Dubai Ride was 'needed soon after the pandemic', say residents

Cyclists from all levels, ages, nationalities ride along Sheikh Zayed Road



By Saman Haziq and SM Ayaz

Published: Fri 5 Nov 2021, 6:13 PM

Last updated: Fri 5 Nov 2021, 6:48 PM

The Dubai Fitness Challenge 2021 held its most-awaited and iconic event on Friday morning, Dubai Ride, which saw thousands of cyclists ride on the arterial Sheikh Zayed Road that was closed to traffic from 5am until 7.30am.

Now in its second edition, the Dubai Ride saw a total of 32,750 cyclists participate in the non-competitive, free-for-all event that allowed people to cycle on the busiest road of Dubai at their own pace as they rode past iconic Dubai buildings and landmarks such as the Burj Khalifa.

The community event, sponsored by DP World, allowed cyclists to choose from two distinct routes depending on their ability and capacity to complete the ride.

Beginners to seasoned cyclists aged 10 and above rode the 14km route from five different start gates along Sheikh Zayed Road and Lower Financial Centre Road. The route passed some of the city's most prominent landmarks, including the Museum of the Future, Dubai Canal, Downtown Dubai and Emirates Towers.

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A second 4km route for families, with cyclists as young as five on their own bikes, and even younger children travelling safely with their parents, looped around Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Boulevard with magnificent views of Burj Khalifa, lit especially for the occasion, courtesy of Emaar.

Lauding the huge turnout and encouraging people to keep their fitness goals going, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai said: "Dubai Ride demonstrates the commitment of the people of Dubai to prioritising health and wellbeing. Witnessing this community event, and the 32,750 cyclists who took part today, was a moment of pride. Every cyclist participating has helped show the world that Dubai is one of the greatest cities to live in, work in and visit."

"We have continued the legacy created with the inaugural Dubai Ride in 2020, and grown in numbers - with people of all ages and abilities taking part. We are now one week into this year's Dubai Fitness Challenge, and I call on every citizen, resident, visitor, government entity and business to keep up the positive momentum, and help make Dubai an even happier and healthier city. I would also like to thank the organisers, partners and everyone who contributed to the success of this remarkable event."

Feels like we have beaten Covid

A group of youngsters - from different nationalities – said they were super excited for the ride as this marked a sense of normalcy in life after the Covid pandemic.

Calling it the most anticipated event of the month, friends Kevin, Nico, James and Lucas cycled down from Dubai Marina to join the Dubai Ride.

Kevin, a French expat and a perfumer who works in Dubai, said that he was extremely delighted to be a participant. "This ride was indeed needed soon after the pandemic. It's great to see so many people sacrifice their sleep to participate in a fitness event."

Nico, a Filipino said: "This is an international get together with just one focus, this is my first experience, and it feels just great to be a part of the DFC."

James, a participant who flew down to Dubai from the UK said that the DFC should be experienced once in a lifetime by all. "Wow, it feels like Dubai has beaten Covid…"

"Riding in between the architectural marvels and buildings of Dubai, some of which literally are hidden in clouds due to their height, is something different," said James adding that the weather was perfect to bike these days.

Flight attendants on the floor

A group of crew members from Emirates Airlines considered themselves very lucky to ride down the city's busiest road amid their tight schedule of flying to different parts of the world.

"These fun fitness initiatives are what residents of Dubai look forward to, and since we are mostly flying we usually miss out on them. So I feel lucky this time that we got a chance to attend this ride, said Sharon, Zimbabwean expat.

"I am here with my family and friends. We have been following a strict routine of fitness," said Sharon.

Her colleague Lisa Fernandes from India, said that this was the first time she got a chance to part in the ride.

"I am glad that there was no Salik charged on the Shaikh Zayed Road. There was even no speed limit traffic violations. It's an experience of a lifetime… It's indded a very unique experience," she added.

Lisa got her colleague Chaitanya along with her for the ride. "We have been around with people of various nationalities during our work, but this is even bigger. Delighted to be a part."

reporters@khaleejtimes.com


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