Biking for fun & fitness in Dubai

We often fail with fitness resolutions year after year primarily because we don't have the right formula to make them happen.

We think of ambitious ways to lose weight or to achieve a better shape. Apparently, we are thinking too far from what we really need to be doing. Either that or we're too obsessive about weight loss.

What we need is to focus on getting fit and using energy, and the weight loss will come in time.

In setting a fitness goal it is important to choose the activities close to our heart - things that we love doing. Otherwise, it'll end up as just another failed check list.  As what fitness doctors say, "The best exercise program you can do is the one that you will do."**

So we chose cycling. Who doesn't love biking?

If your primary goal is to get fit, you don't need a huge investment to get started. A basic city bike or an affordable mountain bike will do - anything that moves when you step on the pedal is okay :-) . Don't spend much on unnecessary accessories (right away). You don't have to act like an elite athlete to be fit. It's all about your effort and energy spent and not the money. Start with small steps slow and steady and you'll be in the right direction. Your body will eventually tell you when you need to upgrade to more adventurous gears later on.

We got our bikes from Decathlon at a very good discounted price of AED800. We also bought low-cost helmets (AED65) and shades (AED50) and a car rack that carries up to 3 bikes (AED375). Some people recommend Dragonmart for pretty good 'basic' bikes - the only tradeoff is the lack good warranty coverage.

IF you have the budget, go for the more popular bikers shops.

Where to bike

Cycling in Dubai justifies that it's really fun to get fit. The adventure and buzz you get from coasting down hills and being outdoors means you are more likely to continue to cycle regularly, compared to other physical activities that keep you indoors or require special times or places.

There are quite a lot of good cycling tracks in the city where the surrounding landscapes and skylines  inspire you to push the pedal harder. We've been to some of them, in fact we bike from one place to another every weekend just to make it more exciting.  Here are some of my top location picks:

I had to take this photo to show the skyline in the background :-)
Nad Al Sheba Cycling Track
This track near The Meydan provides a great view of Burj Khalifa and the Downtown skyscrapers. It has 8km, 6km and 4km loops. It is well lit at night, but is still advisable to have bike lights for safety reasons. Amenities are all over the path - toilets, changing rooms and lockers.

There is also an educational 850 meter kids course which has roundabouts, road signs and speed bumps to aid you teach the kids about road safety.

The track is free to use for everyone.

Few minutes after sunrise, biking by the lake offers breathtaking views with the swans, ducks and other wild birds.
Al Qudra Cycling Track
This 86-km path along Al Qudra Road is one of the world's biggest cycling track, also one of the most quiet and secluded one.  The first path totals 18km and connects to the second path at the intersection of the Bab Al Shams and Al Qudra roads. The second track is a 50km loop that takes you through the breathtaking beauty of the sand dunes and past the Bab Al Shams Resort.  Many lucky riders spot some native animals along the way, including wild lizards and few Arabian oryx.

We also checked the off-road way to Al Qudra Lake, where there's quite a good small area to bike around, and a stunning view of wild birds by the oasis.

The landscape surrounding the cycling lanes at Mushrif Park, Khawaneej Road, Mirdif
Mushrif Park
This is my favorite cycle track inside a park - a 5km stretch around a desert-like picnic haven. The semi-forest atmosphere adds a dramatic feel to the ride. What I love about this track is the several slopes around.

You just cannot start early morning as the park opens 8am. Park entrance ticket for one car is AED10.

Dubai Marina Bike Lane - overlooking Cayan Tower and the yachts.
Dubai Marina
This non-exclusive cycling destination shares the path with joggers and leisure strollers.  Early morning is the advisable time to bike as there are less people strolling in the lane. The path offers a great cityscape view in a 5km loop, and not to mention, tens of cafes and restaurants around.  

Al Nahda Park
A small community park ideal for fun family biking experience.  The single cycling lane is only about 3km short. 

The right diet supplement

Don't forget about good nutrition. Having variety of vegetables, fruits and juices ensures complete nutrition that helps us attain optimal health.

Right diet is still the biggest factor in becoming fit and healthy. But if you start spending at least an hour a day (or your weekends) biking, months will pass and you'll feel better, not just physically but mentally and spiritually as well.

Have a buddy who shares the fun and challenges of your fitness goal and you're off to a great ride.
Do start off moderately. Cycling is not as challenging as other physical activities anyway. With few minutes of pedaling to start with, you will gradually increase without realizing it.

Another area by the Al Qudra Lake
Do not to try to race someone or get competitive when you're are just starting out. Either you’ll risk injury or you'll not be able to focus on your actual goal (The Daniel Plan).

So what do we love about cycling again *
  • Low impact – it causes less strain and injuries than most other forms of exercise.
  • A good muscle workout – it uses all of the major muscle groups as you pedal.
  • Easy – unlike some other sports, it does not require high levels of physical skill.
  • Good for strength and stamina – it increases stamina, strength and aerobic fitness.
  • As intense as you want – it can be done at very low intensity or a demanding physical workout.
Another path in Mushrif Park
The benefits of regular cycling include:
  • Increased cardiovascular fitness
  • Increased muscle strength and flexibility
  • Improved joint mobility
  • Decreased stress levels
  • Improved posture and coordination
  • Strengthened bones
  • Decreased body fat levels
  • Prevention or management of disease
  • Reduced anxiety and depression
Hope to see you at the tracks soon!


* Reference: Better Health Channel
** from The Daniel Plan daily inspirations app 

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