It’s common knowledge that Dubai is a glamorous playground filled with iconic architecture and surreal attractions. But beyond the city’s many glittering allures awaits one of the UAE’s fastest-growing adventure activities.
In recent years, cycling has become a favorite among residents and expats alike.
Despite the emirate’s soaring automotive industry, cycle culture continues to grow in popularity, so much so that the Dubai government has built several safe spaces where biking enthusiasts can cruise with ease.
Ready to explore Dubai’s stunning scenery atop your pedal-powered machine? If you’re new to cycling in Dubai, here’s what you need to know about the city’s fastest-growing outdoor adventure activity.
Getting started with your first bike purchase
With a considerable amount of diversity available, knowing what type of riding you’ll be doing is a critical first step in selecting the right bike for you.
For those who have no clue regarding the type of bike they should by, here’s a quick breakdown of the primary types of bikes to consider:
- Road bike: Suitable for city commutes on city roads
- Mountain bikes: Ideal for trail and off-road riding
- Touring bike: Great for long endurance trips or commuting
- Cruiser bike: A single-speed bike meant for casual rides
One of the best places to buy bikes in Dubai is Grit+Tonic. Bikes are wide-ranging and cater to many different budgets, sizes, and riding preferences. They also have the most extensive inventory of BMC bikes in Dubai and other premium performance bikes.
Be sure to also pick up some necessary bike accessories like a helmet, lights, lock, a water bottle, and maintenance equipment.
Other bike riding options
If you’re unsure about investing in buying a bike, another option is to use one of Dubai’s bike rental services. BYKY and Nextbike are two bike hire services that allow you to test out if pedal power is for you. Simply register your information, and you can start cycling.
The rules of the road
To ensure you enjoy your ride as much and as safely as possible, keep in mind certain cycling rules. For one, the use of bike helmets is mandated by the Government of Dubai. It is also advisable to have fully working front and rear lights and to wear reflective clothing while riding.
Other cycling laws to keep in mind include:
- Biking on dedicated pedestrian paths is prohibited
- Biking is prohibited on most roads with speed limits of 60km per hour or greater
- Double seat riding is not permitted unless the bike is designed for two people
- Cyclists are encouraged to use dedicated cycling paths
Cyclists who fail to adhere to these rules will be subject to fines of up to AED 600. Repeat offenders may find their bikes impounded for up to a month.
When to ride
While Dubai is fast-becoming a cycling destination, safety is still paramount.
This is particularly true during Dubai’s scorching summer months. As an activity done primarily outdoors, it’s essential to keep yourself hydrated to prevent the risk of cramping or other health-related problems during a ride.
When the mercury rises, it’s advisable to ride early in the morning or late in the evening, when the weather’s at its lowest. Taking such precautions will help you avoid sweltering conditions and keep you safe while riding.
It’s also vital to wear the right gear when cycling in the summer months. Choose clothing that has a light, breathable fabric and wicks away the sweat. Weather-appropriate clothes will help keep you dry, comfortable, and cool as the temperature rises.
Where to cycle
If you’re ready to hit the road with your new (or rental) ride, consider these four safe-cycling trails of varied terrain.
Nad Al Sheba Park
Originally built to be a camel racecourse, Nad Al Sheba Park now offers a dedicated cycle path.
Located near the ever-popular Meydan racecourse, Nad Al Sheba Park will allow you to enjoy stunning views of the emirate’s downtown skyline and its tallest skyscraper, the Burj Khalifa.
There are three distinct cycle loops (4km, 6km, and 8km) that permit you to decide how strenuous you want your cycle experience to be. Nad Al Sheba Park also offers a children’s course so children can learn how to ride a bike in a safe environment.
Al Qudra Cycle Track
For biking enthusiasts looking for something a little more challenging, the Al Qudra Cycle Track offers two long-distance tracks.
The 86km loop is a fun challenge for both experienced and novice riders alike. There is also a shorter 18km path for first-time riders not quite ready to commit to some long-distance riding. Both trails provide amazing views of the desert as well as provide glimpses of various wildlife like camels and oryx.
Al Qudra also has strategically positioned rest stations should you need to take a mid-ride break. The five-star Bab Al Shams resort is located along the cycle track should you wish for a mid-ride refreshment.
Despite being known for hosting adrenaline-pumping car races, the Dubai Autodrome opens up every Wednesday from 6-9 pm to cyclists. The closed 2.5km circuit is perfect for beginners looking to test out their new rides.
The best part about cycling in the Dubai Autodrome is that there is no prior booking necessary. Just show up with your gear and enjoy the track for as many laps as you’d like. There is also a free bike rental service on a first-come, first-serve basis.
For a more casual bike environment, consider heading down to Jumeirah Beach.
The 2km bike path runs along the Jumeirah Beach, providing a beautiful backdrop for your recreational ride. The area surrounding the cycle path also has a variety of amenities like food stalls should you decide to rest mid-cycle.
Other city recreational routes include Al Barsha Park, Mushrif Park, and the Dubai Water Canal.
Consider joining a cycling club
After discovering the sense of freedom and adventure that comes with cycling, consider joining a cycling club. This socially supportive network will help make your regular rides more motivating, not to mention enjoyable.
For novice riders looking to build up their cycling skills, one of the best cycling clubs to join in Dubai is Cycle Safe Dubai. Cycle Safe Dubai offers several group riding activities like the Legendary Coffee ride on Saturday mornings or their weekly Dubai Autodrome rides.
It should be noted that a membership is required to join Cycle Safe Dubai.
Ready to discover your love of pedals?
Cycling is one of the most liberating and exhilarating riding experiences you can have.
Hopping on a bike is a great way to get to know Dubai and explore many of its unique attractions. The scenic cycle routes dotted throughout the city are easily accessible, making Dubai an ideal cycling destination.
Don’t be intimidated about exploring the city atop your bike saddle. While cycling is relatively new to Dubai, if you follow the rules above, wear protection, practice safe cycling, and stay hydrated, you’ll enjoy every ride.