VIDEO: Is a moto-cross tour the most RAD way to see the desert?
What’s On teams up with Hype to find out about off-road motorcycle tours in Dubai, a new way of doing the famous desert safari in Dubai.
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Seeing Dubai though the eyes of BRADLEY FESTRAETS, owner of Just Gas It. An interview from Hype…
Where are you from? Johannesburg, in South Africa.
When did you come to Dubai? I first came here in November 2010.
What do you do here? I’m the owner of Just Gas It.
What’s that? It’s a Dubai-based off-road motorcycle tour company. From our extreme off-road adventure centre, we offer guided tours in the UAE desert on KTM motorcycles and Polaris RZR buggies. Our tours allow you to explore and see the desert in a new, adrenaline-packed way. We’re based on a farm in Al Aweer, called Hobbies Club.
Do people need biking experience to go on your tours? To go on one of the motorcycle tours, you do need previous experience with riding a manual motorcycle. However, we also offer Polaris RZR buggy tours. The buggies are just like driving a car, and are real easy to use.
Is there anything for complete beginners? The Polaris Buggy tours are suitable for beginners.
How long have you been riding dirt bikes? I started out when I was just ten years old.
What inspired you to start? My aunt and uncle were bikers back home in South Africa. One day I borrowed my friend’s bike and crashed it into a fence. This inspired me to learn and try to become good at it.
Do you prefer riding bikes in the desert or on normal terrain? I’ve travelled and ridden bikes all over the world, but nothing is quite like riding over the sand. It’s amazing.
What’s the best thing about riding in the desert? The space and feeling of complete freedom. You have the choice to go wherever you want, and in any direction. Sometimes, we ride and in front of us there’s nothing but desert – no houses, no buildings, nothing. It’s awesome, and gives you a real sense of adventure.
Which part of the desert do you ride in? We ride from Al Aweer to Fossil Rock, Big Red, Area 53, Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah, Hatta… everywhere, basically.
What are the views like out in the desert? Awesome. Nothing beats leaving a big city like Dubai behind you, and seeing nothing but desert for as far as the eye can see. One of the best views is from Fossil Rock. It’s a full 360° view, and you can see for kilometres.
Have you ever injured yourself while out on a bike? Or got lost? Getting lost isn’t so easy. If I do get lost, I just reach for Google Maps. Injuries is a part of the game, but we believe in the rule, ‘All the gear, all the time.’
Has anything dangerous ever happened to you out in the desert? I was sitting behind a dune one day, catching a little break. All of a sudden, I heard a ‘braaap braaap’ nearby. I knew it was a car trying to get up a dune, but couldn’t see it, until a Suzuki Vito launched up over the top of the dune and flew for about ten metres before landing right at the bottom. It was insane. Three guys climbed out, looked around, and then drove off. It reminds me how crazy some people are.
Where’s your favourite place in the world to go biking? Nothing beats Dubai.
What’s the longest journey you’ve made on your bike? I’ve spent 15 days travelling around South Africa.
Have you ever taken part in any bike races? I used to take part in endurance races in South Africa. The objective in them was more to complete the races than to win. However, here in Dubai I’ve competed in the UAE Desert Championship.
Can you do any tricks? Plenty. I’ve managed to fine-tune my wheelie and can go on one wheel for a few kilometres now.
Are you into any other extreme sports? Yeah, I fly a paramotor. It’s like a dirt bike, only in the sky.
Is there much of a biking community here in Dubai? The community’s growing steadily. Before, it was hard to be part of a community since there wasn’t anywhere to meet any like-minded riders or riders of the same skill level. However, at the Just Gas It farm, we’ve created a community where riders can meet and learn from other riders.
First impressions of Dubai? It’s the best city in the world.
Have those impressions changed? No. When I travel, I always want to come back to Dubai. It’s a great city and full of great people.
Favourite place to eat in Dubai? Sports Café in Al Aweer. It has some great staff, and we have a friend who works there called Happy.
Favourite place to catch up with friends? Bidi Bondi, on The Palm Jumeirah.
Favourite club or music event in Dubai? I party everywhere, but always end up at Rock Bottom.
What do you do when you need some ‘me’ time? I go out for a bike ride.
How would you sell Dubai to someone who has never visited the city? I’d tell them that it’s the best city in the world.
What’s the secret to success here? Work hard, and never give up.
What’s your top tip for getting the most out of Dubai? Go and see the desert. Malls are good, but they’re all the same. Come and see something different.
What’s next for you? I’m riding from Dubai to Cape Town on a motorbike next May. And then, in June, I’ll be taking part in the Put Foot Rally – 18,000 kilometres in 18 days across Africa.
Find out more online at justgasit.net or at facebook.com/JustGasIt.