Why Dubai has become a destination for cyclists from around the world
From converted camel tracks to safe-cycling autodromes to dedicated cycle clubs, local cyclists have always known that jumping on a bike is the perfect way to get to know the ever-changing face of Dubai. With great weather from November right through to May, cyclists are drawn to the varied terrains, state-of-the-art cycling tracks and international events. Now the emirate has become a destination for cyclists from around the world. Here are some of the great cycling tracks to check out.
Nad Al Sheba Cycle Park
Cycling heaven, the Nad Al Sheba cycle path is a converted camel track located near Meydan racecourse, offering brilliant views of Downtown Dubai and the Burj Khalifa. There are three different loops – 4km, 6km, or 8km – plus lockers, air-conditioned changing rooms and shower facilities. The course is even lit for night riding. If you want to bring the kids there is a children’s course, complete with street signs, speed bumps and roundabouts to teach young riders about safety.
Al Qudra Cycle Track
These two new cycling paths are perfect for middle- to long-distance riders. If you want something short, try the 18km path. If you prefer a longer ride, the 50km loop is for you. It opens up both the breathtaking landscape of the sand dunes as well as the five-star Bab Al Shams resort, where you can stop off for refreshments en route. The best part? You can easily hire a bike right by the Al Qudra cycle path from Trek Bikes.
The home of Safe Cycling Dubai, the Auto drome offers a closed 2.5km circuit perfect for beginners or those getting back after a break from cycling. There is no need to book, just show up and cycle. Helmets are compulsory.
Parks, Beaches and the new Dubai Water Canal
Both Al Barsha Park and Mushrif Park have excellent dedicated cycleways which are accessible while the parks are open, daily 8am to 10pm (Mushrif Park stays open to 11pm Thurs – Sat).Jumeirah Beach also has a bike path, which is only 2km long, but it’s along the beach and takes in the spectacular landmark that is the Burj Al Arab. The new Dubai Water Canal has as an enticing 12km cycling track worth checking out.
There are many reputable outlets around Dubai where you can either buy or rent high quality bicycles, helmets and accessories. A good speedometer, so you can track your ride, is also a worthwhile investment. For starters there is the popular Wolfi’s Bike Shop in Al Quoz; Trek Bikes is conveniently located at the Al Qudra Cycle Track; Revolution Cycles at the Dubai Autodrome has a great range; The Cycle Hub is also at the Auto drome and as a bonus offers the super healthy and delicious Cycle Bistro.
There are also a number of short-term-rental stations dotted around the emirate. Bike-sharing facility Byky allows you to rent a bike for up to 24 hours and even offers family fun bikes, go-karts and tricycles. There are 85 rental stations across Dubai, from downtown to the Marina and even Palm Jumeirah.
Looking to ride with a group? There a number of high quality cycling organisations in Dubai which are a great way to meet local riders. For starters there’s Cycle Safe Dubai, which hosts popular Friday morning rides at the Al Qudra Cycling track, as well as a Saturday morning coffee run to Bab Al Shams. Dubai Roadsters was one the first cycling clubs in Dubai; they organised lots of different rides throughout the year for cyclists of varying competencies.
Velo Vixens is for women of all ages who share a love of biking, while Revolution Cycles, based at the Dubai Autodrome, holds popular Wednesday night rides and provides great advice on the best bikes, accessories and nutrition.
The number of cycling events in Dubai has grown markedly in recent years. The premier event is the Dubai Tour, 31 January to 4 February 2017. Now in its fourth year, the five-stage tour welcomes many of the best teams and sprinters from around the world, including Marcel Kittel from Germany and Brit Mark Cavendish, all competing for the Circle of Stars trophy. Under the Cycle Challenge Dubai umbrella is Spinneys Dubai 92 Cycle Challenge. This is the largest cycling event in the Middle East, attracting 1,850 riders in past events. As the title suggests, it stretches over 92km and has lots of different categories including an Under 16 and a corporate challenge option.
Cycling rules to remember:
- Cyclists need to wear a helmet; they’re available in bike shops or from sport stores in the major malls.
- You can’t ride your bike on major roads or highways: use the dedicated cycle paths provided.
- Don’t ride on pedestrian pathways.
- Double seat riding is not allowed, unless the bike is designed for two.
- Use front and rear lights for night rides. Wearing reflective clothing is also advisable.
- Drink water before, during, and after cycling.