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Old 10 Jan 2010
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Desert/Sand riding in Europe

I was wondering if anyone had any information/expereince riding the small deserts that can be found in the Ukraine (Oleshky Sands) and Southern Spain (Tabernas desert)or if there are any sandy areas in the UK that are open to bikes?

Been looking at a lot of retro desert trackers on the net and feeling compelled to have a go! I know when we start talking southern spain we can make the leap to North Africa quite easilly, but Id like to know more about European dunes first.

Cheers guys
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Old 10 Jan 2010
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Hi Tommy
Have you ever tried riding on sand?
I don't really think your road based 125 would really be up to it, if thats what you were thinking of using.
In 2004 I rode a KDX125 in the Weston beach race, and it was bloody hard work, the hardest part is getting your mind set to lean back and power-on! finding that you are going faster than you feel comfotable with,closing the throttle causes the front end to 'dig in', many people do ride sand and actually enjoy it, so give it a go!!
PS, a year after the race I got the operation to try and rectify the damage to my knee I did during the event and it was unsuccessful and now have a 'limp'
'He who laughs last, was too slow to get the joke'
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Old 11 Jan 2010
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I've driven the Bledow desert in Poland near Krakow - Central Europe's largest desert. Found out later it's a military training area...Oops! Some sandy trails nearby are OK.

Would also like to try the Bardenas Real in northern Spain.

The local boys in Morocco managed well enough on their mopeds on the high dunes of Erg Chebbi!

Happy trails,

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Old 11 Jan 2010
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Hey JoJo1. Bledow Desert looked interesting when I was reading about it last night, although as you said its a bombing zone with lots of unexploded ordnance! Might ad a little excitement to a ride!

The Bardenas Real looks great, plus I have relatives near there who I was planning on visiting in spring. Might make a nice ride report so long as I can get my hands on a bike.

One of my ispiration factors were the guys at JoMo racing in California.

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Old 13 Jan 2010
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there is hell lot of such places in Ukraine, specially in east-southern part. My good friends in Ukraine (I am ukrainian living in Belgium) ride those sandy areas almost every weekend, so if you want I can put you in touch with few of them, I can assure you they will be able to get you to some cool places and will be glad to ride with you too.
They mostly using Honda XR250s, XR400s and similar type of bikes, but some of them done it on much larger and more road-biased bikes.
Their favourite areas for really hard riding is ex-military testing areas, mostly meant for tanks. Those are dismissed long time ago and totally abandoned and not artificial, so part of geography by now - advantage being that you can have cool tour + hardcore sand riding+putting your tent in nearby forrest area etc. Also some of areas they ride have only patches of sands but still very interesting to ride.
Some of those area here
DOCENT-TROPHY 2008 (Burkutun, Antonio, MAX, Olexa, Motogon, Bober) | MotoTravel
Sorry - can't offer much in English, but take a look at some of their reports. This is actually Oleshye + Kinburnskiy peninsula. This is Kherson region in fact.
"Херсонские записки". Часть первая | MotoTravel
“Херсонские записки”. Часть вторая | MotoTravel
Олешье (Херсонская область): песчаная арена+КинбурРская коса.День четвертый.Ко са-Арена. | Блог пользователя MAX

relatively close is Arabatskaya Strelka, miles of beaches and sandy hills next to sea. Very popular with offroaders too, but my friends did not supply any photos of that one.

This is just photos I found - I do not know those guys, but photos speak for themselves
OFFROADPEOPLE- Ýíäóðî ïóòåøåñòâèå â Êðûìó 2008
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Old 14 Jan 2010
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Hey bluesman, thats sounds awesome. yeah if you could put me in touch that would be cool. many thanks
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Old 14 Jan 2010
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Sure, let me just have chat with guys to find who can speak English and I will drop you PM...
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Old 20 Jan 2010
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OK, guys replied in Russian so I translated it and posted in same tread on mototravel.info

Whoever needs that info - check last post there:

Нужна помощь знатоков Олешья, косы и Ñ‚.д. « MotoTravel
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Old 23 Jan 2010
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Euro Deserts

Hi Tommy,
I've had a ride round Los Bardenas Reales in Northern Spain on a BM GS 1100 with Michelin Anarchee tyres and it was great fun, part of it is a Military Area but if you get stopped just tell them you made a mistake and they will point you the right way. There are plenty of places to camp in the area as well but don't expect a friendly nod if you stray into the well signed Conservation Areas as you will be living in a world of shit from that point onward. They often use Guardia Civil for security patrols and everbody knows what a jumped up bunch of t!!ts the can sometimes be.
You could also try Comps sur Artuby area near Trigance in Provence, there is a huge military training area here which is not always closed to traffic, the local lads ride in this area and although you will once again be in deep deep shit if you stray far from the tracks you will get not bother if you obey the red flags and don't f!!k them about, the weapons the guards carry are not toys. You can ride for miles away from roads for hours and then pop into civilisation for a drinky and accomodation, don't try wild camping here though because part of it is an artillery range and they are using live rounds. Only downside in this area is there are no real dunes it is all proper desert type tracks. Have fun, before you go beef your bike up a bit and take emergency kit.
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