Look: Thousands of cyclists take over Sheikh Zayed Road for Dubai Ride 2023

Long balloons, streamers and colourful costumes added an oomph to the ride as several riders dressed up for the event

by

Nasreen Abdulla

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Dubai Ride 2023. Photo: Neeraj Murali/Khaleej Times
Dubai Ride 2023. Photo: Neeraj Murali/Khaleej Times

Published: Sun 12 Nov 2023, 11:01 AM

Last updated: Sun 12 Nov 2023, 10:46 PM

Over 35,000 amateur cyclists and biking enthusiasts took to the streets as Sheikh Zayed Road turned into a giant cycling track for the 2023 edition of Dubai Ride.

Long balloons, streamers and colourful costumes added an oomph to the non-competitive ride as several riders dressed up for the event. Some residents drove from various emirates while others stayed over with their friends and family to make it to the ride on time. Dubai Police supercars led the start of the ride that saw people of all ages and abilities cycle collectively over 546,000 km.

Serbian expat Alexandra participated in the ride along with a group of seven people including her husband, daughter and friends. She borrowed her daughter’s helmet to look “cool” and said she loves being a part of the Dubai Ride. “I love the camaraderie of this initiative,” she said. “It is a wonderful experience and that is why I keep coming back for it. This is my third time participating in the Dubai Ride.”

Alexandra
Alexandra

Friends Akram, Jimmy, Yusuf and Fritz swapped their skateboards for cycles for the day. “We met at the skate park and became friends,” said Akram, who came wearing a shirt for Palestine. “I wanted to participate in the ride so I convinced them all to come with me. Two of them didn’t have bikes so I made them get Careem bikes and here we are.”

Akram, Jimmy, Yusuf and Fritz
Akram, Jimmy, Yusuf and Fritz

Safety first

Hundreds of safety officers and Dubai Ride marshals worked tirelessly to ensure a seamless event. Filipinas Yuri and Leng were volunteering as marshals for the first time at Dubai Run and said they took their responsibilities very seriously. “We have just been riding along the route and making sure those who are stopping on the roads are staying behind the yellow line and staying safe,” said Yuri. “We want to make sure everyone has a safe and enjoyable ride.”

Yuri and Leng
Yuri and Leng

According to Leng, the two of them met while cycling and bonded over their love for the sport. “Since then, we have been good friends,” she said. “So, when she was registering to volunteer as a marshal, I decided to join too. It has been a great experience for us to meet a lot of people.”

This is the fourth edition of the Dubai Ride initiative, which is an integral part of the Dubai Fitness Challenge (DFC). Cyclists have the option of choosing between a family friendly 4km route and a more challenging 12km ride. Reese and his 5-year-old son Jude chose the 4km ride.

Reese and Jude
Reese and Jude

Little Jude was riding as fast as his little legs would take him to keep up with everyone. “It was a little difficult for him, but he is doing okay,” said Reese. “We are not really into cycling but today we decided to have fun and came to try this out.”

Cycling to work

For some, the ride marked the start to a working day. Friends Anil, Melwyn, Tiju, Ryian and Rajesh are employees of Dubai Drydocks and were planning to head to work after the ride. “We will be a little late but our supervisor knows that we are participating in the ride, so he said it’s fine,” said Ryian. “We live near Satwa so it is a short distance for us to come to Sheikh Zayed Road. We didn’t want to miss the chance to participate in the event.”

Anil, Melwyn, Tiju, Ryian and Rajesh
Anil, Melwyn, Tiju, Ryian and Rajesh

According to Anil, the group were planning to ride their cycles all the way to their workplace. “Once we finish the ride, there is no time for us to go back to our room to keep our cycles,” he said. “So, we are planning to ride to work on it.”

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