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A Dutch Inline Skater Explores Dubai

Inline Skating in the City of Dubai UAE

A 2004 report by Dutch inline skater Hans Warburg about exploring the city of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates on inline skates. See also a previous report by Hans about Skating in Saudi Arabia

A DUTCH INLINE SKATER'S ADVENTURES IN DUBAI
A CITY IN THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

United Arab Emirates by Hans Warburg Netherlands

FROM HANS WARBURG IN THE SUMMER OF 2004: I now have more information about skating in the part of the world in which I am currently working. I had to keep quiet a bit after the past turbulent weeks over here in Saudi Arabia and the surrounding area, but after some time I finally could not stop myself from hitting the road again. Khobar joggers welcomed me back to the track, some even started speaking to me to express their delight that I was not hiding.

But here is the most thrilling information: My work has brought me once again to a new destination in the Middle East: Dubai. Wow!!! What a place: mega skyscrapers, mega building projects, mega sunny weather, mega camel racing track, mega hotels, mega work environment, mega everything and some potentially tempting skating venues.

Will Dubai Be a Good Place to Skate?
After settling down in my modest hotel room on the 40th floor of the Dubai Shangri-La Hotel I started making my first inquiries into the skating opportunities that this place has to offer. A bit of bla bla with the hotel staff and a quick browse through the "Exploring Dubai" guidebook tells me that Dubai is a potentially hostile place for skaters. People have a manic driving style and skaters would be the last creatures to be expected on the roads.

Skating in Creekside Park
I decided to follow the advice in one of the city guides: Creekside Park, a large stretch of parkland along the Dubai Creek. I took a taxi there and paid the three Dirham entrance fee for the park. Not bad at all! the park is huge and beautifully maintained and there are loads of roads paved with small flat concrete pavestones, which does not exactly stand for a source of skating fun but I did rather OK on my five-wheelers. Directly alongside the creek is an ultra-fast strip of polished concrete that goes on for something like two kilometers. The skating conditions on that strip are good but the strip does not go on continuously and you might need to slam the brakes from time to time in order to prevent from colliding with one of the very few people inside the park. The park stays open until 11 PM and offers satisfactory conditions for recreational skaters and beginners. I had to go somewhere else in order to get rid of my energy. But before that I decided to hit the road and to skate back to the hotel. If you're used to skating in traffic, Dubai is a great place to skate. People turn out to be more careful than one would expect in the first place and the asphalt is just marvellous. Good point is that most of the big roads have very good service roads next to them with less traffic. This allowed me to get back to the hotel faster than with the taxi (I am Dutch after all).

Skating in Residential Areas
The next day I was off to a more residential area that I spotted from my hotel room. Dubai has been built in a grid-pattern with quiet building blocks that have very little traffic. The asphalt quality in those areas as usual is perfect and I had 90 minutes of top-training at high speeds almost right next door to my hotel.

Skating in Al Safa Park
Al Safa Park, another place recommended through Dubai Explorer for skaters, was my next stop. I traveled there on my skates over quiet roads with moderate traffic, where skating was a real pleasure. Al Safa is again beautiful, huge, costs also 3 Dirhams, and can be described a pavestone-paradise, a guarantee for high vibration skating over long distances which was of course disappointing. The only location near this park recommended for speed-skaters is the car park in front of the entrance. You have to be careful though as people tend to reverse out without using their mirrors. You're skating in the car park after all.

Skating Along the Coastline
My last night out skating brought me to the coastline. There is a strand-like stretch including a nice pier. Good skating guaranteed for four-wheelers but not for velocity-freaks.

My Conclusion About Skating in Dubai
Dubai has a couple of good places to skate. If the pavestones in the parks and on some of the service roads would have been replaced by asphalt I would have rated this location among the top ten in the world for skaters. It would be worth while trying to convince some of the Dubai officials to take the initiative and cover up some roads. I am sure they would not really be surprised especially when you know that they're currently building an underwater hotel!!! This is Dubai remember.



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