Weather Conditions: From dry parched lands to driving snow and blizzards, go figure!
Miles: 600 miles
Duration: 13 days
High Points: Cycling on the high dunes at Merzouga, the hospitality of the people, James
Low Points: 15 punctures in 5 seconds off road, forgetting my pedals
Team: Richard Harpham (600 miles), James Bebbington (600 miles)
A million Thanks: Surly Fat Bikes, USE Exposure Lights
The plan was simple, cycle by Fat Bike from Marrakech over the Atlas Mountains at Col De Tichka and head to the famous high dunes at Merzouga The weather was warm and inviting but quickly changed to tough conditions climbing to 2,400 metres with bikes weighing almost 35 kgs with water, food and kit. I opted for James fruitarian diet only eating raw fruit and veg for nearly 2 weeks. Powered by oranges, avocado’s, dates and nuts we made good progress.
Crossing the Atlas mountains conditions changed with rocky moonscapes and dry conditions (it hadn’t rained in a year) towards dry sand and dust storms. Getting to Merzouga was tough, cycling for hours in dark and thanking USE Exposure Lights for giving us illumination. Riding through dirt roads in Africa with dogs chasing us and guided by starry skies was definitely exciting. We did the iconic sand dune shots at sunrise with a strong coffee before heading back towards Marrakech. We explored the Ourika Valley making plenty of new friends with our space age looking Surly Fat Bikes. We were even offered a swap, fat bike for a camel.
This adventure provided everything from tough conditions, incredible people, and the desire to do more so watch this space. We discovered plenty of fantastic Berber communities, local customs and by the way "no means no" when you are cycling over a mountain range and a local tradesman is trying to sell you rocks and crystals.