Dead Sea Bicycling

الإثنين 22 كانون الأول 2008

Written By Ramsey Tesdell
Pictures by Jad Madi

There has been a proliferation of adventure groups, eco-tourism groups, and other groups offering “unique” experiences in Jordan. These groups offer everything from authentic Bedouin camping to rappelling down water falls. I’ve been lucky enough to go on trips with many of these groups, to see just what they offer. Mostly, I’m looking for adventure and not to compare the groups. Typically I like going off into the less disturbed wild with just a close friend or two, but going on a group adventure offers the advantage of meeting new people.

Recently, I went with Tareef Cycling Club to the Dead Sea for a short biking adventure. The ride itself was quite short, but enjoyable nonetheless. Three school buses full of folks looking for an atypical Friday day of rest gathered early in the morning near the 7th circle.  Immediately it was apparent to an newcomer that it was a close group; many were regulars, others were friends who came regularly. Some describe the group as a “family.” Most biker were Jordanians, with a smattering of American students learning Arabic and a few other expats.

The adventure was well-organized despite the large number of bikers. After loading up, we headed to a local restaurant down at the Dead Sea. Tareef got the bikes down from the buses and set everyone up with a bike. For a short while, the ride followed the highway that flanks the Dead Sea; anyone that has been on the highway knows the insane speeds the cars drive on this highway. Other than that short section, we went through a couple of small villages, gather altitude that zenithed in a beautiful view of the Dead Sea and the West Bank.

Tareef has been around for quite some time. It began in the early 80’s and has continued to grow since. They offer a weekly ride at the Hussein Youth City every Tuesday for bikers of any level – from beginners to professional Lance Armstrong impersonators. The professional attention, the obvious care, and the well-organized operation of Tareef will make you make you entirely comfortable either learning to bike with them, or going on a longer overnight bike/hike adventure.

The other advantage of Tareef is the price. It isn’t a wonder why you have people coming back every week, and a group of mostly Jordanian – the price is insanely affordable. Compare Tareef to other adventure groups, and the difference is almost laughable.

If you are looking for some quality reflection time in the quietness of the wild, Tareef isn’t for you, however. At least not this route. 50-60 people and a route along a busy highway means very little quiet. Other trips, like the hike and bike trip seem to offer more of that. If you want to meet fun, nice people, then go on a trip with Tareef.

Watch the video about Tareef.

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