Amman - Aqaba Buses - With a bike!
Replies: 7 - Last Post: Sep 26, 2011 9:49 AM Last Post By: irregularirishman
Sep 11, 2011 3:03 AM
I'm going on a brief jaunt along the length of Jordan for ten days with a friend and we are riding bicycles.
The theory is to fly into Amman, stay one night, get a bus down to Aqaba with the bikes then ride back via the King's Highway and all the usual side trips.
The bikes are the worry. Does anyone think they would cause a problem? Obivously we dont want them to get damaged... Would it just cost a bit extra to put the bike in the luggage compartment?
If anyone had any advice on the best way to do this, I would be very grateful...
Sep 11, 2011 8:30 AM
1Are you? Bikes with JETT were not a problem according to an Aussie couple of long distance cyclists who had used the service from Aqaba up to Amman. They had already cycled the journey backwards and forwards a couple of times to arrange visas in Amman for their next trip.
They did mention to me though, it's a bitch cycling out of Aqaba on the road north as it's a steady up hill climb, and you are sharing it with all the heavy lorries, that have delivered or have collected from the port using the same road.
I have never cycled it, but sitting on a bus, I could clearly see what they had been refering to.You may want to reconsider your route.
But back to the cycles they were not required to dismantle the bikes at Aqaba, and hung them up with bungees inside one of the underside luggage compartments. The driver they said was pleased, as the inside of the luggage compartment did not become dirty, as the bikes travelled upright. They may have given the driver an extra JD as a sweetener. May the wind be on your back.
Sep 11, 2011 9:29 AM
Sep 11, 2011 9:36 AM
Sep 11, 2011 11:40 AM
4Hmmm, this is interesting and might influence which way around we do things.
The idea was to fly in to Amman and bus down to Aqaba in order to get the potential bus-bike headache out of the way and concentrate on riding and having fun back to Amman. This way, there's less chances of being stranded in Aqaba with bikes and an impending flight.
If you are saying that the bus wont be a problem with the bikes then we should be able to swap the itinerary around. The thought of freewheeling a lot of the way is far too tempting a prospect to miss!
Thanks for the tips. Any other advice would be welcomed too.
Sep 11, 2011 8:46 PM
5I was in Aqaba a week or so ago driving down from Amman. What I can say is that the 'hill' out of Aqaba has various grades but goes on for about 80km, no kidding. That's where the terrain changes from gravelly desert to starting to be sandier desert nearer to Aqaba. There is a bit of an escarpment that is the 'border' between the two.
Bear in mind that Aqaba is at zero feet and Amman is at 740m to 1200m(?) above sea level.
Sep 19, 2011 3:01 AM
Sep 26, 2011 9:49 AM
7Just spotted this now so I'm not sure if you will get this before you go. I did the same route back in June (Aqaba - Amman Airport.) It shouldn't make too much of a difference which way you go. The winds supposedly generally blow from south to north (although they didn't for me!),so once you get the climb from Aqaba out of the way it should be an easier cycle and you won't have to worry about catching a bus later in the trip. Also if you do it this way you don't have to go into the chaos of Amman on the way back. You can spend your last night in the quieter town of Madaba and cycle the 30km to the airport the next day. So I'd probably reccommend getting the bus to Aqaba and cycling back but you'll be grand either way!
The good news is the driving is fairly good in Jordan, I had heard bad things before going but the standard was very good. I was especially surprised at how friendly the truck drivers were on the Desert Highway out of Aqaba, they gave me loads of room and loads of shouts of encouragement. The only bad thing was all the fumes! It was a huge difference from all the truck drivers in Europe who nearly try to barge you off the road!
I was only in the country for a week so I don't have too much advice but the main thing I'd warn about are the groups of children along the King's Highway. As you probably know the King's Highway is fairly famous in cycling circles for the gangs of stone throwing children. For some reason there seems to be a lot of resentment towards cyclists in the area. Excerpt from Lonely Planet:
There is no way to cycle along the King's Highway without getting stoned. We read it in your guidebook before leaving, but thought that kids would not stone three male adults with beards and long trousers who are looking angry. We were wrong. And there are not only some groups of kids who try to stone you, but basically it's becoming a major hobby for all male children between three and 20… Cycle in the morning when children are at school
The good news is that when I passed through I didn't get anything thrown at me. There were a few kids that had picked up stones that they were ready to throw at me but I either slowed down and started talking to them in (basic) arabic or shouted "police" while pointing behind me. Luckily none of them threw anything at me in the end! I'm not sure of the best way to deal with it but this seemed to work for me. I was reading one couple's blog who went through a few months before me. Unfortunately they weren't so lucky and were attacked nearly every day by gangs of kids with stones, were spat at and even had some guy swing a wooden plank at them out the window of a car. I don't mean to come across too negatively, the King's Highway is a fantastic road to cycle (the best I've cycled in the world so far) but be prepared for a small bit of stoning! I wore conservative clothing while on the bike (tracksuit pants and t-shirt) so this may help but I'm not sure, in the end I guess it's just luck whether you'll run into any of these kids or not.
On a brighter note most of the kids I met in Jordan were exceedingly friendly. It's just a few places along the King's Highway where they have taken up the above hobby. I hope you have a great trip, it really is a fantastic country to cycle in. I hope I have not come across too negatively but I said it would be better to warn you in case it came as a big shock on the road! Anyway you should have a brilliant time over there. Also I have a short blog of the trip if you want to see the route I took through the country or where I stayed etc. If you have any questions at all or you want to see the blog please give me a shout.
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