9 Things All Cyclists In Dubai Need To Know
The Dubai Tour 2016 is getting us in the mood to get on our bikes
It's day two and Dubai is knee deep in the Dubai Tour 2016. Not sure what it is? Basically, it's 128 world-class athletes on bikes, taking on nearly 700KM over a four-day course in the UAE. It's a big deal! Apart from the road closures, we're pretty excited and it's making us desperate to get out on our bikes (rather than be sat at our desks).
Dubai has always been popular amongst cyclists, with open, flat desert roads, but it has really taken off in the last five years with the introduction of Al Qudra cycle track. An uninterrupted 110km course in the desert, that is being constantly extended and improved to meet the demand. Not to mention the other facilities and ecosystem that has built up around this community.
So, whether you're new to cycling or you're a regular, here's ten things you need to know about cycling in Dubai...
1. Wolfies & Dubai Roadsters
There are plenty of bike shops in Dubai now, but there was a time when there were very few, Wolfies on SZR was one of the first. It was set up 13 years ago by Wolfgang Hohmann, aka Wolfie. Similarly, many cycle groups have sprung up over the years, especially as the track facilities continue to improve, however Wolfies and the Dubai Roadsters continue to do their weekly cycles on the main roads out by Meydan on the early morning hours of the weekends. The man, the shop and the roadsters are a Dubai cycling staple.
2. Cycle Safe Dubai
CSD, or Cycle Safe Dubai is another cycling community, set-up to make cycling safer. The group rides go off at 6am or 6:30am every Friday morning from the top of the stick in Al Qudra. There are rules in this group, such as: no headphones, cycle in pairs, rotate off the top, single file over the bridge and so on. They need to be adhered to, otherwise you might be victim to one of the weekly rants on their Facebook Group page. Run diligently by Stewart and Nick, the group also organises the legendary Saturday Morning Coffee run (read no.3 below), and it's one of the best ways to get into, and enjoy your cycling in Dubai. You will spot their jerseys on the track in white, blue and yellow, sponsored by Fitness First amongst others.
3. Coffee Run
This isn't a run, it's a cycle. But, it's like a dash for coffee. Whether you've had a long cycle on Friday or you aren't up to a big training session at the weekend. the Saturday Morning Coffee run to Bab Al Shams is for you. It's starts as with all CSD group rides at 6am (Summer), 6:30am (Winter) at the bottom of the stick in Al Qudra and is approx 25km to Bab Al Shams. There, having placed your order for your coffee of choice, you dismount the bike, swap the cliques for the provided slippers and stroll into the outside terrace area for breakfast. You contribute 40 AED per person, refuel, have a chat, before getting back on the bike for the return leg. A leisurely ride and a nice way to start a Saturday.
4. Revolution Wednesdays @ Dubai Autodrome
Another fixture on the weekly cycle circuit, the Dubai Autodrome opens its gates to the public on Wednesday evenings from 6-9pm. The event, which is free to attend, is run by Revolution Cycles, who have a store in Dubai Motor City (you can hire a bike there for the event too). The carpark is usually packed with hundreds of cars and visitors range from serious triathletes to casual family cyclists. One lap of the track is approx. 2.5km, quite a speed can be built up leading into the first corner and it's enjoyable taking the chicanes on a bike. People often get off the bike and run around the track as well.
5. Rent a Bike on the Lollipop
Ok, first of all to explain The Lollipop. The Al Qudra track, consists of a straight line 17km 'stick' out, then it diverts into a 50km 'loop', when you put these together, you get a 85km lollipop. Cyclists can choose to start at the stick, or at the loop, depending on the distance they'd like to cover. There's a cafe that opens in the early hours at the weekend, and Trek Bikes are based there too, so you can rent a bike or get any necessary gear.
6. New Cycling Track @ District One
This week saw the opening of a new cycling track in Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum City-District One. It's near Meydan, beside the hotel. The surface is state of the art.
7. Post-Cycle Breakfast Spots
Depending on where you live, Motor City is always a handy pitstop on the way home from Al Qudra, and there is nowhere better for a post-cycle paleo breakfast than the Cycle Bystro, you can even get your bike serviced at Cycle Hub or pick up some new gear.
8. Bike Shops - Where to Start?
We are lucky in Dubai to have so many quality bike shops, with virtually all brands and models available. And if not, the knowledgable staff are likely to be able to get their hands on them for you. In addition to the aforementioned Wolfies, Revolution and Cycle Hub, another excellent bike shop is Giant & Ride Bike Shop, a 5,000 sq. ft. store on Sheikh Zayed Road. It's founder Shahriar Khodjasteh is a passionate cyclist and does a lot to promote it in the region, particularly in Dubai and Doha, you know you are getting sound advice when you go to his store.
9. Bespoke Ride Training Centre
Last, but not least, for those who are serious about their performance, checking out Bespoke Ride is a must. Based in Al Quoz, they offer a scientific approach to training. Ideal for pure cyclists or triathletes. It's unique to the region and 'the only cycling studio and endurance studio in Dubai', they focus on power and optimising performance for all levels.