Yas Island Bike Share a Huge Step for Abu Dhabi
Bicycling in Abu Dhabi is not for the faint of heart. Between the insane drivers and oppressive hot weather, bicycling is only tenable for a few months each year. Nevertheless, bicycle sharing is now in Abu Dhabi with the recent launch of Yas Island BikeShare. The program works similar to bike sharing programs in cities such as Washington DC, New York and London. If you are in London for an extended period of time, membership is well worth it to see the sights and also to get some exercise. This is also a great alternative to navigating public transportation on Yas Island, which is almost non-existent.
The process is relatively simple. Sign up online or at any of the bicycle kiosks located on Yas Island. All you need is a credit or debit card. You can register at a kiosk and choose how long you want a membership for during your stay. If you choose a daily or three day pass, you can have a bicycle for up to 30 minutes; one month, three month, or one year passes allow you ride a bike up to an hour before additional charges set in. Remember the point of this program is to get to your destination, not to ride for several hours. But if you are happy with getting 30 to 60 minutes in for a workout, then this is a great deal; and of course you avoid the hassle of buying and storing a bicycle. One you have registered, you only need to insert that same credit card to score your next bicycle.
Of course, safe bicycling has a way to go in Abu Dhabi and in the United Arab Emirates in general. While there are some bike paths and they are well lit, it is not always intuitive how you can get to the other side of the island safely. Also keep in mind bike baths can abruptly end; ramps do not always exist as a transition to sidewalk to street. Nevertheless, the bike share program is a great way to get a quick workout while you are staying on Yas Island. For a long-termer like me, the 99 dirham one-month membership is a pretty good deal. Just be aware of that notorious Middle East heat during your travel to Abu Dhabi!
Image credit: Leon Kaye