With gyms and pools open at limited capacity and health suddenly becoming priority, more cyclists are seen hitting the roads in Qatar. And the good news is that Qatar has some of the best cycle tracks in the world. With the weather getting cooler, it is perhaps the best time to hit the road on two wheels.
Below are the recommended cycling spots by Qatar Cycling Federation.
Where To Ride
Olympic Cycling Lane
When the Olympic Cycling Lane opened in February 2020 it instantly became a game changer for cycling in Qatar. For the first time cyclists have a car-free, two lane road, enabling safe riding at all times of day, whether in a group or riding solo. It is an out-and-back route connecting Doha to the Al Bayt Stadium outside Al Khor – a one way distance of 33 kilometers. There is parking at its southern end and at the northern end and additional entrance/exits with parking at Lusail Sports Complex and Al Dayyen.
You will see new cycle paths appearing all over Qatar. Not all paths are fully connected yet but why not get out and explore what’s available in your neighbourhood? Family favourites include the cycle path leading from C-Ring starting here and continuing all the way out to Hamad International Airport. The route is landscaped and planted and after dark, the coloured lights on the expressway make this an extra special trip.
Another family-friendly adventure leads from this spot close to the Ash-Shahaniya camel race track. A few kilometers of riding takes you to the Al Dossari Zoo and Game Reserve but the cycle path extends over 30km northwards through Qatar’s interior for a longer day out.
A route of interest to those wishing to travel longer distances is the path from Doha all the way to Al Ruwais. At time of writing, the route is not connected in all sections but still offers many kilometers of traffic-free cycling in the north. Similarly, the cycle path accompanying the Al Khor highway is nearing completion. Exploring Qatar by bike is becoming ever more attractive.
Doha Festival City
Doha Festival City Mall is enclosed by a 2.7km cycling track which includes optional skills sections such as pump track, rock garden and rollers. These are great for developing cycling ability and, most importantly, they are great fun. Park at any of the Festival City or Ikea parking but the optimal spot, requiring no road crossings and right next to the track, is outside Ace hardware.
Losail International Circuit
Losail International circuit, situated a short distance north of Doha, opens its doors to cyclists, runners, walkers and roller-bladers on Tuesday (ladies and children only) and Wednesday evenings between October and June. It is not available when the track is in use for racing so be sure to check their events calendar. Bicycles are available to hire and there is a café where you can hang out after your ride.
NOTE: Due to the current situation regarding COVID-19 and following the Ministry of Public Health, Losail Circuit Sports Club suspends all Training Days until further notice.
OFF ROAD RIDES
It’s hard to stay ahead of the construction but Doha’s creative mountain bikers are always finding new places on our doorstep which offer some challenge. Undulating scrubland areas such as Duhail and Al Kheesa in the north of the city and Mukaynis to the south aren’t as pretty as Zekreet or Fuwairit but the proximity to Doha makes them popular. Further afield, Al Khor offers a small but interesting area which provides some of the best short course racing.
The Zekreet peninsula is one of the most beautiful areas of Qatar and forms part of the Al Reem UNESCO designated biosphere; Qatar’s largest nature reserve. It’s also one of the best places to go mountain biking, with a variety of terrain and scenery and attractive beaches. Please keep Zekreet beautiful by taking your litter home.
There is plenty to explore. Create your own routes taking in the landmarks of Zekreet Village, East-West-West-East statues, Film City and Mystery Village (abandoned film sets), remembering that there is only one gate in the fence bisecting the peninsula. Your route must pass through it. Be sure to be self-sufficient in food and water as Zekreet has no facilities.
This 1.5 kilometer long rocky outcrop located around one hour north of Doha offers fun riding up and down the gullies, drop-offs and smooth rock faces. As a bonus, this is right next to one of Qatar’s best beaches.
For a longer ride, follow the coast track north to Al Mafjar and another great beach. On the way there are more rocky outcrops, providing jumps and drop-offs. You will see historic settlements (Please show respect and don’t ride through the old buildings and cemetery) and mangroves.
Khor Al Adaid (Inland Sea)
The longest, steepest and most intimidating descents can be found among the sand dunes surrounding the inland sea in the south (start point at Sealine). It’s daunting at first but you quickly learn how to balance while riding down the steep sand. Until you do, you’ll have a soft landing. Needless to say, the fat bike is king on the dunes.
Qatar Chain Reaction
Qatar Chain Reaction (QCR), one of the largest groups for cyclists in Qatar. QCR isn’t a club, more a Facebook group supporting training and racing for recreational riders. Lear more about it here.
Also check out these recommended cycling routes by Qatar Chain Reaction.
Qatar Cyclists have a predominantly, but not exclusively, Qatari and Arab membership. They have regular group rides, training sessions, and spin classes. They are also active in organising public events, the most well-known of which is the Ride of Champions.
United Filipino Mountain Bikers
United Filipino Mountain Bikers (UFMBQ) call themselves ‘an Umbrella Organization for Filipino Mountain Biking & Cycling Enthusiasts Qatar’. Visit their Facebook page for information on group activities and membership details.
Image credits: Qatar Cyclists, Losail Circuit, United Filipino Mountain Bikers