How Abu Dhabi became the hottest cycling city in the world

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Abu Dhabi (CNN) – Car vacations are a common sight in the images of a walk in France, a baguette held in the hands, or a wind ride on the paved roads weaving their own. way in cities like Copenhagen or Amsterdam.

They don’t usually enter the Arabian desert, where the heat of summer and the intense midday sun can blow up cars.

But that could change quickly.

A two -wheeler is starting to gather speed in Abu Dhabi, with huge investments pushing locals and foreigners into the residence for car experience unlike other places in the country. Earth.

Last year, it was designated by the sporting cycling association, Union Cycliste Internationale, or UCI, as a “Bike City” – the first in the Middle East and Asia received accolade. Those hot summers make it the hottest driving city in the world.

At first glance, Abu Dhabi’s driving licenses are not immediately obvious. Built with oil resources, the UAE’s largest city and surrounding countries are the base of the car. Gas prices are low, roads are wide, speed limits are very fast – outside of cities.

Take a closer look and it’s a different story. In recent years, miles of dedicated motorways have been seen along the new highways as the emirate has always established itself as the UAE’s gateway to traffic. electricity, introducing global nations and nurturing homegrown talent.

By the way, a few bike tips have been cooked up, when added to the list of other Abu Dhabi attractions, can be a great attraction for bike enthusiasts and enthusiasts alike. looking to try something completely different.

Unexpected hours

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Ricky Bautista, far right, and a group from Dubai’s Beyond the Bike cycle shop on the Al Hudayriat highway.

Barry Neild / CNN

It may involve some unsociable hours. In winter, small hikes are best for sunbathing, but from May to September, with temperatures rising around 48 C (118 F), the best time for hiking is flight before sunrise and after sunset.

That’s why friends Andy Coleman and Dan Baltrusaitis were spotted just after 6 a.m. Saturday morning pulling on their hiking boots in a parking lot in Al Hudayriat, an island south of the town where the beaches were located and the site was built. round car.

“Why I would do that, I don’t know,” Coleman laughed as the two -wheeler went on clean asphalt to start their season.

Even in the early morning, they weren’t alone. Most other cars fly around the network of circuits, from three to 10 kilometers and have a beautiful waterway. It’s flat, but a strong upland wind can make it hard.

“It’s a great experience,” said Ricky Bautista, one of the group of runners whose costumes were fused from the first glare of the sun. Bautista’s company works at a car dealership in Dubai and has been trying on the border to test free accessories in Al Hudayriat.

“I’m a beginner, but my co -workers are motorists and they tell me,‘ try it and have fun ’,” he said. “It’s really hard today because of the wind, but you change direction and you think you’re going to fly and have more fun.”

There are many other groups chasing each other’s wheels around the circuit. Men and women of all ages can be seen walking past the distant skyscraper sky of the city’s financial district. Some arrive by car and some run from home. There is a car park.

For visitors, there is a rental shop – Yas Mena Cycles – that is opening first to rent road bike rides for under $ 20 an hour. A nearby affiliate of Emirates chain Wolfi’s offers higher rents, as well as sales of cars sold for up to $ 16,000. The store is a sanctuary to the offices of UAE car manufacturer Colagno, with new and old Tour de France machines.

Healthy health

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The Abu Dhabi Cycling Club organizes cycling activities in Abu Dhabi.

Barry Neild / CNN

Located near the new swish pavilion of the Abu Dhabi Cycling Club, a non -profit organization that organizes public cycling events and sports in the emirate and works with the government to develop the practice, encourage participation. Measurement and direct investment.

Founded in 2017, the ADCC estimates about 1.7 billion dirhams ($ 460 million) was poured into traffic with 445 kilometers (277 miles) of ring road under construction. Along the way there is a new velodrome inside and a highway connecting Abu Dhabi with Dubai.

The goal is to get locals to be able to ride bicycles in a healthy way, but to entice foreigners. “One of the big goals is to get tourists to come and have a car break in Abu Dhabi,” ADCC Director Al Nukhaira Allkheli told CNN.

A private car park, Allkheli can often be found training around one of Abu Dhabi’s most important car park – the Yas Marina Circuit. The loop track race that hosts Formula One events is always open to the public for evening or morning rides.

Visitors can register themselves for a free ride on the road, with helmets and well -used road features and hybrid cars thrown in for free ( swisher horses are available for hire at a branch of the Wolfi Gate). There are changing rooms but no rain.

Even for non -F1 fans, competing on the Marina circuit was a lot of fun, with huge lizards standing on either side of the seven -kilometer loop, and a superyacht lined up with watching the trail. The voices of the people could be seen on the stage.

First -time riders will be torn between the need for speed or selfs when they turn around in the dark (avoiding looking the second way).

Surreal and satisfying


On the Al Hudayriat road there is a sea area.

Leave for culture and tourism – Abu Dhabi

More and more vacationers – and even better – bike experiences are available in Abu Dhabi.

For those unsure of breaking the news, there are quiet rental cars on the Corniche beach, or upland on the palm groves of Al Ain Oasis, Abu Dhabi’s second city. The lucky ones staying at the luxury hotel Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort in the Empty Quarter can try their hand at a luxury car ride on the sandy hills.

Hard -to -reach hikers will want to head to Jebel Hafit, Abu Dhabi’s real mountain, where an unobtrusive transit route offers spectacular views over the emirate and the opportunity to turn your feet into it. jelly.

One of the highlights of the desert is the Al Wathba highway, a highway built between places that has provided one of the most authentic and fun bike rides in Abu Dhabi.

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The Yas Marina F1 is a fun car.

Barry Neild / CNN

About an hour’s drive from town, the driveway is located in a small group of buildings that include a swimming pool and bathroom, a small shop and a car dealership. car to rent carbon dioxide tires per hour.

It was a normal race in the cooler months but in the summer, the trail was alive when the sun went down in the sky. Sun -lit street lights illuminate loopholes for up to 30 kilometers that run through the desert night.

Running alone can be fun if you don’t see it. It was quiet outside between the hills, and despite the small ponds of electric lights, it was very dark.

Nothing can stop you from exploding as fast as you can except the occasional movement of soft sand along the way. Here and there a smoke detector creates a small gap that riders need to control their nerves to run without hitting the cars.

Runs all year round

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The UCI granted Abu Dhabi Bike City status.

Barry Neild / CNN

Riding in the unseen winds of a hot desert night may seem like a good example of Abu Dhabi’s lucrative investment in a sport that doesn’t fit in its style.

But according to Isabella Burczak, UCI’s director of advertising and development, the emirate is on a brighter path to a career that has shown a resilience and strong political will behind its vision to strengthen and grow. to cycling for fun, transport and sport.

His Bike City status, he says, should help him continue to achieve those goals and provide knowledge and skills with a network of 20 Bike Cities from Bergen in Norway to Wollongong and Australia.

And – if commuters change by driving early in the morning or late, and things are done like equipment that provides rain for new commuters – the heat won’t hurt a bit.

“In all cases, hot weather, cold, I think we can have results to make sure people can use the car properly for whatever reason,” he told CNN.

And can it really compete with traditional car parking lots like France, Italy, Denmark and the Netherlands?

Thanks to that eternal desert day, it has already worked, said Aditya Bhiwandkar, an avid car enthusiast and sales assistant at Wolfi’s.

“In Europe it’s snow and rain,” he said. “But in Abu Dhabi you can actually fly 365 days a year.”

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