Get into mountain biking

Although Qatar’s road cycling infrastructure is improving fast, an alternative to competing with the traffic is to get away from it. There are miles of accessible countryside and a thriving and friendly racing scene, the highlight of which is one of must-do cycling events in Qatar – the Al Adaid Desert Challenge.

TOOLS FOR THE JOB

A mountain-bike (MTB) is designed for going off road. It has suspension and large grippy tires to ride over rough ground; disk brakes and wide handlebars for control; and a strong frame to cope with the stresses of lumps and bumps.

The definitions don’t end there though: A mountain bike can be a ‘downhiller’; ‘all-mountain’; ‘trail’ and ‘cross-country’ (XC). Of these, Qatar’s flattish and moderately rough terrain lends itself best to the lighter trail and XC bikes. But there is one more option – the ‘fat bike’. With motorbike sized tires, these are built for soft ground. That’s right – sand! Fat bikes also offer a cushioned ride over rock but, as they are heavier than the equivalent XC bike, they do not rule on this territory.

A final, and much more tricky decision to make is whether you need shock absorbers on both front and rear wheels (full suspension). For those looking for speed, ‘full-sus’ isn’t beneficial for most races but Qatar’s ground is baked hard and having it brings comfort to a long day in the saddle and makes rocky descents easier. We’ll leave you to ponder your own choice on this question.

NOW RACE?

If it seems strange to suggest racing on a beginners page, know that there are race categories dedicated to first-timers and courses are not as challenging as you might find elsewhere. The large Filipino MTB community brings energy and vibrancy, making these some of the best fun events to do in Qatar. Of course races are also a great way to discover places to ride and to meet other riders, even if your main passion is adventure.

Check out the calendar for events and, if racing really isn’t your thing, there are lots of places to explore on your bike. Go out and discover them.