The Dubai tour rolls into town again on Wednesday February 4. Ahead of this, Josh Harney of Wolfi’s Bike Shop explains the best ways for new cyclists to get out and about on two wheels.
Road Cycling is probably the best supported type of cycling in the UAE, as we have great roads to ride on. We’re also lucky enough to have several tracks dedicated to cycling. There are also a number of different clubs, such as the Dubai Roadsters (www.dubairoadsters.com), for road enthusiasts to join. Head to the Nad Al Sheba Cycle Park or the track at Al Qudra, which offers a long run through the desert from Arabian Ranches out towards Bab Al Shams. This is a recent track, and there are some new sections that have just recently been added.
There are great off-road trails in the UAE, and of course the sand dunes here make for a mountain-biking environment unlike any other. The most heavily visited trails are at Showka near the Omani border. They feature rocky and technical terrain to ride. The Hatta Fort Mountain Bike Trail Center, a collaboration between one of the better local mountain-biking clubs HotCog and the municipality in Hatta, is also under construction. For riding in the rocky areas of Showka and Hatta, we would recommend a bike with dual suspension, a slack geometry for riding stability and a body position that puts the rider’s weight slightly back. For the deep sand, fat bikes are the way to go, since they have wide, soft tires.
For riding in the Marina, JLT, or in your own neighbourhood, look for a bike with a wider tyre and a little more upright riding position. These bikes are often referred to as hybrids, because they are essentially mountain bikes designed for riding casually and on the road. Light gravel or sand is no problem, but they are not built for true off-road use.
Bikes for kids
Kids’ bikes are often overlooked because so many department stores offer cheap toy versions. A good bike that really fits a child is much more comfortable to ride. There are a number of great places to take kids for cycling. Safa Park, Mushrif Park and Nad Al Sheba Cycle Park are just a few options.
Wolfi’s Bike Shop, Sheikh Zayed Road, www.wbs.ae (04 339 4453).
The Dubai Tour 2015
When: Wednesday February 4 to Saturday 7.
Where: Across Dubai. This year’s Dubai Tour will see cyclists peddle through the iconic scenery of Dubai. The four stages will take the pro cyclists past the Burj Al Arab, Burj Khalifa, Palm Jumeirah and the Hatta Dam.
The route: The race has four stages. All stages start at the Dubai International Marine Club, Dubai Marina. Over four stages and four days the cyclists will cover a total of 663km. Stage one is 145km to Union House. Stage two is a 185km round route to Palm Jumeirah, going via Academic City, Al Qudra cycle track and Jumeirah Islands. Stage three is 205km to Hatta Dam, the longest stretch on the route with some inclines and mountains to scale. This stage will take the race away from the city and out into the desert. Stage four, the race’s finale, will bring the riders back to the heart of Dubai with a 128km route that ends at Burj Khalifa in Downtown Dubai.
The Prize: The cyclists will be hoping to win the ‘Circle of Stars’. The trophy is designed like the wheel of a bike. It is designed to be lifted by the winner as a tribute to the riders of the past, who used to carry their inner-tubes crossed on their shoulders.
The Jerseys: Uniquely, in the Dubai Tour, there are four different jerseys – each symbolising a different title to be won. Blue is for general time classification and will be worn by the cyclist that has been the fastest for the duration of the race. Red is for points classification and will be worn by the fastest rider of the stage. White is for the best young rider. Black is for the Intermediate Sprint classification, the rider who has gained the most sprint points. Each day the leaders of the four standings will be wearing their winning jerseys and will compete to keep them throughout the tour.