The hidden gems in your backyard #1 – Al Qudra

Dubai has a lot more than shopping malls. In this series, we explore the greatest places you’ve never heard of, and they’re right near your home.

If you live around Arabian Ranches, Jumeirah Village Triangle or even Sports City, you’ll find a little bit of desert paradise just a few minutes away.

Drive for about 15 minutes inland from Arabian Ranches and you’ll come across the Al Qudra Cycling Track. A favourite haunt of fitness fanatics and the infamous Mamils or ‘middle aged men in Lycra’, the cycling track is 87kms from start to finish, with a circuit that runs almost 50kms -much of it around pristine desert dunes.

It’s the kind of scenery that keeps Australian expat, Peter Donlevy, coming back for more.

‘I cycle here every Saturday and there’s a particular area that I’ve come to love. The sweeping dunes are so serene and still. It’s the perfect place to come and just watch the sun set away from the madding crowd,’ he said.

‘It’s like something out of Lawrence of Arabia and it’s only 15 minutes from home,’ he said.

A hospitality industry veteran, Peter has worked at some of the world’s most idyllic destinations and is something of a nature lover.

‘I’m always on the lookout for wildlife. Occasionally you see animal tracks in the sand. I’ve spotted Oryx and I hear there are also desert foxes, though I’m yet to see one myself,’ he said.

Although no secret to cyclists, with more than a thousand riders descending on the facility on any weekend, the Al Qudra Cycling Track gives nature lovers a great excuse to get on their bikes and get out and take in the sweeping desert dunes in their own backyard.

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