Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed, member of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Office, has accepted the prestigious “Bike City” label from the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI).
The city is the first destination in Asia to receive the distinction. Other towns with the status include Bergen in Norway; Copenhagen, the Danish capital; Glasgow in Scotland; and the French capital of Paris.
The UCI is the world governing body for sport cycling and the categorisation recognises Abu Dhabi’s efforts to promote cycling, said Sheikh Khaled.
“Through visionary thinking, the emirate has developed state-of-the-art sport and community facilities that help enhance Abu Dhabi’s position as one of the world’s most liveable cities,” he said.
“This exciting new chapter for the emirate will see Abu Dhabi achieve even greater heights in its work to drive sustainability across all areas of life, to advance dynamic urban development and to create as many opportunities as possible for people to live healthy, active lives.”
The Abu Dhabi Loop
In tandem with the award ceremony on Tuesday, Abu Dhabi also announced a series of new measures and facilities to encourage more people to take up cycling.
Planned infrastructure projects include a new 109-kilometre designated cycling track called the Abu Dhabi Loop and a 3,500-seat velodrome, called the Velodrome Hudayriyat, to be built on Hudayriyat Island.
The Loop will be a segregated cycleway linking key destinations around the city and the 12,000-square-metre velodrome will offer track racing.
In total, the emirate plans to extend its current 300km cycling network to more than 1,000km.
Sheikh Khaled also launched Bike Abu Dhabi, a new platform to spearhead the emirate’s long-term cycling ambitions to become a leading global cycling hub.
The organisation will work on cycling infrastructure projects and foster links between three critical elements for cycling growth: mobility, health and leisure, and sport.
Bike Abu Dhabi will also organise competitions and events, with three events announced on Tuesday.
The Abu Dhabi Al Ain Classic is a one-day race open to UAE clubs and amateurs that will start in Abu Dhabi and finish in Al Ain. This will take place for the first time in 2022.
The city has also been announced as the host of the 2022 and 2024 editions of the UCI Urban Cycling World Championships and the 2028 UCI Gran Fondo World Championships.
Abu Dhabi’s new UCI Bike City label recognises the emirate’s long-standing commitment to the UCI’s Cycling for All strategy, which aims to promote cycling as a healthy, everyday activity, as a more sustainable means of transport, and as a competitive sport for amateurs and professionals.
The emirate has long been a hub for world-class cycling events and community cycling, with 28km of cycling track at Hudayriyat Island and a total of 40km at Al Wathba.
Both sites act as cycling hubs for groups, solo cyclists and families. Yas Marina Circuit Formula One track on Yas Island also opens its doors twice a week for cyclists of all levels to train for free.
Professional events also take place in the emirate, including the UAE Tour, a UCI World Tour event, and the National Road Championship.