The rapidly-growing outdoor recreational activity, mountain biking in Oman, had a very humble beginning in the early nineties when an MTB group was started by a group of enthusiasts.
The group now meets every Thursday afternoon and has some all-day rides during the year besides the annual MTB race. For weekly Mountain Bike Rides we use around 15 different trails, which can vary in distance between 15 and 40 km, depending on the area and terrain, which varies from graded tracks, single tracks, goat tracks or no tracks at all, and in some cases, prepared specific tracks to link MTB trails. We take in climbs, downhill, rocky and gravel terrain, easy flat areas, and sometimes technical rides. On some routes a short walk may be involved to link trails. The number of participants on the weekly MTB Rides can vary from 5 to 20 riders, although we have over 100 names on the MTB Distribution List. Most of the areas we ride in have been long-established trails that were/are used by local villagers, while some of these trails/areas were used by off-road motorbikes and rally cars in the past. Most of the tracks were indroduced by Robert Tunbridge - "minister of Mounainbiking" and Bob is often ride leader to nowadays.
The weekly MTB Ride start points are normally around 20- to 45-minutes drive from the capital area (Qurum), yet these areas are very scenic and challenging at the same time.
Areas like Al Amerat, Al Hadja, Al Nahda, Al Ansab, Hammam, Jiffnain, SQU area, Al Khoud, Mabella, Ghala, Bausher, Nahfa, Sa’al etc., and a little further away, Yitti, Al Hillo, Arqi, Quriyat are some popular mountain bike trails. We do also all-day MTB rides with support cars: Nakhl to Rustaq via wadi Abyad, Wadi Bani Awf/Wadi Sattan loop, Jebel Shams, Jebel Akhdar, Rustaq to Ibri, (pre-tarmac) Quriyat to Sur to Quriyat (pre-tarmac) return over two days and many others.
The annual Mountain Bike Race in Oman has been held in several locations over the years and has been on a prepared, marked-out route with an average lap of 5 to 10 km, with the race having one sighting lap and 3 or 4 race laps. The event usually attracts around 20 to 40 riders supported by family, friends, and sponsors. Mountain biking in Oman has good potential, as the terrain is ideally suited for the sport.
With presence of "Frans's bike shop" - MIG in Al Khuwair - there is growing mtb market. In 2011 we started to organize - especially during hot summer months - "Nite rides" to escape from heat of the day. Nite rides usually start on Mondays evenings.
First Downhill race in Oman "Jabal Thrill" was organized in November 2010.
First Uphill race was organized in Feb 2011 - 7 km climb from Al Hamra village.
To bring Oman to international mountain bike scene from 2011 international mountain bike stage race "Trans Hajar" was organized, which grew from 22 participants in 2011 to 55 in 2012 including World Champion in Triathlon, Dutch National MTB Champion and several proffesional riders.
For more info regarding rides, events and races - pls check main web site, join us on Facebook (group "Muscat Mountain bikers") and/or sent your email to email@example.com
Words prepared by R. Tunbridge