Escape: Dubai Bike Week - Whizzing Through Oz

Invading the Middle East's inaugural Bike Week

By Jamie Elvidge, Photography by Jamie Elvidge

I fall in line with the hundreds of motorcycles departing Festival City for a long, flat loop around the otherworldly metropolis of Dubai. We cross the creek and pass the old gold and spice bazaars that first spawned a hunger for wealth in Dubai; pass the fish market where men have haggled over the price of shrimp and swordfish for centuries; pass the stunning, Jetsons-esque skyline and towering Burj Dubai; pass the touristy beaches, the camel racetrack and the world's largest shopping mall; and finally back to Dubai Creek and Bike Week, where I grab a hookah pipe and fall into the nearest bean bag.

Deep Purple is on tonight's program, and "Smoke on the Water" rocks the house just as hard as it did in the '70s. Vintage rock guitar riffs and motorcycle rallies just belong together, like pizza and beer, and hot dogs and buns.

Maybe there are a few things I miss about the big motorcycle events in the States, but it's certainly not camping out in cow pastures or coleslaw wresting. Just like visiting Dubai, being present at the birth of the Middle East's first Bike Week is unforgettable. I mean, here I am, an American motorcyclist in the middle of the Arabian Desert, riding bikes and rocking out with 20,000 strangers from 100 different countries-and feeling right at home.

By Jamie Elvidge
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