Biking al Rub al Khali


‘Growing Beyond his Potential’ yet again, Maxime Chaya is ready to embark on his next big adventure. From the high mountain, via the poles and the high seas, Chaya is now ready for the desert. Not any desert, but the desert of deserts, the one that de es every understanding of survival:
The Empty Quarter.

The largest sand desert in the world, the Empty Quarter -or Rub’ Al Khali’-encompasses parts of the UAE, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen. This “hyper-arid” region, with less than 30mm of annual rainfall, records average temperatures of 47°C with highs above 50°C.

This 650,000 km2 desert, with sand dunes as high as 250m, is the what that adventurer Maxime Chaya (Lebanon) and his team mate, ultra-marathon runner Steve Holyoak (UK) will attempt to cross... by bike. Yes, pushbikes!

Maxime and Steve will begin pedalling from Dubai South (UAE) in December 2016 and are expected to reach Salalah (Oman) within 3 weeks. They will cycle between 50km and 80km every day, unsupported. Their food and water (8,000 Calories and 20 Litres per person per day) and essential supplies have been placed at pre-determined points, inside the sand. These pre-laid caches have been minutely marked with GPS coordinates, since their survival will depend.

The aim of BRAK is to successfully complete the rst ever crossing of the Rubh’ Al Khali (Empty Quarter) by bicycle, and it all falls in Chaya’s basic message of ‘There is an Everest for Everyone’. Maxime believes that our youth and those of the region have immense potential which often goes untapped because of the ongoing turmoil and uncertainty. Chaya aims, through his daunting adventures, to inspire the youth to nd their ‘Everest’ and climb it.



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.



The selected route is represented by a green line on the map. This is a roughly north - south traverse from Abu-Dhabi (UAE) to Salalah (Oman), via the Empty Quarter.

A careful study of ICARDA average temperatures, humidity and wind levels revealed that this type of crossing is only possible during the winter months.

At the planned UAE/Oman crossing point there is no official border post. A fall back is one of the official road crossings from UAE to Oman.Estimated distance is 1400 – 1500km, expected to take approximately 3 weeks. Expected departure: December 2016.



Maxime Chaya: ( 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 Holyoak: In addition to enjoying the challenge of multi-day mountain biking adventures, Steve is an established ultra-runner. Being capable of running 250km non-stop in 24 hours, he has been chosen to lead the GB team as captain at the 2015 Ultra Marathon Championships in Italy.



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 carrying capacity.

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.