The Lebanon may be a small country, but it’s also scenically beautiful, richly varied in nature and culturally diverse. Its climate ticks every box, from the Mediterranean warmth of its coastline to the winter wonderland of its mountain regions; here it really is possible to ski in the morning and swim in the sea in the evening. Large areas of the country are extremely fertile and used for agricultural purposes. Antique cultural monuments tell of the country’s great history, replete with schisms and change. And its people are liberally minded, like to travel and know a bit about the world. As well as the official language of Arabic, the majority of the almost 6.2 million population also speak excellent French.
So this is indeed a land of beauty, where the temperature often soars and it only rains for any significant time in the winter. All of which makes it the perfect place to discover on two wheels. To this end, BMW Motorrad Club Lebanon organises a wide variety of trips and get-togethers which allow this lavishly varied land to be experienced in impressive depth.
Joe Feghali, BMW Motorrad Manager from Beirut, certainly needs no convincing: “When I’m out on my motorbike there are no limits. You can ride wherever you want and feel nature right up close.” Joe got his first bike when he was a mere 14. And today he wouldn’t be without his GS.
Welcome to our family.
Flick through the pictures from club outings past and you will come face-to-face with the barren mountains, verdant landscapes and ancient sites at the heart of a region so steeped in history. But you will also see something else, namely the enjoyment and excitement in the faces of the club members. They joined our large club family this September and we’re delighted to be able to introduce a few of their number to you here.
Open to all.
BMW Motorrad Club Lebanon is open to all fans of the brand, regardless of preference for older or brand-new models. Meetings are a central element of club life and, of course, a helping hand and crucial tip are never far away. An informal, friendly atmosphere prevails among the roughly 115 members of the club and laughter is a frequent soundtrack. Not without reason are Lebanese people viewed as western in outlook and open-minded in attitude.
Further evidence to this effect is provided by the many female members of the club, who prefer to ride their own machines than take a back seat as a passenger. Tania Tabet, for example, says she’s been a motorbike fan since the age of six. Today, she swears by her red BMW F 700 GS.
Jad Akhawi loves to ride his 1200 GSA around those corners of his country he does not yet know. The bearded Akhawi is an explorer in a similar mould to his club-mate Ziad Samaha, who also likes to take his GS 800 on rider training courses. Nabil Choueiter, meanwhile, has tried pretty much everything out for size – road bikes, enduros, sports machines, touring models. So he’s the quintessential all-rounder, and has accumulated a vast pool of experience. Earlier this year he made his second appearance as a guest at the BMW Motorrad Days event in Garmisch. And then there’s Caroll Feghali, who in his capacity as BMW Tour Guide runs motorcycle tours around his native land, and Ziad Ismail, who organises trips to Europe. Ismail has been showing avid touring riders around the continent’s most alluring locations on their BMW bikes since 2008.
Learning makes it even more fun.
Learning how to do things better is another key tenet of BMW Motorrad Club Lebanon. After all, the country’s smorgasbord of under-wheel surfaces can present something of a challenge. Riders should expect to encounter the full gamut of roads (from the pretty much spotless to the barely recognisable) and experiences – from sweeping merrily across vast expanses to battling up hill and down dale amid rugged mountains.
Do not fear, though: rider training programmes are available that combine off-road and on-road exercises overseen by experienced trainers from Germany and Austria. Club member Raymond Nawar was buzzing after completing a two-day course – as was Paul Bou Ryeily, who also took part in a training event in the Alps in late October which was visited by an early fall of snow. Now there’s a challenge for you.
Club member Salim Joumblatt, meanwhile, has achieved something very special: Salim is the first BMW on-road international instructor in the Middle East, having completed his training and passed the necessary examination in Germany.
Local and international.
BMW Motorrad Club Lebanon is part of the worldwide BMW club scene, which has grown into a well-established network under the patronage of BMW Group Classic. At its core are relationships forged between clubs, the sharing of information and, not least, the opportunities for fans from different clubs to meet up in person.
So should you now feel inspired to explore the Lebanon by motorcycle, you can be safe in the knowledge that there will be like-minded people not too far away to get together with and seek advice and assistance from. “Choose your companion before you choose your road,” as they say in Arabic.