Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a land surrounded by desert that focuses on oil production as its main export to the world. However, it is also a growing city with a diverse set of interests. One of those interests, which the Nice News website mentions in a current article and that I’ve noted here on the blog in prior blog posts, is cycling.
Cycling, in fact, is such an intense activity in the city, Abu Dhabi received the designation of an official “bike city” from the Union Cycliste International (UCI). That means it is considered a hub of cycling activity. In fact, the city has many designated bike paths and plans to increase its cycling infrastructure to include an enclosed cycleway and an indoor cycling arena.
Quick History of Abu Dhabi
In Arabic, Abu Dhabi means “father of gazelle,” perhaps an appropriate name for a city dedicating itself so heavily to the speed-centric sport of cycling. The capital of the UAE, Abu Dhabi is on an island in the Persian Gulf with a population of 2.9 million as of 2016.
Abu Dhabi was founded in 1793 and focused on pearls and pearl diving as its main industry. That was until the 1930s when interest in pearls receded and shifted to oil production.
Cycling Outlets in Abu Dhabi
The designation as a “bike city” is understandable for Abu Dhabi when there are so many places for amateurs and advanced cyclists to ride. That makes it a unique location for a cycling vacation.
There is the area known as the Corniche Road that is 8 kilometers (5 miles) and runs alongside the Corniche beach area. Corniche Road is great for casual riding due to all the restaurants and cafes that make it easy to stop off for a quick bite to eat.
For something a little more challenging, especially for the experienced road rider who is craving a hard workout, there is the Jebel Hafit mountain. Its elevation tops out at 1,249 meters (over 4,000 feet). It is the second highest mountain in the UAE. The climb up Jebel Hafit starts at the Jebel Hafit Desert Park.
While not always open to the public except in the mornings and evenings, Yas Marina Circuit is another area cyclists can check out. Its primary use, though, is for auto racing.
Lastly, there is the Hudayriyat Mar Vista that has 10 kilometers (6 miles) of track available to cyclists. The track passes through various recreational areas and green spaces.
The emirate has its own cycling club called the Abu Dhabi Cycling Club. It was established in 2017. The club has several sponsors with a focus on cycling awareness. It is open to both amateur and advanced riders.
It’s nice to see a location like Abu Dhabi share such a strong affinity for all things cycling. And the fact that the emirate plans to invest in even more cycling infrastructure makes it a real draw for tourists and cyclists. There aren’t many places outside of Europe that can make that claim. I’d love to see the rest of the world follow Abu Dhabi’s model.