Dubai Ride: Sheikh Zayed Road taken over by thousands of cyclists

Thousands of cyclists took part in the early morning Dubai Ride

Sheikh Zayed Road was closed on Friday morning to make way for more than 30,000 cyclists.

The Dubai Ride took place for the second time, with riders of all abilities taking to the 14-lane motorway.

As the morning mist cleared, professional cyclists, amateurs and children took to the road, exhilarated to be pedalling along a route normally dominated by heavy traffic.

Organised under the umbrella of the Dubai Fitness Challenge, there were two circuits - one lasting 14km for people 10 years or older, and a 4km family route open to cyclists as young as five.

Both took in some of the city’s most iconic buildings and landmarks, including the Museum of the Future, the Water Canal and the Burj Khalifa.

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, the Crown Prince of Dubai, said 33,000 people "from all walks of life" participated.

"The response to the event reflects growing awareness of the importance of a fitness conscious lifestyle. Together, let’s make Dubai the most active city in the world," said Sheikh Hamdan on Twitter.

The government of Dubai is keen to encourage more residents to take up cycling. In June, Sheikh Hamdan announced the construction of a new cycle track spanning 16 kilometres along Jumeirah Beach in Dubai.

Construction is under way.

The plan is part of a Dh400 million ($108m) strategy to make cycling safer in the emirate.

The Dubai Bicycle-Friendly City Strategy 2025 features 18 initiatives to improve the quality of life for residents.

There are currently more than 460km of cycle paths in Dubai and this landscape will expand dramatically over the next few years.

Keeping fit in Dubai

The Dubai Fitness Challenge, an initiative of Sheikh Hamdan, is running for the fifth year, from October 29 to November 27.

The programme encourages Dubai residents to do 30 minutes of exercise a day for 30 days.

The next major event, the Dubai Run, will take place on Sheikh Zayed Road on Friday, November 26. There's a 5km route for families and a 10km one for those who want more of a challenge.

Updated: November 5th 2021, 12:04 PM