The Empty Quarter -or Rub' Al Khali as it is known in the
region- is the largest sand desert in the world, encompassing
parts of the UAE, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen.
1,000km long and 500km wide, it covers an area of 650,000 km2
while its elevation varies from sea-level in the North to about
700m in the South.
The region is classified as "hyper-arid”, with less than 30mm
of annual rainfall, while maximum temperatures average 47°C
with highs above 50°C having been recorded. Some dunes are
250m high (the Ski Dubai hill is only 85m).
The aim of BRAK is to successfully complete the first ever
crossing of the Rubh’ Al Khali (Empty Quarter) by bicycle. The
expedition will be unsupported, but assisted by means of
pre-laid caches containing food, water, and essential spares.
Max is no stranger to long, drawn out,‘impossible’ expeditions. Besides climbing the Seven Summits and skiing to both poles. His latest adventure across the Indian Ocean in 2013 earned Max and his crew two Guinness World Records, and made him the only person ever to have climbed Everest, skied to both poles and rowed an ocean.
Steve, aged 51 and originally from the UK, is an experienced endurance athlete who continues to compete at the highest level. In 2015 he had the honour of captaining Great Britain’s foremost ultra-runners to World and European Team Gold’s at the IAU World Championships held in Turin, Italy. In doing so he also achieved a personal best, covering a leg-and-mind numbing 252.8 km within the 24-hour time limit.
Steve has also been an active mountain biker for many years, and whilst based in Syria chaired the Damascus Mountain Bike Club. As part of this he pioneered many single and multi-day routes, in Syria, Jordan and Lebanon. During a subsequent posting to Norway, he was actively involved in X-C MTB racing.
Currently Steve is based in Muscat, where he is employed with Petroleum Development Oman. His background as a geoscientist working in integrated asset teams has provided a solid foundation for many aspects of expedition planning.
Steve is married with two kids, currently study at universities in Holland and Denmark.
Gear: Every piece of kit has been minutely chosen to be
light, efficient, and sturdy at the same time. Space and
aircraft-grade materials were used and tested, including
carbon fiber, titanium, goose down and CTF³ Cuben Fiber
Fabric. Each tent weighs a feathery 400g and the stove is
only 12 grams.
Bikes: The bikes chosen for this particular journey aren't
exactly found at the local bike shop... Carefully
assembled by experts in California from various
specialized components, the Fat Bikes have been tested
and tried extensively. Be it the 5 inch tires, the 100mm
carbon rims, the internal gear hub or the carbon
belt drive, each component is the lightest possible while,
at the same time, being robust enough to withstand the
rigours of this out-of-the-ordinary journey.
The frames were made-to-measure, and the frame bags
were custom-made for each frame for an optimum
Technology: State of the art techniques, including the
integration of satellite imagery with NASA SRTM digital
elevation data will be used to navigate through the sand
dunes and choose the most efficient route southward.
Procedures will be in place to ensure that the daily food
and water supplies can be located with optimum
accuracy. Satellite-based voice and data systems
together with solar charging capability will form the basis
of a robust communications network throughout.