Adventures in Oman - cycling a Muscat coastal route


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Middle East » Oman » Muscat » Seeb
December 28th 2019
Published: December 28th 2019
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Yippee I now have a bike, unpacked and ready to go! I decided to do a quick pre brekkie recce to get the lay of the land. To be honest I am a little concerned about the road system around Muscat. There are too many massive five, six or even seven lane highways and spaghetti junctions that appear to be designed by someone on crack. My two attempts to drive the (allegedly) 8km back from the airport have involved at least 20kms detours thanks to incomprehensible signage, unnavigable intersections and getting stuck on the wrong side of the motorway just 200 meters away from my hotel but with no ability to get over on the right side. Just a little frustrating especially when coming straight from a red eye flight. So who knows how this is going to pan out on a bike...

For my 7am coastal flip I decided to head up the coast past the airport for about 30-40mins along the lesser highway which I failed to find en route in the car from the airport each time. Up until the airport it was a three laner but at that time of day, blissfully free of traffic. I even spotted a few other cyclists, mainly of the time triallist variety, so it clearly was at least legal to cycle along there! After the airport it narrowed to a standard main road, before getting to the town of As Seeb where I then veered down to the coastal road which was lovely. Definitely one for later. Then back for brekkie and a bit of pool time.

I finally scraped myself off the sun lounger at about 1.30pm, heading out on my bike at 2pm. As sun down is around 5.30pm I had to be a bit mindful of that in order to prevent navigating the hard shoulder of the motorway in the pitch dark. I took the same route out as in the morning and then followed the coastal route up as far as I could before it peeled away from the coast and funnelled me back onto the motorway again. Ho hum. A quick check of the map indicated that the stretch of riding on the hard shoulder only needed to be a couple of kms before I could take a parallel service road, before heading once again back to the coast. All good in theory, but the coast seemed to be somewhat illusive at this point. I followed a pretty derelict service road past a few camels grazing mournfully under massive pylons like platoons of marching giants across the scrappy barren land, with any hope of finding another beautiful stretch of coastline overlooking the Arabian Sea slowly dissipating away. The time was also slowly dissipating away, so I finally decided to throw the towel in and head for home.

The problem with the reverse direction was that I was now on the wrong side of the highway. Once again I took the two way service road, but it finally peterred out. I tried to find an alternative option but there was a prison like compound in the way, so the only option available was going the wrong way down the hard shoulder. From what I could work out it should be quite a short section, but still far from ideal. Needless to say it did wonders for my fan club, with lots of beeping to encourage me on my way 👏👍😜

Not too far along there was a roundabout so I was then able to cross to the other side where I alternated between the pot holed, speed bumpy service road and the hard shoulder, eventually making it home with 15mins to spare before sun down.

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