Diplomats and government employees get on their bikes

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By   www.thenational.ae

ABU DHABI // European diplomats and Abu Dhabi government employees got their workouts in early on Tuesday with a bike ride around the capital.

Patrizio Fondi, fifth right, European Union ambassador to the UAE, is joined by other ambassadors and staff members from 13 EU embassies on the Corniche on Tuesday to cycle to work. Christopher Pike / The National
Patrizio Fondi, fifth right, European Union ambassador to the UAE, is joined by other ambassadors and staff members from 13 EU embassies on the Corniche on Tuesday to cycle to work. Christopher Pike / The National

Ambassadors, embassy staff, and Department of Transport employees donned their helmets and mounted their bikes as they set out to participate in The National’s second annual #cycletoworkuae day.

Setting out with dozens of his colleagues for a short ride from Al Maqta Park to his office at the DoT headquarters, Mohammed Al Naqbi said it was a refreshing way to start the day.

“Cycling first thing in the morning lasts with you the entire day and gives you a chance to change your life,” said Mr Al Naqbi, who also, however, admitted that he rarely exercises.

He said the two-kilometre ride had opened his eyes to the accessibility of cycling.

“This is something you can do with friends and family and instead of being locked up indoors it gets you out in the fresh air,” he said.

Senarth Arachchige said he commuted to work at the DoT by bicycle every day of the year, no matter the weather.

“I still don’t have a car but I don’t feel that I need it.

“I take my bike to work, for groceries and sometimes to ride by the mangrove forest for my photography,” he said.

Cycling to work for the past two years has helped to keep his weight down, Mr Arachchige said.

“I lost 10 kilograms very fast and never gained it back.”

On the other side of the capital, European diplomats joined forces to promote the initiative with an 8km ride along the Corniche.

Ambassadors and employees of the British, Danish, Dutch, French, German, Irish, Latvian, Belgian, Polish, Finnish, Swedish, Swiss missions, as well as Luxembourg’s, rode side-by-side from the Mina area to Etihad Towers.

“The European Union cares about the health of people, not only in Europe, but everywhere,” said Patrizio Fondi, ambassador for the EU delegation to the UAE.

Having regularly cycled in much more challenging conditions in his hometown, Rome, Mr Fondi said Abu Dhabi’s flat terrain and wide roads made it ideal for cycling. More info

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