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I may by-pass Dubai and ride from Bahrain to Iran (taking the ferry obviously)
Here are some questions
1- Are there any ferries between Bahrain-Dubai?
2- Is it really hard to get S.Arabian transit visa?
3- Is it possible to get multiple entrance transit visa for Syria (wanna visit Lebanon)?
4- If I couldn't find ferry from Bahrain to Iran or Dubai I have to ride all the way back. Can I get multiple entrance transit visa for S.Arabia and Jordan as well?
5- I have visited http://www.vesc.net/ (Valfajr) However they dont reply my e-mails and didnt update their web page. So I am not sure about if I can find ferry on September. Do you think is it possible to find ferry on September?
6- Sand stroms??? Are they harmfull for bike? What sort of spares shell I carry? Also do I need additional visor for helmet?
7- I'll ride F650 with a 17.5Lt tank and will carry +5Lt spare petrol. Will be enough do you think?
8-Did anyone drive through Bahrain? Any suggestions?
I currently waiting in Muscat for a new tyre to come in because the heat of the road at this time of year practically melts it. There are ferries from Bahrain to Dubai or Dubai to Iran, but you can also pay a Dhow to take you there, because its monsoon season in the indian ocean and they prefere to chill out in the gulf. The Saudi arbian visa is easy to get but you have to show an ajoining visa, my friend got his in cairo after ten days but went to the emirates instead (beware the islamic police). The ferry in the emirates for iran leaves in sharjah. The sand storms are fine if you have a mask, be coveredup and slow down. Your BMW will be hard to get spares,ask about you air filter and make sure you have the right tyres, im suffering from this now, because my knobbys have turned to mush. This is the middle east fuel is plentiful, im on a suzuki dr650 with a 13l tank, but always be kind to the throttle. Also once you get to bahrain its hard to get out.
Regarding S.Arabia transit visas, I would imagine them being somewhat difficult to get, atleast that was the word back when I used to live there.
Sandstorms: you'll need relatively air-tight eye protection in addition to breathing filter. I had sandy goo coming out of my eyes for a week after riding through a sandstorm. Also the maintenance guy in Italy where I had maintenance done after the sandstorm said there was over 1cm of loose sand on top of the air filter, I didn't notice any effects on engine power though, also the engine's still oil-tight meaning it didn't ingest any of the sand.
Bahrain: You might require special permission to ride your bike on the causeway from Saudi to Bahrain, atleast that was required last year.
Syrian visas: depending on the presence of Syrian embassy in your country of origin you will need a visa. If your country has no embassy, you can get it on the border. If you're riding a bike with export registration, do not go to Syria.
Motorcycles are not allowed across the causeway. The only time I know this was allowed was for a one time crossing by the Dhahran Harley Owners Group. I doubt any official would care to be bothered for one lone motorcyclist.
Ease of getting a transit visa seems to vary from day to day. One day you're lucky, the next day it's impossible.
I live right by the Saudi end of the King Fahad causeway and it is the only way from Saudi to Bahrain and you won't be able to ride across. The only way i can think of getting over is to hire a chap with a van to take the bike across in the back.
The web-site for the BMW dealer in Bahrain is www.euromotors.com.bh
I don't think they have much bike spares in stock so if you are in need of some spares it might be wise to contact them in advance.
There is also a BMW dealer in Riyadh in Saudi now. Their site is www.tristarksa.com
I live by the Saudi end of the King Fahad causeway and it is the only way to Bahrain. There is no chanse of riding over the caseway. You're best bet is hiring a van and a driver and drive the bike over in the back.
The web-site for BMW bike dealer in Bahrain is www.euromotors.com.bh
They don't have a lot of bike stuff so if you want spares it would be wise to contact them in advance.
There is now a BMW bike dealer in Riyadh in Saudi. The website is www.tristarksa.com
if they so.. then i have to find another solution for crossing. hiring a pick-up is most logical one i guess.. but how much might it be? any idea? or is there any ferry-roro between s.arabia-bahrain?
There isn't a ferry between Saudi and Bahrain. Hiring a pickup should be cheap but you would have to get one with a driver. If you hire a pickup to drive yourself you have to get special permission to take the truck out of Saudi from the police because you don't own the vehicle and that may take a few days.
I'm off back to the UK on holiday tonight but I'll have a look around Khobar for truck and driver hire when i get back from my holiday.
[This message has been edited by monkeybikestef (edited 17 August 2005).]
The visa bits are easy now - the Saudis (which used to be the most difficult visa to get) just simplified the transit visa process to assist the transport industry. Syrian visas are easier these days, but remember they don't like you to have an Israeli stamp in the passport.
BMW has dealers all through the middle east (Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Beirut, Kuwait, Bahrain, Turkey, and Oman - I don't know about Syria or Jordan). They actually make F650s in Iran! There are also a few Aprilia dealers around - the 650 Pegaso has the same engine.
On sandstorms - don't. They will bugger everything: bearings, air filters, chains, and your good self. They are very hard on oiled air filters - which is what you should be using riding around the ME. Contrary to what many people think, the sand is very fine and ends up in every pocket and crease of your riding gear, and every crevice of yourself. You'll never get it all out of the bike again either. I've been nailed a few times so I speak from experience. Better to sit out the day.
You should have enough fuel, but I've heard northeastern Syria and eastern Turkey can have long distances between fuel stops. If you're worried, this might be something to check. You can always ask as you go and buy a jerry enroute. I always carry my water in a petrol can and just tip it out if I need extra fuel capacity - a splash of white spirits gets the water out.
Keep us posted on your trip. I'll be riding from Abu Dhabi to Bandar Abbas in Iran and getting the ferry across to Oman in November. I'd love to go earlier, but as Conrad said, it's just too bloody hot at this time of year.
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