Forum home Mountain biking forum The Crudcatcher

riding in conflict.

Mike GillMike Gill Posts: 24
edited November 2008 in The Crudcatcher
How many people would be interested in riding in a former (recent) conflict country? This is still in the "idea" phase at the moment; I'm just asking to find out how many would be interested; it's not going to be for the fainthearted though. I would ask any MTB instructors to get in touch please; mainly for advice.

Nothing is definate yet; however; I am speaking to the right people in country.


  • papasmurf.papasmurf. Posts: 2,382
    I'd liek to try the former Yugoslav states if it wasn't for the mines and stuff.
  • Papasmurf; the Balkans is disney world compared to this place.
  • BmjboyBmjboy Posts: 680
    Im assuming this would be for charity? Im sure if it was a Help for Heroes based project you would get some interest especially from serving and ex-servicemen.

    If its as bad as you suggest, getting clearance would be near impossible and no doubt some armed/support vehicles would need to be hired.
    "I don't do double-entendres, but I do like to slip a big one in occasionally"

    Giant Trance X2 / Garmin Edge 305 / Empty Wallet
  • @ Bmjboy - Getting permission and clearance is something that is being looked into at the moment; security is something that I do for a living; so it goes without saying that that issue will be covered in depth. I have heard of that charity; being a former soldier; it's definately worth considering.
  • I'm an mtb instructor, what advice do you need?
    Burls Ti Tourer for Tarmac, Saracen aluminium full suss for trails
  • BmjboyBmjboy Posts: 680
    I dont think the general public will do it "just for fun" with so many of our lads coming back from Iraq etc with critical injuries etc you would need to associate with a suitable charity either home-based or for families/children of the country in question.
    "I don't do double-entendres, but I do like to slip a big one in occasionally"

    Giant Trance X2 / Garmin Edge 305 / Empty Wallet
  • What are you planning? Guided MTB tours out there, or are you just wondering if people want to do a 'one off'?
  • Blanket response - and thanks to those who e-mailed me. The general idea would be to provide guided tours; fully supported and some other activities included. The target country's tourism industry is a growth industry; and I have direct contact with the minister (among others).

    Advice wise - I'm not an instructor; so I would need advice on organising expeditions and all the legal implications.

    I don't want to use this forum as a marketing tool; however; if you want more information please feel free to contact me by e-mail [email protected]
  • A quick up date for those who have been asking which country it is - it's Kurdistan; I'm currently there waiting to meet various key people and take a look at the ground for potential routes. For anyone concerned about security and safety; Google it. Yes it is next to Iraq; and no; the locals are not Arabs they are Kurds; big difference.
  • I spent 4 days in Kurdistan; driving around the northern part of the country; it looks fantastic!! I also managed to meet some key people who are willing to help out where they can; I've mentioned before that the tourism indusrty is a growth industry in Kurdistan and the locals are very interested in any idea that will bring people to thier country. I intend to organise a charity ride first; I will provide those details as soon as I have touched base with the organisations. I've also approached some US and UK companies reference sponsorship; they seemed pretty keen on the idea.
    For further information please contact me at [email protected]
  • Spider987Spider987 Posts: 189
    Im a bit gutted finding out it was a guided route (No offense)
    I wouldnt mind doing a ride for chairty there, and i know a few people who would join me.
    Maybe it would be some good publicity for you?
  • @ spider; the reason it will be guided to begin with is that there has to be some local involvement; once I'm sure that all the support in country is squared away and everything has been done legally then I'd be happy to suggest people can visit and ride. However; until I've actually riden there; proved some routes and made arrangements I'm not prepared to do that; hence the charity ride. I've been in touch with help for heroes and waiting for a response.
  • Spider987Spider987 Posts: 189
    When you say guided do you mean signs or someone with you showing the way?
  • HI spider, Kurdistan is untapped virgin MTB country; but it's along way off becoming a holiday destination. From what I've seen around Dohuk there is definately scope for some trails; which leads to the question of accommodation etc. I am addressing that issue; but please remember that the country still operates on the tribal system; you can't just rock up somewhere and start riding. The charity ride will give MTB alot of positive exposure; which in turn will pave the way for future plans. It has taken 18 months for me to just to get into the country and start to meet the right people.
  • Spider987Spider987 Posts: 189
    Alright it sounds like a long way off as it takes time to get things done.
    So if it did go ahead do u mean guided with another rider then?
  • clarksonclarkson Posts: 1,641
    yes guided with another rider. waymarked routes in an conflict zone/ex conflict zone? bit risky!!
    I said hit the brakes not the tree!!

    2006 Specialized Enduro Expert

    2008 Custom Merlin Malt 4

    2008 GT Avalanche Expert
  • Wow, this sounds like such a good idea. I'm all for visiting countries off the beaten track. Me and one of my pals are of to the West Bank in the summer, not to ride though.

    My mother and sister visited Northern Iraq a couple of years ago and stayed with a Kurdish family. Very friendly by all accounts.

    I look forward to hearing how this venture works out.

  • passoutpassout Posts: 4,425
    When I feel the need to ride in a primitive country, I just go to Yorkshire!

    Seriously though if there is hardly any tourism infrastructure then you'll have all kinds of challenges - hospitality been top of the list. 'If' you are charging money then customer expectations will be an issue & will need to be carefully met, managed or both. As a UK/EU business all the Helath & safety rules would apply - as it does to all UK Tour Operators abroad. Now if Thomas Cook book a Turkish hotel, for example , it has to meet our Health & Safety Standards, not theirs. If you put the time in it may well be possible though.

    I'd have a look at the competition like KE travel in Keswick. They go to India and various places MTBing. I certainly think some Market Research and a preliminary visit (as you suggest) is in order to work out if it's feasible. Personally I'd consider a few countries to asses which would be most popular with your market. Remember the old business addage, 'know your market'.

    Sounds interesting but personally I'd be happier in Spain, Greece or even Yorkshire. I guess lots of other would feel the same, so you would have to target a very narrow 'niche market'. Good luck, hope it works out.
    'Happiness serves hardly any other purpose than to make unhappiness possible' Marcel Proust.
  • Thanks for the advice passout; all noted. You're quite right; this will probably only appeal to a small number of people in the UK; but I'm hoping that the planned charity ride will give the place some positive exposure and the more adventurous riders amongst us will take advantage. How can I put photos on to these messages? If someone could let me know; I'll put a few on from my trip to Kurdistan.
  • First the pic has to be uploaded to somewhere like Photobucket. There's also Fickr, and others.

    Get the pic's URL address from it's properties (right click on pic).

    Put before%20the%20pic's%20URL%20address%20(ending%20in%20.jpg)%20then after it (no spaces).

    Preview before posting to check it has worked.

    My friends and I raised money for Help For Heroes doing an Eco-Adventure endurance type race. Good cause.


    Here's Nick's 'How to add images to your post' guide:
    More freerange chicken than Freeride God
    Bighit , 5 , BFe
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