Dubai: Four years ago, about 460 people participated in the Spinneys Dubai 92 Cycle Challenge. Last December, the numbers of participants shot up to 2,000. This, among many other examples, is an indicator of how interest in cycling in the UAE, specifically Dubai, has been on the increase.

“The market growth for cycling has been phenomenal — it has gone from a handful of riders to many hundreds and that’s just over the past three years,” says Stewart Howison, Co-Founder of Cycle Safe Dubai. He admits that it was not that easy for a cyclist to find the right places in the past but not any more. Today, there are many safe places to cycle in Dubai, including Nad Al Sheba Cycle Path, Al Qudra Cycle Path and Jumeirah Open Beach Track.

Simon Foy, Business Development Manager at Revolution Cycles, has recently moved to Dubai and is impressed by the cycling facilities here. “There’s nothing in the UK that resembles the designated areas here,” he says. Foy was a member of The Lancashire Road Club and says he ususally found it difficult to find places to cycle back home. However, like many others, he believes that in the UAE, a cyclist would find it hard to cycle on the roads. “If there were to be separate paths for cycling, that would be great.”

Dina Al Hamahmy, a student, says, “I would like to be able to get to places on a bicycle, but right now it’s too dangerous.”

Donal Kilalea, CEO and President at Promoseven Sports Marketing, says cycling as a sport is very safe in Dubai but as a leisure activity or a means of transport, it has some way to go yet. There are many plans under way that will make cycling feasible within the city.

The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) is working on constructing more cycling paths like the one on Jumeirah Road.

—Farah Hamdy is an intern at Gulf News