Cycling is gaining traction in the UAE Image Credit: Thinkstock

There are many ways to combine fitness and fun, but nothing compares to cycling. Cycling is an excellent way to keep healthy but one of the biggest drawbacks is that it can be very dangerous if you decide to do it on the roads.

Thankfully, Abu Dhabi isn’t short of cycling options, places which are bicycle friendly for people of all abilities. In some cases, you don’t even need your own bike.

1. Yas Marina Circuit

Top of our list is Yas Marina Circuit. Start Yas and Train Yas run every Sunday and Tuesday evening between 6pm and 10pm and are excellent, no stress ways of getting on the bike.

The Formula 1 track is opened up to both cyclists and walkers and you can go at your own pace either by yourself or with friends. The best part? You can hire a good-quality bike and helmet and get pedalling for free! All you have to do is register once at first and every time you go you just collect your wheels and go.

Each lap is 5.5km and has its fair share of gradient changes. The hill at turn two has an incline of 2 per cent, which is enough to tire you out if you're new. All the hire bikes come with data loggers so you can monitor your stats.  

Bicyles Use your own or hire one for free Timings Sunday and Tuesday, 6pm to 10pm Cost Free Register Daman Activelife

2. Al Wathba Cycle Park

A modest 20-minute drive from the Al Maqta area, the Al Wathba Cycling Track is one the city’s best cycling destinations. Located just off the E22 Abu Dhabi-Al Ain Road, Al Wathba is suitable be both road bikes and mountain bikes.

You’ll need to drive there, so make sure your bike is securely fastened to your bike rack.

The route weaves through small sand dunes and is at its most scenic at sunrise and sunset. It gets better: the course is fitted with solar-powered lights so you can ride into the night and an ADNOC Oasis store is en route so you can stop for refreshments.

You can choose to cycle the 8km, 16km, 20km, 22km, and 30km courses.

Bicycles You will need your own Timings Public road, 24/7

3. Corniche

Why not take your own bike to the Corniche? A dedicated cycle path runs the 12km length of the Corniche from Port Zayed all the way around to Marina Mall and is the ideal route of choice if you want to embrace the bustling heart of the city.

The route is completely flat so you won’t find it too strenuous on your legs, but there are always potential hazards. Always be on the lookout for children, especially those on smaller bikes or other perilous wheeled contraptions. Also be on guard for pedestrians crossing the cycle path.

You can hire bikes from a stall on the corner of the Corniche opposite the Hilton Hotel, but these are not excellent quality and you’ll be better off taking your own.

Bicycles Use your own. Hire bikes are available for a small fee but aren't very good Timings Public road, 24/7

4. Green route

We don’t recommend cycling on the roads in Abu Dhabi. While you could be the most law-abiding cyclist in the world, it’s not you that is the problem. Reckless drivers are just on lethal hazard, and the older roads in the city aren’t designed for cycling.

However, around the streets of Mohammad Bin Zayed City, Khalifa City, Al Raha, and Yas Island, a green cycle route exists between the road and the pavement. The route is perfect for moderate cyclists as its flat across all locations.

You will need your own bike, and take care when crossing roads.

Bicycles You will need your own Timings Public road, 24/7

5. Jebel Hafeet

Al Ain might be a 90 minute drive from the city, but advanced – or fearless – cyclists will find it worth it. Park your car in the Green Mubazarah and ascend the 1,200 metre Jebel Hafeet road. The incline is as steep as 30 per cent in parts and even by Tour de France standards, it’s as gruelling as it is spectacular.

The road is wide enough for cars and bicycles, with ample shoulder for a wide berth. There are several stopping points along the ascent which offer magnificent views over Al Ain.

Be warned, this route is not for beginners or for those with heart problems. Even experienced cyclists will find it a challenge, it's like your pedals will be set in concrete. But there is good news: if you successfully survive and make it to the summit, it’s downhill back to the car…

Bicycles You will need your own Timings Public road, 24/7