The Raha Cycling group was launched in 2009 by six keen cyclists. The group has more than 60 members who get together for group rides on weekends.
Every Friday, when the day breaks, a group of cyclists ride more than 100 kilometres down quiet, car-free roads.
According to Mr. Watson, one of the founders of the group, in the past two years there has been an amazing take-up of cycling in the UAE. Moreover cycling is a combination of social interaction and keeping up a level of fitness.
The fact that it is a sport that does not damage the knees much helps.
When Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed cycled at Yas Marina Circuit a few years ago, the interest in cycling increased.
Kevin Duell, another founding member, believes the social side of the sport encourages people to keep riding regularly.
The objectives of Raha Cycling are to encourage safe riding by organising group rides, to enhance the physical fitness and well-being of club riders and to promote social relationships among like-minded people.
The group has helped to establish cycling as a permanent feature of life in Abu Dhabi.
Mr. Duell thinks that they have been successful since they cycle in a group and they look after each other and have a safety car, and no one is left behind.
The Friday rides cover 120km in winter and 100km in summer and follow two routes – to the Samha Adnoc via Zayed Military City and back through Al Bahia and to Al Wathba cycle track and back.
Saturday’s rides are shorter, with one group covering 75km and the other 60km. Rides up Jebel Hafeet, Jebel Jais and to Liwa are organised from time to time.