I’m not going to pretend I’m a historian. The American public school system offers little knowledge of the Middle East’s cultural history beyond the belief that Mesopotamia was one of our world’s earliest established civilizations. The American public school system also doesn’t promote mountain biking as a way to learn world history. That being said, I’m also not going to pretend that riding bikes through Oman’s Al Hajar Mountain Range taught me some sort of in-depth history lesson about the region’s culture and traditions. What I can say is that the ancient ruins and forts that populate Oman’s landscape usher a peculiar sense of connection to what I assume are our ancestors.
Thousands of years no longer seems like that long of a time when you are riding a bike through these ancient cities. The history is tangible. It flies by you as you carve turns through its ancient, narrow streets. It seeps into your dreams as you lay down under the stars, surrounded by the walls of an abandoned village that is perched on the side of a canyon wall.
Back when I was a kid in school, I loved to ride my bike. It was simply fun and a part of being a kid. If you’d told me then that what was being force-fed to me in a textbook would come to life and have greater significance if I just kept riding my bike…I would’ve thought you were crazy. I would have written it off as some sort of adult talk. Or maybe I would’ve taken you seriously and stopped riding my bike for fear that it was a subliminal tool for adults trying to get kids to focus on school.
Turns out, riding a bike is still just good clean fun. It just so happens that it can take us back in time.