Follow the leader in our bicycle revolution

Following the success of our #healthyliving campaign, The National is launching an initiative called #CycleToWorkUAE where we hope to inspire everyone who are able to leave the car behind and, instead, cycle to work.
Sheikh Mohammed shows the way: the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces cycles around Yas Marina Circuit last year during the weekly TrainYAS event. The National's latest healthy living initiative encourages readers to follow the Crown Prince's example. Ryan Carter / Crown Prince Court Abu Dhabi
Sheikh Mohammed shows the way: the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces cycles around Yas Marina Circuit last year during the weekly TrainYAS event. The National's latest healthy living initiative encourages readers to follow the Crown Prince's example. Ryan Carter / Crown Prince Court Abu Dhabi
ABU DHABI // The success of our recently launched #healthyliving campaign showed the appetite among readers of The National for guidance and inspiration on ways to improve their well-being. It was also a testament to a collective national shift towards healthier living.

Our magazine - suitably titled #healthyliving - was another product of the campaign. At its heart were the authentic stories and experiences of people aiming for a healthier, more active life. All were aware of the need to resist the seductive dangers of sedentary, office-based urban life.

With this in mind, as the weather cools and more of us are disposed to spend time outdoors, we decided to launch an initiative called #CycleToWorkUAE. Simply put, we hope to inspire everyone who are able to leave the car behind and, instead, cycle to work. That's it!

We chose the second Tuesday of January - the 13th - to be the day to collectively go out on the road using bicycles or tricycles (I know somebody who has one, and yes, quadcycles are permitted too - as long as they are human powered), in a concerted and united manner.

We all cycle, and we enjoy it. There's little to match the joy of the wind in your hair and the whisper of rubber on tarmac; to be able to hear the sounds of the city around you and say "Hi" to your fellow cyclists. On a bike, you are an active part of the city, not a remote observer cocooned in glass and steel.

The only thing that has been holding many of us back is the perceived danger. But if we all take to the streets en masse, there will be safety in numbers. And let's hope many drivers will be with us on their cycles anyway.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commanderof the Armed Forces, has said that work and daily responsibilities should not sidetrack people from being active. And we're probably all guilty at times of putting our health on the back burner. Here then is an opportunity to combine an active lifestyle with our daily responsibilities.

Since we all tend to be creatures of habit, a slight disruption early in the New Year is surely what we need to encourage us into new, healthier ways. And doing it together with our neighbours and colleagues will be an added spur.

So put a big red circle around Tuesday, January 13, in your new 2015 diary. Leading to the day, we will share tips on safety, on what to wear, where to buy a bicycle and what kind, and which roads are best to use. And for that small band of hardy souls who already cycle to work, please share with us your thoughts and advice.

And don't keep it to yourself that you will be taking to two wheels. Tweet it, Instagram it, Facebook it: "I will #CycleToWorkUAE" today with your tips, and pics.

Mohammed Al Otaiba is The National's Editor-in-Chief

malotaiba@thenational.ae

Published: December 13, 2014 04:00 AM

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