Video & Photo Story: Riding Dunes in Morocco with Olly Wilkins

May 30, 2020
by Focus Bikes  


bigquotesWhen I received my newest Focus Sam I fell in love with the colour instantly and could only think of one thing. I had always wondered whether it would be possible to ride the steep-sided dunes I had seen on nature documentaries. The Sahara seemed a far fetched prospect. Certainly not a good one for riding purposes. The SAM was a sign though! I had to do it. I called up my friends Roo and Ben and we booked our flights. Olly Wilkins

Photo by Rupert Fowler

Photo by Rupert Fowler
We travelled to Marrakech knowing that the entire process might be fruitless. The 10-hour drive across the Atlas Mountains was filled with excitement for the dunes despite this. The lack of anything but sand as far as the eyes could see. The 10-hour drive through amazing baron scenery finally came to an end when the dunes first caught our eyes on the horizon.


Photo by Rupert Fowler
Photo by Rupert Fowler
Photo by Rupert Fowler
Photo by Rupert Fowler

bigquotesI built my Sam before nightfall and pushed my bike up the nearest dune. I repeatedly went over the bars and retired for the evening worried that I might not get a single turn in the deep sand. We decided that for our best shot at making the dunes rideable we needed to head to the tallest dunes in sight. Upon dropping into the steepest face we could find I had a run that mimicked powder snowboarding. It really was amazing. From that point on I knew it was possible and we searched for the perfect dune run. In all the shots we took you can see it was our first runs down as we didn’t want to taint the next shot with our tyre prints. Now I know how snowboarders feel!

Photo by Rupert Fowler

bigquotesI don’t know about anyone else, but I spend my life wondering if I can ride down stuff. The fields at the side of the road become doubles. The roof-stair gap at the local shops consumes my brain when I should really be thinking about other things. Well, maybe I shouldn’t. I’ve been lucky enough to look at features and ride them. Fortunate enough to travel to weird locations on a whim. Maybe, just maybe, the subjects of my thoughts might be rideable. Even if the riding doesn’t work, the adventure will be fun regardless right?!

Photo by Rupert Fowler

Photo by Rupert Fowler

Photo by Rupert Fowler

Photo by Rupert Fowler

Photo by Rupert Fowler

Photo by Rupert Fowler

Photo by Rupert Fowler

Photo by Rupert Fowler

Photo by Rupert Fowler

Photo by Rupert Fowler

Photo by Rupert Fowler
Photo by Rupert Fowler
Photo by Rupert Fowler
Photo by Rupert Fowler

Photo by Rupert Fowler
The full trip was documented on my dad cam and my GoPro as well as some amazing shots from Roo. This is easily the craziest lengths I’ve ever gone for a bike check but an amazing adventure all the same. Great colour match between the dunes and the bike you must agree!!!!

Worth it?
I think so.




14 Comments

  • 11 0
 Rad to see some In-sand-ity! I rode these dunes in the late 90's with my little brother (on boards and an old RMB Pipeline) and came back a few years later to shoot a segment for the movie Kranked 3 in the rockier Atlas Mountains with Tarek Rasouli and Dimitri Coste. We also did a super fun chase scene through the markets of Marrakech where I got killed by a sprocket throwing star! Great memories.
  • 1 0
 Very cool. We were trying to picture you bike chase when we stayed in Marrakech
  • 13 0
 Wow. That is a big effort to go ride in sand.
  • 5 4
 I bet nobody would pay their own money to go ride there, it's just for "epic" shots for sponsors... doesn't even look fun at all sorry maybe it's just me
  • 1 0
 @ice7: actually weirdly was fun and the trip was mega. Very hard to ride but when up to speed, strangly satisfying
  • 10 1
 Watch out for the sand worms.
  • 4 0
 ... probably would have come to colorado and gone to the great sand dunes... for 5 min and then went to actually ride trails haha
  • 3 0
 Just sand it!
  • 1 0
 what are these x shocks like? any good?
  • 1 0
 xfusion
  • 1 0
 Worth it for those banger shots!
  • 1 0
 Bloody hell
  • 1 0
 U looked like Obi Wan!
  • 2 0
 That's Olly Wan; can be no other.

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