Six Emirati motorcyclists will set out on a trip across eight countries in Europe to promote the UAE’s bid to host Expo 2020 in Dubai. 
The World Expo takes place every five years for a period of six months and attracts millions of people from all over the world.
The UAE is bidding to host the World Expo 2020 in Dubai under the theme ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’. If the bid is successful, Dubai will become the first country in the Middle East to host the event.
“We were honoured to be chosen to represent Expo 2020. Just being allowed to have the Expo 2020 logo on our bikes is a great responsibility that we take pride in,” said team member Sami Hassan 33, who works in Dubai Police.
The Dubai riders will leave on August 23, and will visit Italy, the winner of Expo 2015, and other European countries for a period of three weeks. They will represent the UAE by travelling across Europe on their bikes decorated with their UAE flag and Dubai Expo 2020 logo.
The Emirati team will first fly to Greece and then to Italy, Austria, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Sweden and Holland.
The team was established in 2008 when its members wanted to change the perception of motorbike drivers by becoming an official team that represents the UAE in a positive manner.
“People, especially Arabs, think that motorcycle riders are irresponsible and dangerous drivers. We are trying to change this perception by driving in a safe and organised manner at all times. We also take part in different community and health awareness events such as breast cancer campaigns, thalassaemia support initiatives, the National Day and many more,” added Hassan.
The team members also told Gulf News that they formed the team because they were a group of old friends with a passion for motorbikes and they wanted to combine their passion with community work.
Among the team’s recent activities was their participation in an annual event organised by the International Motorcycling Federation which aims to break the Guinness World Records for the largest motorbike assembly. It was the first time that the UAE took part in this event.
Team member Nasser Al Falasi, 32, who also works in Dubai Police, said that he was excited to take part and he considered his trip as a thank you to his country.
“I think that it is a nice way of paying back my country which has given me so much. We hope that we will be able to represent our country in a good light and we are optimistic that we will win. I think that winning is important because it will make Dubai more international than it already is,” added Al Falasi.
When all the team members were asked about the challenges that they might face, they said that their biggest worry is encountering any mechanical problems while motorcycling.
All the team members except for one are married and with kids. Married member Saleh Al Sharif, 33, who works in health-care management, said that his family is supportive of his motorcycling.
“Though they do worry about my safety, they know that I love motorcycling and so respect my passion. They support me by making shirts and posters to cheer for our team.”
All expenses for this trip and all other previous trips are personally funded by the team members. Though it can be expensive, Al Sharif says that it is worth it. “When it comes to supporting our country we don’t think twice even if it means high expenses. It is the least we can do to pay back the UAE.”
The rest of the team members are Obaid Al Raihy 33, who works in Dubai police; Mohammad Zayed, 36, who works in health-care management; Fahd Al Alili, 34, who works in interior affairs; and Abdullah Al Mansouri, 32, a businessman.
The team will return to the UAE on September 13.