Pedalling in the slipstream of Lewis Hamilton in Abu Dhabi

Pedalling in the slipstream of Lewis Hamilton in Abu Dhabi

If you are fortunate enough to spend some time in Abu Dhabi, there’s one activity that is just simply a must-do.

Most Tuesdays, Sundays and Wednesdays (if you are female) you can join the thousands of people burning off calories at Train Yas. The Abu Dhabi F1 circuit parks the cars in the garage for once. The public are then given the opportunity to walk, run or cycle around the track.

Getting our wheels

How do I take part and how much does it cost?

It’s simple and costs next to nothing. The process is the same whether you live in Abu Dhabi or you are just visiting. Unless you’ve got your own set of wheels of course. Simply go to the Train Yas page of the F1 circuit website and fill out the registration form.  On the evening, go to the registration tent and they will print out your membership card.

If you are lucky enough to be one of the first in line Cleveland Clinic have around 400 bikes waiting to be used free of charge. These are snapped up incredibly quickly but you can also hire bikes and helmets for around 30 AED per hour – an absolute bargain.

Biking around the Abu Dhabi track

Before you get the wrong idea, this is not some mad free for all. There are efficient and friendly marshals all around the track. Cyclists complete the circuit on the main tarmac in an anti-clockwise direction while the runners and walkers of all ages go clockwise around the outside. There are water stations at various points along the 3.5 mile course including in the shadow of the iconic Viceroy Hotel.

The quality of the hire bikes is excellent and you can get some serious speed going if the heat allows. When we have been in April the air temperature has usually dropped below 30C and is relatively pleasant.

There are times when we have been to the circuit in June though when the track temperature has hit more than double this!

Track temperature of 62C

Post ride cool down

There are a number of other facilities at the circuit the most popular of which is the branch of Johnny Rockets overlooking the track. Fast food and shakes in a diner style it may be. However, the location and service-with-a-smile from the mainly south east Asian workers sets it apart and makes it a real joy.

The view from Johnny Rockets

On one occasion, our regular waiter, Donald, a rather camp chap from the Philippines insisted that he broke off from serving our snacks to ‘go and do a little dance.’ It all adds up to an evening of broad smiles and laughter.

Dancing Donald

Just the way it should do.

And if you’ve got some more time and energy…

…pay a visit to the karting track next to the circuit.

It’s 110 AED for adults for a 15-20 minute session and half that price for youngsters. Karting at Yas Marina Circuit is both exhilarating and great value for money. It’s a long, challenging track  and you can pick up some serious speed. The track stands between the F1 circuit, a drag racing strip and the wonderful Ferrari World, home to Torro Rosso, the world’s fastest rollercoaster.

Preparing to race

We arrived as soon as it opened in the afternoon and had the whole track to ourselves.

And there’s nothing more satisfying than leaving your 13 year old speed freak son in your wake!

Victory!

 

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