Abu Dhabi: Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Member of Abu Dhabi Executive Council and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Office, has received the ‘UCI Bike City’ label for Abu Dhabi from the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), cycling’s global governing body. Abu Dhabi is the first destination in Asia to receive the prestigious cycling distinction.
Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed received the award at a special ceremony at Hudayriyat Island cycling track in Abu Dhabi, which was also attended by Aref Hamad Al Awani, Secretary General of Abu Dhabi Sports Council, as well as David Lappartient, president of UCI.
Long-term cycling ambitions
During the event, Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed also launched Bike Abu Dhabi, a new enabling platform to spearhead the emirate’s long-term cycling ambitions to become a leading global cycling hub by further enhancing infrastructure and by fostering links between three critical elements for cycling growth: Mobility, health and leisure, and sport.
Commenting on the occasion, Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed, said: “This celebrated title reflects the strategic approach our government has taken to transforming Abu Dhabi into a haven for cyclists. Through visionary thinking, the emirate has developed state-of-the-art sports and community facilities that help enhance Abu Dhabi’s position as one of the world’s most livable cities”.
‘High quality and cycling-friendly infrastructure’
Aref Hamad Al Awani said: “The Bike City label reflects the city’s impressive global ranking for its high quality and cycling-friendly infrastructure. This adds to Abu Dhabi’s multiple advancements in cycling and in the take-up of the sport, which helps support a healthy lifestyle, contributes to protecting the environment, and enhances wellbeing among Abu Dhabi’s community.”
David Lappartient commented: “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. We are happy to announce Abu Dhabi as the latest addition to this list.”
More sustainable means of transport
Abu Dhabi’s new UCI Bike City label recognises the emirate’s long-standing commitment to the UCI’s Cycling for All strategy, which aims to promote cycling as a healthy, everyday activity, as a more sustainable means of transport and as a competitive sport for amateurs and professionals. Abu Dhabi joins other established Bike Cities around the world, including Bergen, Copenhagen, Glasgow, Paris, Vancouver and Yorkshire.
Under the Bike Abu Dhabi platform, the emirate will see significant infrastructure enhancements, including an extension of the emirate’s 300km cycling network to more than 1,000km. The network expansion includes the 109km Abu Dhabi Loop – a segregated cycle way linking key destinations across the city, further enhancing mobility and encouraging the population to engage in a healthier lifestyle through safe and sustainable transportation.
Plans are also in place to build Velodrome Hudayriyat — a 3,500-capacity arena for track racing that will provide further opportunities to host high-profile international and local cycling events. The 12,000sqm development will further enhance Hudayriyat Island as the city’s main cycling hub.
After the unveiling, and to mark the occasion, the first ever Bike Abu Dhabi community ride took place at the Hudayriyat cycling track.