Members of United Bikers gather at the Abu Dhabi Corniche for their weekly group cycling event. Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: As they cycle along the corniche, a community group in Abu Dhabi is looking to promote both healthy lifestyles and making new friends with its weekly outdoor cycling events in the capital, which are open to anyone who wants to take part.

“The group was established in 2015 with the goal of combining a healthy lifestyle activity along with camaraderie and friendship; we wanted people to enjoy themselves and to have a good time while staying fit and healthy,” said Roosevelt Ramis, 39, from the Philippines and the founder of United Bikers.

“Our events are open to anyone from any nationality as long as they can follow and respect the rules. We get new people regularly joining our events with many of them becoming regular members. A lot of them enjoy coming back because they like to be outdoors, they like making new friends, and they also feel themselves getting stronger and healthier,” he added.

Ramis said that creating a positive environment for members was a good way of keeping them motivated to stay healthy.

“Staying healthy is an essential part of life, but so is enjoying your life and having a good time and that’s why we mix them both together so that staying fit doesn’t have to feel like a work routine. Many people lose motivation when trying to get in shape because it’s not fun, so if you can inject enjoyment into the activity, people will be more motivated to keep going.”

Edna Borromeo, a 46-year-old Filipino resident who has been attending the group’s outdoor cycling events for two years, said she has felt younger ever since she joined.

“Cycling with the group has been very good for my health and body, I feel much younger even at my age since I joined. Compared to when I started, I am physically stronger and have also increased my stamina.

“What’s also great about the group is you socialise and make friends as well. After a long day at work with stress, it’s nice to be able to come out in the evening and relax your mind while cycling outside,” she added.

Mustafa An Naim, another member of the group, also spoke positively about the group’s social atmosphere while keeping fit.

“The group is creating a social life along with sports and this is good for the brain and body. It’s nice when you see members improving over time, when some of them joined they would get tired after 30 minutes but now they can ride for two hours,” said the 55-year-old Moroccan who also played professional football in France during his career.

“I have always looked after myself because I used to play football. When it comes to staying fit and healthy, cycling is definitely one of the best ways to do that. Cycling builds your strength and stamina, and the people enjoy it because it is an outdoor activity, people like to be outside,” he added.

Franklin Navata, 38, from the Philippines, said his health has improved since he joined.

“In terms of my health, I feel my breathing has got better since I joined the group and started cycling. I think that’s down to increasing my stamina levels, which has led to an overall improvement in my health. There’s also the mental side of things as well, you sometimes get a lot of stress from your daily life and so I always feel much better when I get to cycle outdoors.

“Along with the health benefits I enjoy the socialising aspect of the group, it’s nice to meet new people and to make new friends,” he added, recommending others to give the group a try.