to show them the country’s landscapes and hidden treasures.
“Because of the pandemic, I decided to ride my bike and go on trips around the Kingdom to explore the many cities and towns, and I’m so grateful as the things I saw were amazing and I know I wouldn’t be able to discover them without my bike,” Dabbagh told Arab News.
“I traveled around the Kingdom and went to places like AlUla, Assoudah, Wadi Lajb in Jazan, Edge of the World in Riyadh, and Al-Disah in Tabuk. Al-Disah is a beautiful place located in Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Nature Reserve. I wouldn’t have gotten there if I hadn’t started touring around on my bike.”
Dabbagh said his journeys were meaningful because they had allowed him to discover places and meet local people in different regions who had shown him great hospitality and kindness.
“I went to a place called Mount Shamanseer, two hours north of Jeddah. The place has spectacular canyons and you can gaze far into the horizon, surrounded by magical mountains all around. Finding such natural beauty, so close to my hometown, but I never thought of discovering it.”
Dabbagh is prepared for all kinds of weather surprises as he tours the Kingdom, whether it is rain, thunder, blinding fog, or even sandstorms.
He put on a thrilling show for his social media followers during a sandstorm in Riyadh, riding his bike in the streets even as the city was buffeted by strong winds and cloaked in orange skies.
But he said it was important for people to ensure they were riding safely at all times in all types of conditions.
“We wear full safety gear to protect against accidents, but this gear changes depending on the weather. For instance, we wear light mesh clothing for summer days, rain gear when it’s wet, and winter clothing when it’s cold. Sometimes the weather changes during the course of a trip, like riding from Jeddah to Abha in the south. We always need to adapt and be well prepared.
“Touring for thousands of kilometers is an adventure and you will always face challenges such as finding gas stations, coming across rough terrain, flat tires, and sudden changes in weather conditions. Sometimes this can be tough as you get stuck for hours or get lost when Google maps don’t work.
“However, you learn to deal with such ordeals as they are part of the adventure. With this mindset and realistic expectations of the unexpected scenarios, I chose to predominantly travel with a small group of friends who are like-minded and share similar interests.”
The Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation has supported the country’s motorcyclists by organizing events and giving people licenses.
Some groups have been officially set up under the federation’s umbrella and taken part in National Day parades or charity events. For these occasions, motorcyclists are issued with federation permits and are escorted by police with the all clear to go on the road in bigger groups.
Dabbagh hopes to open a motorcycle school and business to help grow a thriving culture for motorcyclists in Saudi Arabia.
“Motorcycles have helped me find myself, discover new places, and meet many wonderful people all around the Kingdom. I have built memories of a lifetime that one day I hope to tell my grandchildren.”