Life on two wheels

Extreme riders push the limits at Dubai’s first ever dedicated bike show

By Steve Meunier (

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Published: Mon 23 Mar 2009, 8:56 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 11:43 PM

WHEELSPINS, TYRE BLOWOUTS and trick motorcycle stunts thrilled the crowds at this year’s Dubai Bike Expo, which took place at Festival City over the weekend. The event was a celebration of the two-wheel lifestyle; featuring trade stands from the major bike manufacturers, a charity ride to raise money for autism and Heavy Rock originators Deep Purple headlining the music stage on Friday night.

Gulf Bike Expo was the Middle East’s first dedicated motorbike show and was officially inaugurated by Mohammed Ben Sulayem, FIA Vice-President for Sport, President of the Automobile & Touring Club of the UAE and 14 times Middle East rally champion. Ben Sulayem is something of a legend in the regional motoring community, given his unstinting support for all automotive sports.

Visitors travelled from far and wide to the inaugural exhibition, which reflected the burgeoning popularity of motorcycling in the UAE. Among the expected 20,000 visitors over the three days was Chris Bowman, who had flown in from Malaysia with the view of setting up a bike dealership in Dubai. He appeared to have done his research on the potential for the emirates’ two-wheel scene before he arrived. “I think that there are several reasons why more and more people are taking to motorcycles here,” he said.

The Red Bull stunt area proved to be one of the main attractions at the Expo, with amazing performances being turned in by E-Dub Eric Whitcomb, Rome and Randie, Nick de Wit and fellow extreme bikers who showed just what was possible on two wheels - or more often than not, just one wheel.

Bikers the world over are renowned for their generosity and fondness for charity rides. The Gulf Bike Expo proved no exception, as a specially arranged ride-out raised nearly Dhs50,000 for the Dubai Autism Centre. Among the 800 riders on 475 machines who took part was Paul Jones from Wales in the UK, who revved up with the group on his 650cc Yamaha. “Bikers often have a bad image because of a few outlaw motorcycle gangs that occasionally make the headlines,” he said, just before he set off. “They are not representative of the biking community as a whole and charity events like this help show people what our lifestyle is really all about,” he added.

Music fans were not disappointed with the impressive line-up of local and international bands at the event, which featured popular Dubai-based Indie alternative rock band Juliana Down and Heavy Metal heroes Deep Purple, the headline act on Friday night.

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