Text + Videos: Chad Degroot.
“This is a 14 day trip to entertain the troops in the Middle East from Chad DeGroot snapchat (chadisradasadad) perspective with contributions from Rob Darden, Nate Wessel (made me do it), Catfish, Anthony Napolitan, Morgan Wade, and Drew Bezanson. You have been warned…this is a 4 part series with a lot of real talk, real situations, and uncut footage. Enjoy and share with others so you all can see what we saw on this unreal trip to a lot of undisclosed locations in the Middle East.”
“Bikes Over Baghdad trips have been going on since 2009 with more than 11 short trips planned. Only these last two in 2015 were mega trips lasting 14 days each. Entertainment is the main goal along with getting the solders minds off where they are. Very appreciative, honest hand shakes, and looking you dead in the eyes with genuine joy for what we did during the shows. This is hard to express in words. Can only be truly felt by attending a show. Numerous times being choked up was the norm. Thank you for the sacrifices and what you do for our freedom.”
“Close to 20,000 miles traveled in 15 days. Worth every mile for those smiles. Over 40k with our combined last two trips…Damn.” -Chad DeGroot
Day 1 Feeling good but watched American Sniper on the plane. I do this to myself. Great movie, really touching, glad I saw it. On a flight to Amman Jordan which I had to look on a map to figure out where the hell this place is. Horribly bad vibe on this plane. No expressions. Pissed off looks. Kinda heated. Last drop of fireball then I’ll be on the dryer for awhile which my body needs.
Day 2 Still traveling to Kuwait. Ali al Salem seems to be our hub but no shows. We need a guide or security to even go one block as rules have changed and getting stricter. Long travel days and very little sleep.
Day 3 Getting on a c-130. Packed arm to arms. Damn this is loaded. Going to Iraq. Still no shows today. Took a Blackhawk still to another base where we are going to build and do a show tomorrow.
Day 4 Taji 1st show was awesome. T-wall set up and box jump. Last time there Nate and Ron drove a tank over the ramps and crushed them. Got on a Chinook and went southwest to a heated area within 5 miles of Isis controlled area. Blackhawk guide next to us shot off a flare and scared the shit out of us all. Sleeping cot style no blankets or pillows. Very small base that used to be Saddam controlled. He buried planes to hide from USA…genius.
Day 5 Camp Havoc. Woke up to bombs going off. They moved up our show a few hours earlier to get us out before some attacks. Everyone is riding so good even with a few bikes missing and a few with no clothes. Old Boeing hanger turned into a container city with permanent residence living there. Could not image being permanent.
Day 6 We didn’t get out last night due to airplane maintenance. Our security solders were happy to change planes as the last time their plane started on fire. Did another show as we had nothing to do at Camp Havoc and it turned out to be one of our best. Solders showed up late so we kept riding and stacking clips. We get a tour of the base and witness a tank engaging in about 10 shells rocket fired to Isis between 18-25 miles away. EOD shows us around and I drive a robot over Catfish. The amount of T-walls is insane but really big business in Iraq and Kuwait.
Bikes Over Baghdad part 1
Day 7 Sully embassy or Sully compound shows were awesome with huge turnout. Experienced my first sandstorm with our eyes filled with sand. Could have been worse but really scary regardless. We’re able to drink at a lil private bar in the cut. Think we all needed some chill style and story time around the fire.
Day 8 worked another show into today but rain made us go into some basketball area which was pretty sweet and the crowd was loosing their minds. Couple c130 flights with rain delays and we end up getting to Arifjan at 7am and we’re all zombies but with a free day we sleep and chill all day.
Bikes Over Baghdad part 2
Day 9 Free day in Kuwait so we bulk up on food, wifi zombies, and I ran around the track 8 laps. We end up getting the crew to meet and eat at chilis which is quit funny but not necessary since the DFAC is dialed. Tried to watch a movie but decided more wifi in tonight’s r&b night with smooth beats from the live DJ.
Day 10 Camp Buehring meet and greets for the day only 2 hour drive. This place is sitting on tons of oil and Kuwait is paying the USA to occupy this area so to loose their oil. It’s a staging base that with 9000 troops. Full flight line tour with details on the Apache helicopter and Chinook, letting us ride in and around then. Also One of our craziest shows so far.
Day 11 Full sleep…feels good but still need more. At Arifjan for two shows. We eat a lot and some of us eat a lot of yummies. Drive past a sea of Ramadan camps in the desert.
Day 12 Commercial airlines to Doha Qatar Al Udeid air base. Off day so we could get a tour of the base starting with the fire department. Used the poles to slide down, got fully dressed, and blasted the hose. Finally was to take a tour of the property where all the Patriot missiles are ready for action…holy hell this was nuts.
Bikes Over Baghdad part 3
Day 13 Night show so free day to ride around the base and bulk up on eats. They always have a sweet line up on food so a few of us might be bulking up a bit. EOD tour, meet and greets, and talking to the troops. Could have been our best show so far. Biggest crowd and so loud. Loud. Loud. We enjoyed a few drinks and story time with the troops while watching football.
Day 14 Last show was awesome and everyone killed it. No holding back. We’re all packed and going to Souks in Downtown Doha to get food and shopping. Then airport for 17 hour flight. Great trip.
Bikes Over Baghdad part 4
Here is a THANK YOU and GO FOLLOW info:
@catfishvsthug @mykellarrin @anthonynapo @drewbezanson @chaddegroot @livewireconstruction @wesselbuilt @texasmwade @mulligan4130 @zachschauf @christianschauf @armedforcesent @dkbicycles @texaspetesauces @torquebmx #bikesoverbaghdad @darden4130 @bikesoverbaghdad #decobmx @decobmx #pbte @profile_racing #growbmx #bmx
“Special thanks to the crew for allowing me to show flatland to round out our show to perform all aspects of freestyle bmx. Where my bike has brought me blows my mind and fills me with stories and good times. To travel the world is helping me be rich in knowledge and experience which brings smiles and laughter…how it should be. Thanks” -Chad D