Dubai's Desperate Housewife

Trials and traumas of a full-time mum in Dubai

Pedal power

with 13 comments

Last night  a friend roped me into joining the Tour de France wanabees who cycle around the Dubai Autodrome race track every Wednesday night.

As a “casual” cyclist, who potters around the garden paths of her compound one or two times a week, getting landscaping and furniture ideas from other people’s gardens and inhaling the scent of the flowers wilting in the hot, morning sun, it was a big development for me.

Half an hour later, Mrs Dubai lumbered past on her mountain bike

The preparation was immense.

For a start, I had to buy a cycle helmet, because that’s the rules: No helmet – no ride. Fair enough when you consider most of the pro cyclists there would be hitting speeds of 50kmh or more. So, the brains were measured and a helmet was purchased.

A time was agreed with my friend.

And then the real preparation began: The mental battle to get myself to actually go. I psyched myself up for nearly a week. It would be fine. I wouldn’t be swept off my bike by gangs of men in lycra and pointy hats flying past me, their wiry little legs pumping up and down like pistons. The cyclists would be welcoming (or would at least kindly ignore me and my amateur’s bike and my M&S capri pants). The tarmac would be smooth. It might even be fun.

But, most of all, cycling in the evening would mean I wasn’t sitting at home, inhaling Shiraz.

Yesterday evening I started getting ready. I ate a banana to get my energy up. I removed multiple child car seats from the back of the gas-guzzler, collapsed the seats and manhandled the bike into the back (truly, I have to admit here that although the track is only 1.5km from home, there was absolutely no way I could both cycle to it and around it. No way on earth – there’s a very big hill involved).

So, as 7.45pm approached, I adjusted the new bike helmet, accepted that I’d never understand how the heart monitor / calorie-counter thing worked, and set off in tandem with my friend.

The first signs were positive – we passed a panting cyclist, no doubt pedalling his way back to Abu Dhabi after two hours on the track – and we passed a few cars leaving. The floodlights were on; the ushers ushered us in. We parked, we unloaded the bikes, we put on our helmets, shoved the car keys into our bras and pedalled off towards the track.

Maybe next week we’ll get there before it closes.


Written by mrsdubai

September 20, 2012 at 3:01 pm

13 Responses

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  1. Sitting in rainy (as usual) Liverpool and have been reading your blog for about a month now (since 1st visiting Dubai and wanting to find the best bag shops in Karama and your blog surfaced) I absolutely love your posts. Until the next one.


    September 20, 2012 at 3:11 pm

  2. Um….why do you have to cycle in the Velodrome? Honest, that would really put me off from returning to cycle. I would suggest cycling in early morning in an area, if possible with less traffic or perhaps later on in evening. But then, I don’t cycle indoors..not even in the winter. I do cycle even when it’s -25 degrees C as long as there is no ice or much snow which can happen in our area.

    I understand that Dubai has not yet been designed that is cycling-friendly?

    Start simple –bike to the park, store, community centre, a friend’s place. Make it enjoyable and sometimes a functional ride.

    Note: I returned to cycling when I was 32 yrs.


    September 20, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    • Hi Jean, thanks for your tips. 🙂 It’s not a velodrome, it’s a gorgeous outdoor car-racing track – over 2kms of smooth, wide tarmac. I love the idea of cycling on a smooth surface somewhere safe from the traffic – last night it would have been under the light of a pretty crescent moon. Where do you live? Amazing that you cycle when it’s -25C – I hope you have ear muffs? xox


      September 20, 2012 at 7:47 pm

      • In Calgary Alberta. We’re north of Vancouver, if you look at map of Canada….and 900 km. east of VAncouver. In the Canadian prairies. I’ve lived and cycled for many years in both Vancouver and Toronto.

        Stay healthy in Dubai since it gets hot and one’s prone to excuses. Unless you jump into the pool.


        September 21, 2012 at 8:30 am

  3. LOL! What hill?!


    September 20, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    • Umm…. that famous one? Mount Spinneys? 🙂


      September 20, 2012 at 7:44 pm

      • Excellent! Would that be before or after the afternoon sand storm? 😉


        September 20, 2012 at 7:57 pm

  4. have you seen the “new” (well it was new to us) cycle track at Nad Al Sheba? we went there for the first time last weekend, its an 8k loop just in front of the Maydan, its lit at night, its free, and its flat! 🙂 no “big hills”, just turn up and ride. we don’t think many people know about it, but we would highly recommend it.


    September 20, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    • Wow, that sounds fantastic. I vaguely remember hearing about it years ago, but I wasn’t a “cyclist” in those days. Maybe see you there one night!


      September 20, 2012 at 7:43 pm

  5. Mrs Dubai….Fantastic! I love it. You made me giggle. Live in AR and know the ‘hill’ – wouldn’t walk up it, let alone cycle up it! I sympathise with my car when it’s ticking over on it waiting for the green light! When is the 90k challenge (is that what it is called??) Anyway, the ‘lots of KMs around the Autodrome on a bike? Would be something good to aim for….might dust off the old helmet and buy some very padded cycling shorts…….Dubai Mummy

    Dubai Mum

    September 21, 2012 at 10:28 pm

    • Dubai Mum, let me know if you’re going – I’ll look out for you!


      September 23, 2012 at 8:56 pm

      • As I said…only discovering this bubble now….it has been an eventful afternoon! Yes….I know that hill…but I drive up it….I am not sure I could walk up it, let alone cycle it! Well done you!

        Dubai Mum

        February 26, 2013 at 6:00 pm

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