03/08/20 – Qatarsis

After six weeks of vacation, it’s time to go back to work. It was also six weeks without cycling, it was long enough. I arrived in Qatar, unpacked my Brompton and set off on a tour of Doha on the very first day. Doha reminded me of Vegas or Dubai: nothing seems real except the desert. The city isn’t particularly bike friendly but there are a few bike paths here and there. I did cycle around the city, but not as much as I hoped for.

I had a few days off and decided to cycle around Qatar to compensate; it’s a small country after all. There was a “little” caveat though: I couldn’t find any accommodation outside of Doha. Because I had no camping gear, I had to tame my ambitions. I settled on going to the northernmost point of the country, roughly 125km from Doha, and then take a bus back.
I set off at six in the morning. By noon I arrived at my destination. There was nothing special about it nor about the route: in preparation for the FIFA World Cup, Qatar is one big construction zone. One day it will probably look nice but now it’s a mess.
I felt fresh and decided to swing by Al Zubarah fort, Qatar’s one and only UNESCO World Heritage Site.
After that I still could’ve hopped on a bus back but, paraphrasing a famous song, I’m stubborn and I’m proud, so I opted to cycle all the way back to Doha. Long story short, after an eighteen-hour ride, I was finally back to the hotel. I could barely walk and didn’t cycle for the rest of the week.

P.S. Qatar is the 96th country I’ve visited.

Qatar in numbers:

408 km – distance cycled
267.5 km – round-trip from Doha to the Top of Qatar; my longest ride in a single day. I am not looking forward to beat this
0.1% – chance of earthquakes in Qatar, making it the safest country in the world
14% – of Qatar’s population are millionaires
99% – of Qatar’s population lives in the capital Doha
3.41 – men for every woman in Qatar