For Mohammad, who is a semi-professional cyclist from Jeddah, AlUla has everything he looks for in a world-class cycling destination. Firstly, its relative remoteness means you often have the roads to yourself. “AlUla is a safe place to cycle due to the low population,” he explains, “ so there is not much traffic.” And while in many places this would also equate to poor infrastructure, in AlUla the story is quite the opposite. “The roads are the best I have experienced,” Mohammed adds.
Also, as anyone who has visited AlUla knows, the landscape – with its magnificent rock formations
, rolling sand dunes and volcanic plateaus – is another big part of what makes cycling here so special. “AlUla is a cycling paradise,” Mohammed asserts, as well as having “something for everyone. Even professionals
In fact, it’s no wonder that the Saudi Tour
takes place in AlUla. This five-stage race is the region’s most important bike competition, with 16 international teams competing for a chance to win this prestigious title. The route features hundreds of kilometres of stamina-sapping climbs, snaking hairpins and smooth freewheeling descents to challenge the world’s top cyclists. The event also encourages the public to take part, with Junior Races and guided cycling tours, as well as a cycling camp aimed at inspiring the next generation of professional cyclists.
Mohammed knows first-hand how both exhausting and exhilarating cycling around AlUla can be. “The routes can push you to your limits,” he explains, “it can be very difficult, very tiring, but it’s worth it, you have to go through the pain to get to go downhill. When I go downhill it’s a rush, you feel a lot of joy, it feels amazing.”