The emirate of Abu Dhabi has been awarded the “Bike City” label by the Union Cycliste Internationale. Responding to the development, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, said that the award must be seen as a global recognition for Abu Dhabi and the UAE.
Abu Dhabi has become the first destination in Asia to receive the exceptional title. The “Bike City” title is awarded to cities and regions which hosts in major UCI cycling events as well as invest in developing community cycling and related infrastructure and programmes.
So far, only 20 cities and regions have received the award for cycling. These cities include Bergen in Norway; Copenhagen, the Danish capital; Glasgow in Scotland; and the French capital Paris.
Taking to Twitter, Sheikh Mohamed underlined that the award is a recognition of Abu Dhabi's proactive support for sports and wellness.
"One of our top priorities is to promote sport and wellness, ensuring society can safely and conveniently lead a healthier lifestyle," Sheikh Mohamed added.
In line with this development, Abu Dhabi announced a series of new initiatives and centres encourage more people to enjoy the sport of cycling.
Some of the planned infrastructure projects include a new 109-kilometre cycling track called the Abu Dhabi Loop and the 3,500-seat Velodrome Hudayriyat, scheduled to be built on Hudayriyat Island.
The Abu Dhabi Loop will include a segregated cycle track linking key destinations across the city. With a 12,000-square-metre velodrome, the centre will also host track racing.
In total, the emirate has plans to expand its existing 300km cycling network to over 1,000km.
Recently, Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed, member of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council and chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Office, launched Bike Abu Dhabi as a platform to accelerate the fulfilment of the emirate’s long-term ambition to become a leading cycling destination in the world. The organisation is aimed at strengthening cycling infrastructure projects and fostering links between three important elements for the growth of cycling- mobility, health and leisure, and sport.
Bike Abu Dhabi will be organising several events and competitions taking place in the emirate, including the Abu Dhabi Al Ain Classic. It is a one-day race open to UAE clubs and amateurs, starting from Abu Dhabi city to Al Ain.
Furthermore, Abu Dhabi will be hosting the UCI Urban Cycling World Championships in 2022 and 2024, along with the 2028 UCI Gran Fondo World Championships.
With 28km of cycling track at Hudayriyat Island and 40km at Al Wathba, Abu Dhabi has served as a centre for world-class cycling events and community cycling for several years now.