Dubai is well on its way to becoming the Copenhagen of the Middle East, having opened 104 km of dedicated cycle paths.
In what's no doubt a relief for riders on the notoriously fast and dangerous roads, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) is to construct a total of 850 km of 'strategic' cycleways intended to link in with public transport, central business districts, tourist spots and shopping areas.
Engineer Maitha Bin Udai, CEO of RTA Traffic and Roads Agency, told Gulf News: “Criteria also included the selection of areas that have a peculiar nature which have to be given priority in the construction process based on the tourist environment, popularity of the area, accessibility to the Metro stations and mass transit modes, and the fulfilment of safety and the aesthetic aspects, among others."
Just a few days ago, it was announced that the final touches were being made to the route for the Dubai Tour 2014. The first stage will sweep around some of the downtown sights including Burj Khalifa and Burj Al Arab, while a later stage is likely to take in the Hatta mountain area, according to Gulf News.
It's expected to run from February 5th to 8th, a week before the Tour of Qatar, and is hoped to gain HC status in the same way as Quatar and Oman, when the UCI calendar is finalised.
The Crown Prince of Dubai, has put up a prize fund for the event, according to Saeed Hareb, President of the Dubai Tour 2014.
Mr Hareb said: “The huge attendance of cyclists and participants from the expatriates living in the UAE [at the the 70-kilometre Nad Al Sheba Ramadan cycling race] was testimony of what we can possibly expect when the Dubai Tour is organised for the first time next year.”
After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.