Cycling in the city in Dubai is not without its challenges, however the authorities are doing a remarkable job of putting in a significant amount of great infrastructure for us to make moving around the city on two wheels much easier.
The 8km cycle track at District 1, Meydan or Nad al Sheba has been pretty well established for a couple of years now, with it gradually getting polished into a really top quality venue. With its perfectly engineered surface, few and well controlled traffic crossing points, it has obviously had a lot of thought put into its design and implementation. The missing link has always been the need to drive with your bikes to the Meydan track and park your car, but that is shortly to be solved. At least for those accessing from proximal parts of the city.
A visit to the HSBC branch at Safa park today, lead me to breaking out the Fixie, with the notion of exploring the recently opened canals walkway and the new Safa cycle path that links to Meydan. Due to limited available information, I only found out after the ride, that the Canals walkway is just that, NOT a cycle path or indeed a cycling allowed area. There is a very good chance you will be sent elsewhere if you try to cycle canal side, that is until they build a specific cycle path. It kind of makes sense, as a shared pathway for cycling and pedestrians is never going to work well in Dubai. Especially as pedestrians would have to pay attention and not look at their mobile phones while walking!
So leaving from the HSBC branch I turned left towards the canal which is on the North side of Safa park, riding about 2km along the pedestrian walkway, under the Sheikh Zayed Road, before picking up the dedicated blue surface cycle path, near the new W Hotel. As you can see in the video, the path is still very much under construction, but gradually winds its way through Business Bay. There are several pedestrian crossings and care is certainly needed, as you should never have the expectation that Exocet powered pick-up trucks are going to stop for you. In the middle of Business Bay a bit of creative construction site navigation was required, as the blue cycle path came to an abrupt dead end at a flyover that was being constructed.
After negotiating a few more pedestrian crossings, and a bit more bike path you eventually come to the side of the Al Khail Rd, with the new bike dedicated bridge crossing the highway looming up ahead. A quick nip up and over the bridge, you sweep down onto the wonderful 8km Meydan track. As it had been a while since I had videoed the Meydan track, I thought a lap would do me no harm. Though I have to say Fixie gearing into the wind requires a bit more effort, especially as last night’s ride was still in the old legs.
Heading back to Al Safa was much easier, as the route under the being constructed flyover was easier to navigate with prior knowledge of it’s current idiosyncrasies. At the W Hotel, I stayed left and followed the cycle path all the way to the bottom of Safa Park, where it comes to an end pretty well in front of the Union Coop Crossing the Wasl Road at the HSBC, I then turned right down the side of Choithrams and then paralleled the Wasl Road to my finishing point at the new Starbucks on Al Sinyar Street. Never have been the biggest fan of Seatle’s finest grind, but having forgotten to take water with me it seemed like a perfect stopping point for a coffee and reward brownie.
So in conclusion the new bike path from the bottom of Safa Park out to Meydan is about 95% completed. As it stands it’s not perfect, but definitely usable with a little care. I have no doubt it will gradually be polished into a very effective route out to Meydan and I believe eventually out to Al Qudra. The Canals are not bike friendly yet, but again I think that is only a matter of time.
Here is a video of the route at double speed, its’s about a 23km route and took about 55mins, so fast forward to any portion you are interested in. Also if you want to look at the detail of the route on Strava, click here