On my recent trip from our base in Bourg d’Oisans to Perth Australia to compete in the Cape to Cape Mountainbike race I had a 15 hour stop over in Dubai.
A quick internet search suggested that cycling was best avoided in Dubai but that there was a purpose built cycling track, that happened to be the longest in the world at just under 50km, some 80km from the city centre.
The purpose built 2 lane cycle track is used by the local expat community for training and runs through the desert. At the start finish line there is a Trek Cycle Store that provides cycle hire – the staff in there were super helpful, a cafe / general store and changing rooms with showers.
The track itself is beautifully smooth but you do run through the desert so it is featureless apart from the odd electricity pylon feeding Dubai, a horse race track and purpose built shelter areas every 15kms or so. It is also hot – I rode at about 3pm and it was easily in the high 30 degrees. Most of the locals turn up from 5pm and ride usually with lights.
This was the unknown factor for me so I asked at the Dubai Airport Info centre. I was advised it would be about 100 Dirham (about 35 Euros) by taxi. It ended up costing 150 Dirham but be warned as a lot of the Taxi Drivers had not heard of the Dubai Cycle Centre. My driver had been a Taxi driver for 4 years and this was the first time that he had been asked to go there! The cycle track is on the Al Qudra Road
This proved a little more difficult. The cycle shop ordered a taxi for me but after an hour it had not turn up – they could not find it apparantly. By this point I was getting a little concerned as I had to catch my flight to Perth. Luckily the expat locals were out riding their bikes and I managed to catch a lift from a lady from Holmfirth in England to the nearest Taxi rank in one of Dubai’s suberbs. Once here I made it back to the airport in time for my flight.
- My Strava segment. The ride took about 1hr 40 minutes. The strava record is just over 1 hr. Most of the people riding it were on full time trial bikes. When I rode it there was quite a headwind for 25km that really slowed me down. The last section back to the cycle centre was wind assisted and I did hit 40km an hour at some points
- Everyone speaks English in Dubai and all signs are translated
- The cycle shop has lots of mid range hire bikes so there is no need to reserve. They were not perfectly maintained (lots of old oil on the chain) but functioned perfectly. The cycle shop also has clothing and other accessories. You can also hire helmets etc. I took my own pedals and shoes but I think you can hire these as well. You can also buy a tax free bike there.
- The small cafe / food store at the cycle centre had everything you needed including bottled water. Take as much water as you can on your ride preferable in the insulated water bottles
- There are also changing rooms / lockers and showers in the purpose built changing rooms with shampoo and soap.
- Lots of sunscreen especially during the day its hot and you are in the desert
- Its easy to get a Taxi to the cycling Track (if you can find a driver that knows where it is) but it appears they are reluctant to come and pick you up at the end of your ride. You would be better off hiring a car at the airport for the day. There is a huge car park at the centre. The guys in the Cycle shop were super helpful though.
- Allow yourself an hour each way from the Airport to the Cycle Centre. It is not possible to cycle there as you have to take the motorway / freeway.
- Tripadvisor comments