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Published on : Monday, November 4, 2013
Rising early to catch the sunrise along the stunning Abu Dhabi Corniche, Sir Chris Hoy – the UK’s most successful Olympian and 11-time World Track Cyclist Champion – teamed up with Emirati Aboubaker Al Sakaf and discovered how the UAE capital’s ‘on your bike’ offering is moving up a gear.
Aboubaker, the brain behind Abu Dhabi’s Fun Ride Sports, which rents bikes to those wanting to cycle the eight-kilometreCorniche beach and gardens stretch or the wide boulevards of Yas Marina Circuit – home to this week’s F1® Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – was “thrilled” to meet Scotland’s ‘Golden Thighs’ who put the adrenaline back into British cycling.
“Sir Chris did a lot for the sport in Britain – and I’m trying to encourage it more here and the authorities are behind the move. Every Tuesday night people cycle the Yas Marina Circuit paying just 25 Dirhams – or less than four pounds – to hire a bike. We’ve also introduced guided cycle tours of Yas Island for visitors who get out into the sunshine and sightsee while exercising,” said Aboubaker.
“It’s all really taking off now. A couple of years ago people here were a little bit wary about riding bicycles, there was no established bike riding culture like there is in Europe. I lived in France while at university and when I came home I wanted to bring back this concept of healthy transportation. And visitors love it – as well as Emiratis – what could be better than riding along the Corniche, by the ocean, relaxing with the views and getting fit at the same time.”
Sir Chris – in Abu Dhabi to attend this week’s Grand Prix – was impressed with Aboubaker’s fledgling set-up.
“He’s got all sorts of bikes for hire here – from mountain bikes, to city bikes which can fit two or three passengers on the back and even specially designed bikes for ladies wearing abayas! He’s made a great effort and when you see everyone out cycling and having fun, you know he’s made a difference. Won’t be long surely before there’s a major cycling competition somewhere in the Arabian Gulf – and Abu Dhabi would seem perfect for it,” said the most successful Olympic cyclist of all time.
An increasing number of guests staying in Abu Dhabi’s hotels are driving a growth in demand for cycling excursions during their stay.
Shaun Parsons, General Manager of the five-star Le Royal Méridien Abu Dhabi close to the Corniche says guided cycling tours are one of the popular products his concierge service offers.
“It’s not surprising really given the daytime winter temperatures of between 22-30 degrees which are perfect cycling conditions. Cycling has become an attraction in itself and we actively promote cycling events and cycling opportunities to our guests as a safe, energetic and healthy leisure experience.”
The recent addition of a dedicated bicycle hire and two-kilometre training circuit at Abu Dhabi Golf & Equestrian Club adds further weight to Fun Ride Sports’ already burgeoning saddle-bag, and with plans for closer hotel and tour operator co-operation, the UAE capital’s ‘On Your Bike’ offering is on track for sustained growth.
Source:- Abu Dhabi Tourism
Tags: Sir Chris Hoy