Contrary to popular belief, it is absolutely possible to stay fit and enjoy the outdoors in Dubai for most of the year, despite the Emirate’s hot weather. With a little effort, fitness enthusiasts can find plenty of gyms and outdoor activities to keep fit and maintain a healthy exercise routine. For fitness lovers who don’t enjoy the confines of the gym, there are wonderful beaches and cycling paths to enjoy fitness in natural surroundings.
Pedal power is a great way to keep fit and the Government of Dubai, in its aim to promote a healthier lifestyle, has been building many dedicated biking paths to encourage commuters to leave their cars at home. Bike riding is growing in popularity in the UAE, and there is something special about riding on a bike path through the beautiful Dubai sand dunes.
Below we give you the dos and don’ts of cycling in Dubai, as well as the growing support network for biking enthusiasts across the Emirates. Grab your bike and let’s pedal forward!
Cycling Laws in Dubai
Although the Government of Dubai is actively promoting cycling as a way of maintaining fitness in Dubai, there are laws that must be followed to ensure a safe ride for yourself, as well as others on the road.
Dubai is known for its fast cars and excellent road conditions, particularly on major roads and freeways. However, most car drivers here do not really consider a bicycle as a road partner, and many drivers have very little regard for the safety of cyclists on main roads. It is, therefore, imperative that bicycle riders follow the rules and regulations set forth by the government.
- It is mandatory to wear a helmet when riding a bicycle in Dubai. Helmets can range in price from AED 150 to over AED 1000 for top quality head gear. You can find helmets in any bike shop, or other sports shops that are commonly found in malls.
- Bicyclists are prohibited from riding their bikes on major roads or highways for the very reasons mentioned above, although this is not always enforced by police. Cyclists are encouraged to use internal roads and dedicated cycle paths.
- Cyclists found riding on roads with speed limits of 60kmph or greater may be fined up to AED 600. This fine is doubled for repeat offenders in the same year, and police have the authority to impound bikes of repeated offenders for up to a month.
- Double seat riding is not allowed unless the bike is designed for two people. Offenders may be fined AED 200.
- There is an AED 200 fine for bike riders who use paths dedicated for pedestrians, while riding in a way that endangers pedestrians can get you fined AED 300.
- Although this is not a written law, it is advisable to use front and rear lights for night rides. Wearing reflective clothing is also advisable.
- Temperatures can soar to over 50 degrees during the hot summer months in Dubai from June through September. It is advisable not to ride during the day, and even during the evenings. It is vital to remain hydrated and drink water throughout your ride. Drink water before, during, and after your ride. Practice drinking on the bike if you don’t want to stop. Drinking plenty of fluids ensures that the body’s supply of salts lost while sweating are adequately replaced.
Where to cycle in Dubai
There are several dedicated cycling paths that are carefree and ideal if you want to enjoy a stress-free ride with other enthusiasts, or just want to enjoy a family bike ride with the kids.
Nad Al Sheba Cycling Path: Previously used as a camel track, this converted bike path is a wonderful place to bike while enjoying great views of Downtown Dubai and the Burj Khalifa. The path has three loops of 4km, 6km, or 8km with air-conditioned lockers, changing rooms, and shower facilities.
The course is lit for night riding, but riders are still required to have bike lights for safety reasons. The best part about this track is that it features an 850-meter children’s biking course with street signs, bumps, and roundabouts to teach young riders about road safety.
Al Qudra Cycle Path: Two new cycling paths totaling 86km provide a great riding experience for long distance riders (if you were to start at the beginning of the path). The first path totals 18km and connects to the second path at the intersection of the Bab Al Shams and Al Qudra roads.
The second track is a beautiful 50km loop that takes you through the breathtaking beauty of the sand dunes and past the well-known Bab Al Shams Resort, where you can always stop off for a cup of coffee.
Dubai Autodrome: A great undulating closed circuit of 2.5km, the Autodrome is a great option for beginner cyclists, those recovering from an injury, or those getting back on the bike after a long break. Just show up and cycle. Helmets must be worn at all times.
Al Barsha Park: This is a great family park with a 1500-meter bike path ideally suited to children. Park timings are from 8:00am to 10:00pm every day of the week.
Mushrif Park: Adjacent to the large expat community in Mirdif, the park features a bike path that forms a 4.5km loop around the dunes of the park. Park fees are AED 10 for a car or AED 3 or individuals.
Although the park is open most nights up to 11 pm, please note that the bike path is not lit at night. Although there is scant light from nearby roads, night riders must have lights on their bikes.
Jumeirah Open Beach Track: Great for recreational riding, this 2km bike path runs right along the open beach in Jumeirah, opposite the Jumeirah mosque.
Cycling clubs are a great way to indulge in your passion for cycling while meeting other enthusiasts with similar likes. Cycles are readily available all over Dubai from a range of different dealers, and can vary in price from AED 3000 to AED 90,000 for elite bikes. Invest in a good speedometer that will tell you cycling speed and distance, which is useful information particularly when looking for a club to join.
Here are a few of the most popular biking clubs in Dubai.
Cycle Safe Dubai: A great initiative to get people off their couches and onto their bikes, Cycle Safe Dubai hosts the popular Friday morning rides at the Al Qudra Cycling track, as well as the Saturday morning coffee run to Bab Al Shams and back.
These guys are the most popular cycling club that encourages use of the safest routes all over Dubai.
Dubai Roadsters: One of the first cycling clubs in the Emirates, Dubai Roadsters is the brainchild of the Wolfi Cycling Shop, and organizes many different rides throughout the year catering to different levels and distances.
Velo Vixens: Dedicated to women’s fitness through cycling, Velo Vixens is a community of women of all ages, from single women to mums and grand mums, who all share their common love of biking.
Revolution Cycles: The main force behind the Wednesday night Autodrome rides, Revolution Cycles tells you everything you need to know about cycling from the best bikes and biking accessories to the energy and nutrition aspects of cycling regularly to stay fit.