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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 September 2018

UAE bikers set to raise money for orphans

Team to ride from through Europe in September visiting orphanages 

The Dubai Riders group. From left to right: Saif Mohamed Bin Saifan, Nasser Al Falasi, Saleh Al Sharif and Sami Hassan. Antonie Robertson/The National
The Dubai Riders group. From left to right: Saif Mohamed Bin Saifan, Nasser Al Falasi, Saleh Al Sharif and Sami Hassan. Antonie Robertson/The National

Four intrepid motorbike riders from the UAE are set to travel from Greece to Eastern Europe to help raise money for orphans.

Coinciding with the Year of Zayed, the Dubai Riders team will fly their motorbikes to Athens in September before beginning the long ride west.

The men comprise of close friends Sami Hassan, Saleh Al Sharif, Nasser Al Falasi and Saif bin Saifan.

They plan to visit a number of orphanages along their route to help raise money for the children and increase awareness of the work done to assist them.

“The tour is dedicated to support orphans in line with the nationwide Year of Zayed,” said Mr bin Saifan, 38.

“We will visit children across eastern Europe, including one orphanage in Bosnia. We will help to provide them with financial support in coordination with UAE embassies and consulates general.

“The children will also be introduced to UAE’s cultural heritage, history and will be given gifts.”

The coming European trip is just the latest in a long line of motorbiking adventures for the team across the globe.

The men say they all share the same goal; to one day have ridden right around the world.

Mr Hassan, who works at the Erada Centre, a rehabilitation centre in Dubai, said: "Motorbike riders are stereotyped as reckless and careless.

“But we want to change this misconception by using our bike rides to help humanitarian causes and raise awareness about the UAE.”

Mr Al Sharif, 38, who works in healthcare, added: “I started biking when I was at school and developed my skills by driving in the desert on quad bike with friends.

“Living a life of adventure as well as a love for speed and engines inspired us to carry on and become professional riders.”

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The first trip the Dubai Riders team organised was back in 2012 when they attended the annual FIM Rally in Poland.

“The experience of being a motorcyclist is totally different from being a car driver,” Mr Al Sharif said.

“The biker feels out in the open and part of the machine. You really feel in control.

“During our first 21-day tour we travelled right across Europe, starting from Germany.

“After returning we gained quite a reputation and many people asked if they could join us future trips.”

In 2013, the Dubai Riders team again rode through Europe - this time visiting eight countries in 21 days.

Mr Al Sharif added: “On the way to Hamburg during our 2013 trip Al Falasi fell off and we initially thought it was just a minor injury.

“But after returning to the hotel a German friend of ours advised us to take him to a hospital. When we got him there he was admitted for two weeks due to internal bleeding.”

The team embarked on yet another tour in 2015 when they travelled across Africa for 45 days.

They began by shipping their motorbikes from the UAE to Cape Town in South Africa and from there they drove north to Zambia and then across to the east coast.

“We got to Ethiopia and then Sudan and after that we put the bikes on a ship to Saudi Arabia before driving on back to the UAE,” said Mr Hassan.

“It was wonderful because we experienced new roads and mountains and explored new cultures and people.

“We used to travel between 300 and 500 kilometres per day and saw some very touching scenes along the way.

“We saw people walking long distances bare foot to carry water to their homes as well as lots of people wearing rags for clothes.”

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