Dubai: For these expats, cycling is the main mode of transportation

Free subscription offered to riders with the most frequent trips


Nandini Sircar

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Natasha Rukavishnikova does four to six rides per day on Careem bikes. Supplied photo
Natasha Rukavishnikova does four to six rides per day on Careem bikes. Supplied photo

Published: Fri 24 Dec 2021, 12:04 PM

Bike rental services are becoming increasingly popular in Dubai with the weather cooling and residents emerging from summer hibernation and pandemic hunkering.

The Careem BIKE service, offered through a partnership between Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) and Careem, also announced that it has registered one million trips.

To celebrate the milestone, the two entities awarded a free one-year subscription to the rider who registered for the service’s millionth trip and the riders with the most frequent trips.


Speaking exclusively to Khaleej Times, Russian resident, Natasha Rukavishnikova, one of the winners, said: “I never counted how many rides I’ve done overall since the time Careem bikes started so it’s been quite a surprise for me when they told me I was one of their top active users. I think I was one of the first people to have signed up when this initiative was launched. On an average I do four to six rides per day.”

With a growing number of bike-sharing schemes one can casually borrow a bike from a docking stand near a metro station or a tourist spot and do short hops around the city for a small cost.

Residents can return the bike at a different outlet so that one doesn’t have to retrace one’s route.

The resident who lives in JBR says, “I feel appreciated. I am a big advocate of this company not only when it comes to biking service but all other services. Careem bike is an essential part of my life. I wasn’t expecting that I would be among the top customers who use this service so frequently. Most of my friends live in JBR, Marina and JLT so Careem bike is the perfect means of transportation to travel between all these areas. It’s much faster than trams or metro, I feel, because all the waiting time and the going up and down the escalators or lifts, entry and existing is time consuming.”

She elucidates the small amount of Dh420 per year is great value for money especially as it gets billed per month.

“The yearly membership is affordable. It’s totally worth it if one is using it at a certain pace as I do. Biking has become my main means of public transport especially when you are especially looking to cover distances in the vicinity. Its economical, keeps an individual fit and it’s reliable. I exactly know when I will reach a certain destination without having to factor in, unlike, other public transportation’s departure times.

Additionally, if I am looking to travel to downtown and must take the Metro, especially during summer when it’s very hot and unbearable to walk down that distance, but on a bicycle it's just 2.5 minutes. It’s much quicker and efficient to bike to the metro station than walk down”, says the UAE resident who has been here for the past nine years.

The expat then opines that while in Russia dedicated cycling tracks are not uncommon but unlike the UAE, the challenges in her home country are different.

Natasha later says, “Electrical pedal assist is not there in Russia, though we do see some dedicated bicycle tracks. So, cycling on the streets can get risky as the infrastructure is not as developed as it is here. Here, the infrastructure is continuously developing... with more bicycle tracks painted on the pavement and long dedicated cycling tracks. An important milestone was when it was introduced in the downtown area where a lot of traffic builds up around Dubai mall. So, cycling there has been a lifesaver.”

The expats only desire is to someday see the entire city being connected through a continuous lane.

“For example, a person can travel all the way from Marina to Creek, Deira on a bicycle in one continuous lane, without having any dangerous crossings or navigating through highways”, adds Natasha.

Rajesh Mangrati is one of the winners of Careem’s annual subscription. Supplied photo
Rajesh Mangrati is one of the winners of Careem’s annual subscription. Supplied photo

Meanwhile Nepalese expat in Dubai Rajesh Mangrati who works as a delivery boy at a restaurant in Jumeirah Lake Towers is also another proud winner of Careem’s annual subscription.

He says, “I am very happy to be named as one of the winners. These bikes are very comfortable and smooth. There are so many dedicated bike lanes in the city and I easy reach from one cluster to another in no time. I leave one bike and then pick up another one for delivery purposes and I have never been late. I do at least 15 rides a day on an average.”

“These bikes are pedal assisted through electric motors, so biking is effortless. Besides, one only needs to change a bike after 45 minutes so that’s decent time within which I can do a couple of nearby deliveries. Even otherwise, I feel cycling is a good mode of transportation and is good for exercising. The best part is its affordable and a sustainable transportation option”, adds the Dubai resident of nine years.

Available and affordable

Covering numerous busy areas across the city, such as Dubai Marina, Jumeirah Beach Road, Jumeirah Lake Towers, The Greens, Barsha Heights, Dubai Water Canal, Dubai Media City, Downtown Dubai and Al Qudra, in addition to a number of safe roads across Al Karama and Al Mankhool, the service allows a top speed of 30 km/h, which is a safe speed, whether on the bicycle dedicated tracks or on the safe roads that are covered by the service.

Prices remain at Dh20 for one day, Dh50 for a weekly membership, Dh75 for a monthly membership and Dh420 for one year (less than Dh2 per day). By having a valid subscription, one can take the bike as many times as they want, as long as each trip is no longer than 45 minutes. A customer could choose to extend the trip time beyond 45 minutes, with an additional fee of Dh10 every 30 minutes.

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