The Dubai Roadsters are a diverse group of avid riders with a variety of skills and fitness levels and have been riding in Dubai since before the year 2000. Please see some pictures from the early days of the Roadsters, from our Trips to Thailand, our Team Time Trials, the Wolfis Contessa's and the Coast to Coast events we organized in the past in our Gallery.
All riders are welcome to join the weekly rides as long as they have a bike in good working condition, a helmet, and lights for the night rides. The shortest distance on Friday morning is our "steady" 85km which has an approximate average speed of 34/35km/h. Most importantly you must have a passion for cycling. We also recommend that you carry a completed copy of the Rider Information Card, which is a business card that contains your emergency contact information. It is available free of charge from Wolfi's Bike Shop
There are no fees to ride with the Dubai Roadsters as it is an informal, though regular, gathering of cyclists. After you have ridden with us for some time, we will ask that you support the follow car program at least once per year with a donation of 315AED.
You can get all the latest updates on the Dubai Roadsters Facebook Page and our yearly Coast to Coast Challenge on the Roadsters events page & on Facebook.
See you soon on our rides
Our main ride takes place on a Friday morning starting from District One Nad Al Sheba Cycle Park.
The Friday Ride meets at Nad al Sheba Cycle Park at 05:30am in the summer month and at 6:00am in the winter. The group heads out on the roads/highways to Academic City and back. This start time changes twice a year when the temperature changes. We have a Facebook Page where we communicate regular information which can be found here.
The group regularly consists of around 150 riders and we start with a lap of Nad Al Sheba before heading out down Meydan Road. While on Meydan Road we will split the group in to two smaller groups for safety reasons. Do not be alarmed by this split, as we will all stop at the 45km point to regroup. The 2 groups ride at the same speed with a 1 minute time gap between them and both reach the water stop at 45km.. After a brief stop, the group is then split to 3 ride distances of approximately 85km Steady, 85km Fast & a 120km route.
To join this ride you should feel comfortable riding in a large group, be able to complete the 85km and keep a pace of 32-38km/ph. We encourage all those who join the ride to observe an acceptable cycling etiquette, be courteous to other riders in the group and roll through and take your turn on the front of the bunch. For a short video on how to ride in a group please watch this informative video from the guys at GCN.
Support vehicles follow the main bunch at all times. These support vehicles come at a cost, and should you be a regular on the Roadsters Friday ride then we would ask you to pay an annual 200dhs to contribute to the running of these support cars. (See below for Core Rider information). The support cars keep us safe, provide us with water & assist should they suffer a mechanical.( we strongly recommend to get in the car to make you way back to the goup).
We would also like to thank Al Ain Water for their continued support of the Dubai Roadsters. Al Ain Water have supplied the water on the Friday morning rides since 2012.
If you ride regularly with the roadsters then we would consider you to be a Core Rider. As such, you are considered a responsible member of the group and are asked to comply with safety initiatives to further enhance the enjoyment of the Friday Ride for everybody.
1. Core Riders will be asked to deposit 200dhs as a support towards the support cars to Wolfis Bike Shop annually and also provide your name, email & telephone number.
2. Core Riders will receive special notices by eMail through the Wolfis Bike Shop Blog.
3. Core Riders details will have their details added to a confidential database which will be used in the event of an emergency, whereby your nominated Emergency Contact will be contacted should you be involved in an accident.
4. Core Riders can be easily identified via the Numbered Dubai Roadsters sticker which is visible on their bikes.
The Tuesday and Sunday rides start at 18:00 and usually run until 19:30. They are held on the circuit at Nad Al Sheba Cycle Park. We meet on the cobbled path which links the car park to the track and once again, there is no fee to join these rides. You do not need to ride for the entirety of the ride and can peel off to the car park when you have completed your desired distance.
You can expect a smaller group of riders compared with the Friday AM Ride, however the pace remains the same. Feel free to go at your own pace or join the main bunch and hang on for as long as you can. If you get dropped then sit a lap out and wait for the bunch to roll round before jumping back on with the pace setters. These rides allow you to gauge fitness and get a feel for the Friday Morning Ride which is a longer distance as well as meeting new people and initiating yourself in the Dubai Cycling Community.
See the Safe Places to Train tab for maps showing the NAS Cycle Park Circuit and also the Alternate Circuit.
Have yourself and your bike prepared so the ride can start as scheduled.
Riding In Formation: On our weekly rides we normally ride in a formation of two riders next to each other, two parallel lines from front of group to the back – the front positions are very responsible/crucial positions in the group and only experienced riders familiar with the route/riding etiquette should ride up front.
To keep a steady riding formation/speed it is important that you try to avoid free-wheeling (not pedaling) at any time when riding in the group. Always keep rotating the cranks even if you are not putting any force/power on the pedals.
If you stop pedaling riders behind you will assume you are slowing down (almost like a break light on a car) and it will result in a chain reaction (domino effect) and the speed will be unsteady in the group. The group will be like an elastic band, contracting and stretching which makes riders sprint then brake to maintain the group integrity.
Friday Rides. here are 3 groups for the Friday Rides with varying distances and average speeds; 70km, ±100km, and ± 120km. The whole group rides together to the first turn-around point at the Traffic Light in Academic City (35km), and then the overall pace tends to increase somewhat till the second turning point at Al Awir Petrol Station where we stop to refuel (50 km). From here the faster riders continue on and the pace increases to whatever the group wants to do. If riding in a certain level group for the first time, be prepared to become fatigued quicker than you are used to, so you should anticipate this and make an effort to maintain concentration through the remainder of the ride so that the bunch remains safe for everyone.
It is safer if the group maintains its integrity until Nad Al Sheba where riders can compete with each other in sprints as they are on familiar ground and the traffic will have disappeared. After leaving Nad Al Sheba, we should regroup before reaching the bridge over Al Khail Road so the riders behind including the support car can catch up for the final section back to the Lime Tree Café where you can have a restorative coffee and carrot cake.
DON’T LEAVE RIDERS ALONE BEHIND THE GROUP: If someone encounters a problem, either mechanical or physical, which forces them to stop, someone should stop with them to ensure they have a companion to help them catch up to the group again, or to stay with them until further help arrives. It is not safe to be alone out in the desert.
There are usually support vehicles for the Rides: hese vehicles are driven by volunteers and they follow the group to help out if needed and to warn other road traffic of the presence of cyclists. If you or any of your family or friends would like to help out by volunteering to drive a support vehicle please register on the Dubai Roadsters website.
Keep a close watch far enough ahead so that you can see and point out obstacles early enough to allow yourself and those behind you to smoothly avoid them. Pass on Signals to other riders as our groups are fairly big. Ride predictably. The riders in the lead of the group must give signals to the rider’s behind. You can use signals by hand or your voice (like “hole “for a hole in the road or “left turn” for a change of direction) to give or pass on signals. Signals coming from the front should be passed on to the riders behind you.
Always expect that we have new riders in the group which are not aware of the route so they need to know where to go. Crashes occur when you swerve quickly to one side to avoid a hole and you bump the rider beside you or the rider behind you. If you swerve quickly to avoid an obstacle, the rider following you will not have time to avoid it. You don’t want someone to do that to you, do you?
Look first, move second: Look to where you want to move to before you move. This goes hand-in-hand with moving smoothly and being predictable whenever you decide to change positions within the group. Remember, if you make a quick, unexpected move, the rider behind you will be the one who crashes when your rear wheel hits his or her front wheel. Be especially aware of faster riders approaching from the rear when you move laterally. Look sideways and behind you. Even if you’re riding a few inches to the left of the white line on the right side of the road, don’t think someone won’t ride up on your right in the gravel on the shoulder. Expect the unexpected and you’ll be ready for anything.
Keep a safe distance from the bike in front of you. You still get plenty of draft if your front wheel is a foot or two behind the wheel in front of you. This gives you time to react to whatever the person in front of you does. This also means not overlapping your front wheel with the rear wheel of the rider in front of you, except when riding in an echelon in a crosswind. Remember, if the rider in front of you moves into your front wheel, YOU are going to crash, not the rider in front of you.
Keep a safe distance from the bike beside you. Just because you see the racers in a peloton riding with their handlebars a couple of inches from their neighbouring rider’s, doesn’t mean they ride that way all of the time. The rougher the roads and the less experienced the riders, the farther apart everyone should stay for safety’s sake and for peace of mind. Because many of the roads are, shall we say, less than ideally smooth, it makes sense to keep your handlebars a foot or so from your neighbour’s. Also, many of the riders on the social rides do not possess the riding skills necessary to recover from bumping bars. Ride where you’re comfortable. If you find yourself riding next to someone who rides too close for your comfort level, calmly and smoothly move away and back to another spot in the group.
Stand-up pedalling: When you stand up to pedal, push a bit harder on the pedals as you stand to keep from moving your bike backwards and into the front wheel of the person behind you.
Braking: Use your brakes lightly and sparingly. Adjust your speed by small changes in your pedalling cadence rather than using your brakes. Avoid strong braking. If you need to stop (flat, dropped water bottle, etc.) yell STOPPING and SLOWLY move to the right side of the road, looking first, and applying your brakes very lightly.
Passing slower riders: You’re in the back of the bunch and decide to move up to the front. Move up slowly, keeping far enough to the side of the riders you are passing to keep from hitting them if they suddenly swerve to avoid an obstacle. As in driving your car in traffic, when moving up in a pack, watch several riders ahead to get an idea of what may cause the rider closest to you to move into your path.
Cornering: Hold your line through corners. Unless you’re way out in front or behind everyone else, avoid cornering like you’re racing, i.e. swinging wide then cutting to the inside of the corner, especially on left turns where you cut the corner into the left traffic lane. Many of the corners contain sand or gravel in the inside so it’s best to hold your line and stay in the car wheel “lanes” where there is less debris. Corner smoothly being aware of others in the group around you. You want them to do the same for you.
Stop signs: Bicycles are considered motor vehicles and therefore are subject to the same laws. Also, it’s very good for public relations between bicyclists and vehicle drivers if we bicyclists obey the stop signs, especially when vehicles are present. Always watch the other riders around you at intersections with stop signs. Some riders like to come to a complete stop while others seem content with simply slowing down to make sure no vehicles are approaching. If the riders in front smoothly slow to a stop, no problems will occur. If the front riders fly up to the intersection and brake suddenly, a crash is likely to occur when the riders from the rear fail to stop quickly enough. Again, be predictable, ride smoothly, look ahead, and let the riders behind you know what you’re going to do.
Trucks and Cars: Which brings up what to do when a vehicle driver does something that you find objectionable. About 99.9 percent of the time, the best thing to do is NOTHING. Especially if someone in a vehicle zooms by you too closely for comfort from behind and yells at you. Gesturing something even worse the second time. Even smiling and waving to them acknowledges that you noticed them, which reinforces their act because they were trying to get a reaction out of you. If you show them no reaction at all, it’s not fun and they may not do it the next time they pass a bicyclist.Perish the thought that you can teach them anything by yelling or gesturing. You can only make things worse. DO NOTHING except IGNORE THEM. Thankfully, this does not happen very often in our area. TIP – After the objectionable driver passes, don’t dwell on the negative experience and start talking about all of the other bad drivers you’ve encountered over the years. Forget the incident. Keep the conversation positive. Help everyone enjoy the beautiful countryside and the rest of the ride.
Pace lines and Echelons: When riding into the wind, a rotating pace line is a fun way to keep moving at a higher speed while still getting to draft others. Echelons are very helpful when riding with a strong crosswind. Both of these specialized peloton manoeuvres require concentration, a great deal of cooperation and the smoothest riding you can muster. You can read how to ride pace lines and echelons in most of the bicycling how-to books but the best way to learn is to listen to the experienced riders in the pack and give it a try.
Stay calm, keep focused, ride smoothly and you will do just fine. And remember, you drop back on the windward side and move up on the leeward side. More detailed information including diagrams, on Pace lines can be found at the following website.
Eating and Drinking: It’s reasonably safe to have a drink from your water bottle while maintaining your position in the peloton, provided you are able to hold your position without swerving or slowing. Eating, especially when it involves opening the wrapper of your food bar, is best accomplished at the back of the pack where you can either ride with no hands more safely to open the wrapper or wrestle with biting the wrapper open. Put the empty wrapper in your pocket – Don’t Litter.
Aero or Tri bars: These are great for time trials but should never be used while you are riding in a peloton, unless you are the very last rider in the group. While you are steering with your elbows, you have limited control over the direction and stability of your bicycle as well as not being able to use the brakes. This is very dangerous for everyone behind you. Remember, the safety and well being of everyone beside and behind you is in your hands, so keep them on the handlebars while anyone is beside or behind you.
Nose blowing and spitting: Everyone gets a runny nose or cough from time to time, be it from a cold or just cold-rhinitis (nasal irritation from cold weather). When you need to blow your nose or spit, be considerate of those beside and behind you. Move to the leeward side of the pack or, better yet, to the back of the peloton before blowing your nose or spitting. Remember, when riding 15 to 25 mph everything you eject goes backwards quickly enough and far enough to land on fellow riders a considerable distance behind you.
Conversations in the Peloton: Unless you’re on a training ride with other racers, group rides are social events where everyone wants to enjoy themselves. Think of it as a party on bicycles with your old friends and new acquaintances. What you talk about with the person next to you is your business but please remember that everyone is out for a pleasant time in the beautiful countryside.
Only two subjects come to mind that seem to be disagreeable to many riders.
Number One – Nobody likes to be told how to ride….even if they need it. Therefore, don’t offer riding advice to anyone unless they directly ask YOU a specific question. If you overhear someone asking someone else a riding question, refrain from jumping into the conversation with your own opinion.
Number Two – although almost everyone who has ridden for a while has “crash” stories, refrain from regaling new riders with the gory details. What’s old-hat to you may be very frightening to a new rider. Keep the conversations positive and up-beat and everyone will have a great time.
Support on the Ride – For Yourself and Others: Use your common sense when deciding what items you will need on any given Ride. Because of the extreme temperature in the United Arab Emirates, you should always carry sufficient bidons, and refill them at all opportunities.
Spares and Repair Kit: Also ensure that you have the correct spares and tools to repair/replace a punctured tube, including; tube, patches, pump, tyre lever, and knowledge of how to do this.
Sun Protection: If you are susceptible to sunburn, then also bring enough sun cream to last the duration of the ride.
I nice page we found about some further tips from Mummu Cycling
Final words of wisdom. Riding in a peloton is like any other social event, only it is conducted at 15 to 30+ mph on sometimes bumpy roads. Your safe conduct, courteous behaviour and patience are always appreciated by everyone. Try especially hard to stay focused and safe toward the end of the ride when everyone is tired and not thinking as clearly. Have fun and help everyone else on the ride to have fun. Now turn your computer off and go riding.