Dedicated bicycle paths across Qatar – built for safety and smooth rides – continue to encourage more residents to take up cycling nowadays as temperatures continue to recede.
“It’s an absolute pleasure having a bike path that we can do our training rides on, especially the Olympic Cycle Track (OCT). It’s safe especially for night rides for people with busy schedules during the day,” Qatar Chain Reaction’s (QCR) Saturday Social Ride cyclist Adiel Mohamed told Gulf Times.
He said the more than 33km long and 7m wide Track – a Guinness World Record for the Longest Continuous Cycling Path - has been attracting children and the elderly who don’t like riding on the roads with cars.
From left: Naser al-Malki, Gabriel Lopez, Noor Aljaber, Carla Pregigueiro, Adiel Mohamed, and Pistol Florin (in yellow jersey) at the Ride of Champions yesterday.
According to the Qatar Cycling Federation (QCF), the car-free two-lane road connects Doha and Al Bayt Stadium outside Al Khor, enabling safe riding round the clock.
OCT, which also features 29 tunnels and five bridges, as well as parking areas, was also constructed to host international sports competitions.
This world-class lane “became a game changer for cycling” in the country after it opened in February this year, QCF added.
From left: Cyclists Carla Pregigueiro, Rafael Tamarit, Adiel Mohamed riding along the 33km Olympic Cycle Track.
“It’s a safe place to exercise, 33km uninterrupted path to Al Khor and 33km back to Doha,” Mohamed said. “It is new and it’s actually the longest continuous track in the world.”
The Hamad International Airport (HIA) bicycle path network – also a traffic-free and safe track – remains to be a favourite for neophytes and those who want to take a 30-minute ride with friends and colleagues during their free time.
Adiel Mohamed with other cyclists on a regular bike ride along a low-traffic road
“Although this cycle path follows the main road out to the airport, the landscaped surround and the appeal of the destination to youngsters, make this a good route for a family ride. You'll also meet groups of cyclists using the 20km out and back for training. It is well lit, so possible to be safe after dark,” QCR posted on its website.
Filipino expatriate Kristine D, who regularly cycles with her colleague Jennifer, said that they find the HIA track as one of the safest in Doha and provides a relaxing atmosphere for cyclists.
A quick fix for bicycle tyres
“We’ve been doing this in the past years but because of the increasing number of dedicated bicycle lanes, we now plan to cycle more every week,” she said, adding that they also want to try other lanes such as the one at Al Bidda Park and Doha Festival City.
Besides OCT, QCF and QCR also suggested a number of low traffic or traffic-free locations frequented by cyclists in the country, including the Losail International Circuit (north of Doha), Ceremonial Road, Al Sheehaniya to Al Jamailiyah, and Dukhan and Umm Baab.