“You can’t buy happiness but you can rent a bike!” Cyacle
The weather is a dominant factor here in the UAE governing what activities we can partake in during our free time. Right now it’s pretty near ideal to be outside 24/7 so that means beach days, watersports, outdoor exercise classes and cycling are all hot favourites. Cyacle Bikeshare is an excellent idea for those who don’t have their own bikes and with its recent expansion it now means there are even more opportunities to get out and about on two wheels.
The initial eleven stations in the Al Raha Beach and Yas Island vicinities are now part of a total of fifty stations dotted across the capital. Alongside popular locations like Masdar City and NYU new prime locations have recently been introduced at the Corniche Plaza, Corniche East, ADCB HQ, Yousuf Plaza, City of Lights (Reem Island) and at the newly opened Louvre Abu Dhabi on Saadiyat Island.
The fully automated short term hire scheme gives cyclists access to bikes all day, every day with a total of three hundred and fifty bikes available across the capital. Each station has a user friendly touch screen kiosk, station map and a docking system that releases bikes using a ride code or a member key. Each station’s capacity is dependent on its popularity; for example the Corniche Plaza has twenty bikes whereas WTC Mall has only seven to eight bikes.The user friendly Cyacle App, which was introduced earlier this year, makes renting a bike easier (if you do run into problems there’s a customer service hotline to call but the assistance is rather hit and miss). Wannabe cyclists can purchase one day (20 AED), 3 day (50 AED), monthly (99 AED) and yearly (499 AED) memberships straight from a smartphone. The app offers step-by-step instructions on how to use the bikes, a detailed map with Cyacle locations and the number of bikes available at each station as well as payment information (users add their credit card details).
The app also includes an all important rental timer that keeps track of the 60 minutes duration permitted before the bikes have to be docked back into a station. Additional features include a record of your trips made, total usage time, distance traveled and for those environmentally friendly folk amount of gas saved and CO2 reduction.
Overall there are still a few teething problems; the need to dock your bike every hour or incur an additional charge (even if a minute late) is tiresome and once you rent a bike on a credit card you cannot add an additional bike for 24 hours. The distinctive red and white bikes (or green Cyacle branding depending on location) are in good condition with an area at the front for your bags/water etc and have an adjustable seven position seat. Riders must be over fifteen to hire a bike. Safety wise helmets are not provided so you either need to bring your own or take the risk of riding without one (not advisable).
The bikeshare scheme was launched in 2015 to offer residents/visitors the opportunity to explore the capital on two wheels. The first phase of the pilot scheme saw stations in the Al Raha Beach and Yas Island areas. The initiative was co-founded by entrepreneurs Mohammed Bashkeel and Hani Akasha and backed by the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development. Cyacle, the UAE’s first public bicycle sharing system is based on the similar and very successful ‘Boris Bike’ scheme in London and those similar in New York, Paris and other major cities around the world.
If you are looking for an inexpensive, fun and healthy way of getting outdoors while enjoying some exercise, Cyacle bikeshare is your answer. Cycle with friends and family, enjoy some fresh air and take in some local scenery. Not only is it great fun but it also counteracts all the time we spend in our cars, taxis or inside air conditioned spaces.
I was invited to try Cyacle Bikeshare but I have also used it personally. All views are my own based on my experience. Unless otherwise stated all photos © Jo Brett 2017. All rights reserved. Two additional photos used with courtesy of www.bikeshare.ae
Full list of Cyacle Stations – Rayhaan Rotana, Bateen Park, Nation Towers, Corniche Plaza, Corniche East, Nation Riviera, Al Amanah Khalidiya, Al Aryam Towers, ADIA HQ, WTC Mall, Intercontinental Hotel, Marasy, Paragon Bay Mall, Arc Tower, Gate Tower, City of Lights, Rosewood Hotel, Yas Waterworld, Yas Plaza, Ferrari World, Yas Links, Yas Marina, Yas Viceroy, Yas Beach Station, Gardens Plaza, ARG Gate 18, ARG Gates 13, Al Bandar, Al Muneera North, Al Muneera South, Al Zeina, Siemens Building, Irena HQ, Masdar City, NYU East, NYU West, Saadiyat Beach Golf Club, Saadiyat Beach, Saadiyat Beach Club, Saadiyat Beach Residences, St. Regis, Louvre, Louvre Boulevard, Hamdan-Salam, Capital Plaza and Al Yousuf Center
Read more about Cyacle in my previous posts Pedal Power | Cyacle, Abu Dhabi