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In petro-driven Dubai, it may feel unlikely that there exists a sanctuary or the humble bicycle to call home. Or so one might think. While most parts of the city are not very conducive to peddling, The Cycle Hub certainly encourages the activity.
Bicycles adorn its windows and walls. Whether for racing, dirt or simple pleasure, there seems to be a bicycle for everyone at The Cycle Hub, and this is evident to anyone who chances by the store, which is located just off the Autodrome in Dubai Motor City. What is less visible from the outside, however is the organic café, The Cycle Bistro, that encourages a Paleo diet and wholesome food.
Even if you don't rock the mod cut sideburns popularised by Olympic medallist Bradley Wiggins, or possess his unmatched skill on two wheels, you'll still be welcomed with a smile here. A very high ceiling and athletic-hipster-like vibe make this a decent, relaxed spot for a first date — unless a MotoGP or, heaven forbid, Tour de France race is on, in which case you'll struggle getting to know someone over the excited din of passionate cyclists. But most days it's a peaceable-enough spot.
Carbs are the undisputed villain in this place. No bread is served. If you're looking to tuck into the café's uber-healthy burger offering, you'll need a knife and fork. It's messy trying to eat a burger with salad leaves instead of buns. And you might find the sweet potato fries less appetising than your favoured fast-food varieties, but healthy nonetheless.
For dessert, you could do no better than to down your burger and fries with a chocolate milkshake. Yes, I said chocolate shake, albeit one with a twist: it's raw. With its unprocessed ingredients, this shake makes dark chocolate taste like a milky bar. Naturally, it takes some getting used to with its thicker constitution and slightly bitter aftertaste. However, first-timers will find it is an acquired taste, which improves as you go along.
As you chew on fare that some would consider too healthy for consumption, you can check out the list of weekly rides, scrawled on a blackboard in old-school fashion. Monday evening serves up the comical-sounding yoga for cyclists; Wednesday evening sees cyclists invited to ride around the 5.39-kilometre Au-todrome circuit, which is perhaps the most popular event on the board; the weekend lists a couple of 6am meetups for diehard fans that feature a shorter track for beginners on Saturdays and a longer 25-kilometre stretch on the Al Oudra loon on Fridays. The Al Qudra route, which is arguably one of the best tracks for cyclists in the region, should take avid riders about an hour to complete, while the more casual would take closer to 90 minutes. Bear in mind that the heat is no issue at these early hours, but half the battle lies in getting out of bed.
The Cycle Hub is located just off the autodrome in Dubai Motor City
Click Motor City to see how the area is popular.
Source: Riaz Naqvi, Subeditor