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Its that time of the year again. When you find yourself trying to shift gear in your car with the indicators, pedaling under the table at Friday brunch and carbo-loading like your about to tackle the Pyrenees. Yes summer is fading and riding season is here!
With the cycling scene in the UAE growing at a healthy pace. And a wide selection of events popping up to choose from. We take a look at 3 things that’s needed for a good ride.
- Bike: Well, some are more obvious than others. Never the less, you will need a bike. Finding the right bike for you can be more challenging than you think. With so much on offer and over zealous salesmen trying to convince you what you “actually want”, finding the right bike can be a daunting task. First you have to ask yourself “What do I want to do with my bike?”. Do you want to go hit some trails in the RAK mountains? Do you want to go cruise the Cornish in Abu Dhabi? Do you want to get fit riding Al Qudra on the weekends? Or do you want to fly like the wind and leave other cyclist with the memory of your back wheel?
– For cruising, simple mountain bike, stylish cruiser or hybrid bike is what you want to look at. Here its all about comfortable riding while you soak up the scenery. Or showing off with a stylish work of art.
-For fitness: Here you’ll want to look at hybrid bikes or endurance road bikes . Hybrids come in many flavors. But generally thinner wheels and straight handlebars for more control. A larger gap between the back wheel and upright frame post identifies a endurance road bike. Its more comfortable than race bikes, but less “snappy” under acceleration.
-For Racing and Speed: Here its all about a stiff frame, Power transfer, a large BB “Bottom Bracket” area and a “snappy” ride. Yes bike weight plays a part. But if you really want to shave that extra kilo or two off your package, then your belly is the best place to start. In drive train you looking at a group set standard of at least Shimano 105 up to Dura Ace depending on how serious you are and how big your budget is. Lastly a professional bike fit is paramount to have the bike set up to your dimensions. Unless you looking for an excuse to visit your chiropractor.
-Off road/MTB: How hard do you want to ride? Full suspension will keep your back wheel on the ground and secure better traction, as well as add comfort. Suspension travel depends on the amount of force you need absorbed. For normal riding 100mm-120mm travel is ample. For flying down the mountain like a deranged bat you’ll need at least 200mm front and rear, as well as a good medical plan. Don’t get me wrong, Downhill is my thing. But there you have to commit, and fall and fall hard you will.
- Gear- Now that you have your bike, you need some accessories. This is mostly down to preference, besides a Helmet, correct pedals and shoes that fit well. Water bottles, Hydration packs, bell or air horn, flickering visibility lights, full strength night riding beam, chrome bar ends or aero bars. All down to what you like. Off course you will also need apparel suited to the conditions. You will be slightly uncomfortable hitting Al Qudra in a full winter riding set complete with arm and leg warmers no matter how stylish it looks. And will likely need that medical plan to replace some teeth if attempting going down a steep Mountain Bike trail with a aero road race helmet instead of a full face. But with some common sense none of this should be a problem. With so much on offer you can be like a kid in a candy store here.
- Good People- The most important part in having a good time in the saddle “or on the bars” is the people you go with. That guy from the office that’s always trying to do you in is probably not the best bet for a good ride no matter how experienced he is. Luckily, the bike scene in the UAE has a great community behind it. Weather you arrive by yourself or go with a group. People are friendly, helpful and fun. Weather you lost your way at Showka following a bunch of Aussies you don’t know from a bar of soap, having a laugh trying to get back to the trail again. Or blew a tire somewhere on Al Whatba realizing the friendly person who stopped to help is that contact you’ve been looking for to expand your business. The community in the UAE is a vibrant bunch, ensuring there is never a dull moment.. Unless you just took out a second mortgage on your house to buy that speed machine you where dreaming about, only to get to the track and have someone fly past you like you like the starship Enterprise in full warp. Besides that. Cycling is a great way to socialize, stay fit and have fun.