Abu Dhabi has been awarded the prestigious ‘Bike City’ label by cycling’s global governing body, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), becoming the first city in the Middle East, North Africa and Asia regions to receive the distinction.
Abu Dhabi joins a list of established cycling destinations around the world, including Bergen in Norway; Copenhagen, the Danish capital; Glasgow in Scotland; the French capital of Paris; Vancouver in Canada, and the English county of Yorkshire.
The announcement underscores Abu Dhabi’s commitment to the UCI’s Cycling for All strategy, which encourages people around the world to make cycling a part of their everyday lives as a means of transport, leisure and sporting activity, and in order to promote a more active, healthy and sustainable lifestyle.
The awarding of the ‘Bike City’ label also reaffirms the emirate’s status as an ideal host destination for major UCI cycling events. Following the Bike City label unveiling at a special ceremony on Al Hudayriyat Island, a world-class cycling hub, Abu Dhabi was confirmed as the venue for the 2022 and 2024 UCI Urban Cycling World Championships and 2028 UCI Gran Fondo World Championships.
This follows the recent renewal of Abu Dhabi Sports Council’s partnership with RCS Sport for the organisation of the next three editions of the UAE Tour, a key date on the calendar for the world’s leading professional cyclists.
“The UCI Bike City label supports cities and regions that not only host major UCI cycling events but also invest in developing cycling through programmes and infrastructure,” said UCI President David Lappartient. “We are happy to announce Abu Dhabi as the latest addition to this list. Designating Abu Dhabi as the Middle East and Asia’s first Bike City underlines the diverse initiatives being taken to promote cycling and encourage participation across the emirate,” he added. “Abu Dhabi has a clear vision, master plan and strategy to promote cycling across the community and to make the sport accessible to everyone.”
His Excellency Aref Hamad Al Awani, Secretary General of Abu Dhabi Sports Council, said: “Achieving the UCI Bike City status acknowledges our ongoing efforts to encourage cycling across Abu Dhabi through emirate-wide commitments that expand our existing network of tracks, groups, events and activities to enable even more take-up of cycling as a means of sport, leisure and mobility.”
Building on the success of the prestigious ‘Bike City’ label, and to spearhead the emirate’s long-term cycling ambitions, Abu Dhabi Government has launched Bike Abu Dhabi, an enabling platform designed to advance the development of Abu Dhabi as a global cycling hub, and to further promote cycling growth in the emirate as an everyday activity for sport, leisure and transportation.
Bike Abu Dhabi’s upcoming initiatives include extending the emirate’s existing 300km cycling network to around 1,000km. Part of the extension will comprise the Abu Dhabi Loop, a 109km segregated cycle way linking key destinations around the city. Velodrome Hudayriyat, a 3,500 capacity arena for track racing will be built on Hudayriyat Island, further enhancing its position as the city’s main cycling hub.
The emirate’s well established cycling club ecosystem provides opportunities for cyclists of all levels, from top-level competitions to weekly group rides and fun social rides. The full-time Abu Dhabi Cycling Club operates under the umbrella of Abu Dhabi Sports Council, which is involved in organising and hosting elite-level competitions and community events.
Abu Dhabi is home to world-class cycling facilities including a total of 28km of waterside cycling track at Al Hudayriyat Island and a total of 40km of cycling track at Al Wathba in the desert, which offer dedicated facilities for cyclists of all levels. Abu Dhabi’s cycling community can also train for free twice a week on the world-famous Yas Marina Circuit Formula One track on Yas Island. In addition, the community has unlimited access to an established urban cycling network that has recently been expanded and upgraded.
Abu Dhabi’s plans to advance cycling as a more environmentally friendly form of transport are in line with the UAE’s wider efforts to drive sustainability, underlined by the country’s bid to host COP28 in 2023.