It was impossible to predict what nature would offer next, rich greenery, bright blue lakes or colourful towns.
470 km of switch backs and long sweepers lay ahead and every corner signalled a change in scenery. On one side, rich golden brown mountain ranges faded into soft yellows and purples which stretched away over the horizon. On the other, snow capped mountains with white peaks poked the pale blue skies.
It was impossible to predict what nature would offer next, rich greenery, bright blue lakes or colourful towns. Children ran to the bikes at every stop, hands outstretched, eyes hopeful for pennies and sweets. It was a world away from European life, where clothes are washed mechanically, not in nearby streams.
In our world, grandmothers can rest and enjoy their retirements, not carry great bundles of grass on their backs to feed the family donkey. The difference between the cultures was as stark as the changes in landscape.
The two wheeled procession weaved along under the gaze of the draw dropping Atlas Mountains towards Merzouga, where the Super Teneres left asphalt and ventured off road. After a few kilometres of riding into apparently nowhere, the black rough ground began to soften.
Sprawling deep sand led to the foot of the Erg Chebbi dunes, which stretch across thirty kilometres in width for around nine kilometres into the distance towards Algeria and the eventual expanse of the Sahara Desert. Cosy bivouacs were arranged in a semi circle at the foot of the dunes, and as the motorcade was welcomed with traditional music and mint tea, each rider was given their own private quarters to shower and change for the evening’s dinner and entertainment.