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Dubai Tour 2014: Team Presentation

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TOP 10 THINGS NOT TO DO IN DUBAI (From Traveler’s Press)
  1. Don’t carry or consume or consume drugs
  2. Avoid public displays of affection
  3. Don’t drink alcohol in non-designated areas
  4. Don’t dress inappropriately
  5. Don’t insult religion
  6. Don’t eat or drink during Ramadan
  7. Don’t disrespect women
  8. Don’t swear or use aggressive hand gestures
  9. Don’t insult the rulers
  10. Don’t allow your check to bounce
  1. TGI Fridays
  2. Cheesecake Factory
  3. Red Lobster
  4. Romano’s Macaroni Grill
  5. Outback Steakhouse
  6. P.F. Changs
  7. Noodle Factory
  8. IHOP
  9. Baja Fresh
  10. California Pizza Kitchen
  11. Chili’s
  12. Caribou Coffee (located next to Payless Shoes)
  13. 2 Starbucks (one of which is located next to diptyque Paris)
  14. Bennigan’s—American Fare. Irish Hospitality.
The view from the balcony of MFS' Dubai lodgings on the 23rd floor of the lofts across the street from the Mall of Dubai and the Burj Khalifa and the park in which the Dubai Tour Team Presentation was held.
  1. Dubai may be on the Moon or Neptune or similar, we landed at 5:45 in the morning so it was still dark and I fell asleep on the plane during the fight, so maybe after we took off we went  to space, I don’t know. I can’t prove I’m on Earth since every natural feature for as far as the eye can see is a man-made natural feature. It’s flat, it’s hot, it’s hard to breathe. 87% of life on Dubai happens inside one massive building or another, in fact whole worlds exist inside buildings here; what happens outside on Earth, happens inside on Dubai. All the buildings, of which there are many, are glass and steel. Many of them are connected to each other through trams and tunnels and skywalks. Yes, there is a marginal amount of air and gravity outside but I can explain. Dubai is city built on the moon inside a Truman Show Bubble. And in that regard, as well as a few others, Dubai is a lot like Las Vegas minus the slot machines and public display of bad decision making, bad taste and bad drugs.
  2. Keiran and I meet Matt, Marlo, Will, Josh and Jerry, three Australians and two Scots (not Scotches!) respectively. Matt and his wife Marlo work for Adventure HQ in Dubai. More on these people later; bottom line, two days ago they were all strangers and now we’re all friends. They’re very nice. Very helpful. Very connected. Very kind. And very funny. And we met on the internet via Manual For Speed Dot Com.
  3. The city of Dubai is closing public schools on Thursday in an effort to reduce/eliminate traffic that would otherwise make rolling enclosures in the city seriously difficult and/or impossible.
  4. If it rains, the many marble intersections will be problematic.
  5. Every restaurant and place to eat in Dubai is over staffed with exceptionally nice and accommodating waiters, hosts, greeters, bussers, etc. Foods good too.
  6. Individual cars and traffic as a whole will run you over. Pedestrians have the right to get run over.
  7. Taxi cabs are profoundly cheap. A corollary to this is that taxi cab driver/operators are mean and nasty. A corollary to this is that they often they don’t know where they’re going, like even basic shit is hard to find, like the world’s tallest building which can be seen from Oman for example, will sometimes get you the Question Mark Face. Even if you call it the Burj Khalifa, which is its name. And point to the sky, which sky from just about any vantage in the entire Middle East, is pierced by it, and therefore visible.
  8. A couple spotted in the mall confuses me. She’s wearing all black, black purse, black full-face ninja-suit-style hijab, black gloves, you can’t see her face, nothing; he’s wearing all white with red and white headscarf. They are openly and publicly holding hands.
  9. I’m a Barbie Girl in a Barbie World is playing in the Reebok store.
  10. Across from the Burj Khalifa they’re building the Burj Vista apartments. They’re building a building specifically to face another more taller and majestic building—so that one can, from the comfort of their own living room in the lesser building, gaze upon the more impressive building.
  11. We are walking in the mall.11The world’s largest mall—by area—is also the world’s most visited shopping and leisure destination. Its 65,000,000 visitors in 2012 eclipsed New York City by over 13 million. Keiran is worried her skirt, which skirt is cut to just above her knees, is too short. She’s worried she’s giving dudes Knee Boners. She’s also worried that her bra straps are showing, like, illegally or whatever. Above all else, she’s worried that if the police attempt to arrest her I won’t attempt to prevent it because the story would be “too good.”
  12. They have so many different shapes/sizes/colors of scarves here. If Eskimos (Inuits, sorry) have a million words for snow and the British probably have a million words for sideways falling rain, then maybe they have a million words for scarf in Arabic? Note to Self: find someone who speaks Arabic because at the time of this note I’m surrounded by dudes speaking Bangladeshi and maybe Hindi.
  13. Dubai smells like cologne, air conditioning, raw sewage, plastic flowers and concrete dust.
  14. The day before the race, crashes and I repeatedly get this error: “FORBIDDEN You don’t have permission to access / on this server.” For a split-second I’m convinced I’ve been “personally” blocked due to my browser history.
  15. Starbucks donuts, in Dubai, are square-shaped.
  16. #dubaiproblems, e.g., “In the bottom of my apartment building there are two luxury sport car dealers (McLaren and Mansory by Prestige Cars) and one a luxury Italian furniture showroom featuring brands such as Cassina, Poltrona Frau, and Capellini, but no place to buy milk and groceries.”
  17. #burberryburka
  18. Today’s Spontaneous Philosophical Moment/Quote While Travelling In The Arabian Peninsula is inspired by Kahlil Gibran: No layers of history, just layers of dust. Which dust is the result of all the in-progress skyscrapers going up in the neighborhood.
  19. If you’re an Emirate, minimum wage annually speaking is $100,000.00
  20. On a spectrum—1 being the TDU Team Presentation which presentation in spite of the didgeridoo dudes was lackluster times 1000, and 10 being the Giro d’Italia presentation which presentation was like a moon landing and a Super Bowl and a late ’80s Michael Jackson concert and an Olympics that doesn’t suck and a real Roman Gladiator event and a late ’90s Havasu Spring Break all rolled in one—the Dubai Tour Team Presentation was a 7.9; we’re talking a couple of Goddess Girls each strapped to a giant white bundle (seven zeppelin’s worth) of balloons, bona fide royalty, a better-than-the-Bellagio water show, articulating jumbo screens, an island in the middle of a park under the world’s tallest building and seven million batman lights, six or seven flight attendant looking women on stage with the professional athletes, and an opportunity to take the most colorful, most populated (ever), yearbook-style group photo.
  21. There was a notable (and WELCOME!!!!!!) absence of cow bells, clappers, kazoos, trumpets, horns and whistles at the presentation. Speaking of which, there was a notable and curious-but-maybe-not-that-curious lack of spectators at the Presentation. I mean, there were people in attendance, not a lot comparatively but a lot all the same, there just weren’t fans exactly, there were Emirate dudes, and staff, and the teams of course, and the vibe was really good, it just wasn’t a public-type scene.
  22. At the Team Presentation I am introduced to Team Skydive Dubai Pro Cycling Team’s team manager, Ricardo Martins. Ricardo says, whatever I need, whatever I want—like in terms of access to the team—on the bus, massage tables, in hotel rooms, all of it, just ask and he will make it so.
  23. At the Team Presentation I am also introduced to the president of the United Arab Emirates Cycling Federation, Mr. Osama Al Shafar. We talk about his sand cars, doing wheelies in his sand cars, and the fact that due to the fact that he likes to do 2km-long wheelies in sand cars he has to have aftermarket fuel pumps built into his sand cars. We also talk about Los Angeles—dude loves LA.We talk about Cal Poly, dude went to Cal Poly. We talk about the two Surly Fat Bikes he owns and loves to ride in the dunes. We talk about how trails work in the dunes and whether or not dunes change shape/size over time—apparently they don’t, or not really. We talk about his ideas for next year’s Dubai Tour, which are, frankly, radical when compared to this year’s Dubai Tour. And we talk about how he’s going to make his ideas public in seven days. We talk about the presentation’s theatrics, which were tight. Then he assures me that I’m going to enjoy my time in Dubai—I believe him. Then he excuses himself in order to run up on stage and take a group photo before they close the place.


Though the exact number is unknown, estimates state that Dubai currently has as many as 24% of the world's construction cranes. That's 30,000 cranes within a 1,588 sq mile area.
According to color psychology, people who consider turquoise to be their favorite color "speak from the heart and love sharing their inner most thoughts."
According to an industry report published in 2012, hair gel sales in Europe are on the rise, but still lag behind those of premium shampoo, which is no longer considered a novelty in most markets.
"False clubfoot" or "pigeon toe" is a condition whereby a person's toes point inward when walking. This condition is most common in infants under two years of age.
The "Circle Of Stars" trophy for the Tour of Dubai was designed by Pininfarina, an Italian design firm known for their styling of Ferrari sports cars, as well as the less-than-impressive 1987 Cadillac Allante.
The Royal Society Journal–Biology Letters, a peer-reviewed scientific journal, published a study that showed a direct correlation between "the attractiveness and performance in professional cyclists". In other words, the better a cyclist is, the more attractive they appear to the public. Sadly the study did not take certain variables (like turquoise-colored tracksuits) into account.
According to eBay's guide on how to shop for a tracksuit, pants are "an important part of a tracksuit as they keep the wearer's legs comfortable and dry in rainy weather."
Trucker caps are also known as "gimmes" in some parts of the United States, since they were originally meant as give-away items by farming supply companies. We don't know what they are called in Dubai.


Burj Khalifa brings the title of "world's tallest man made structure" back to the middle east for the first time since the Great Pyramid of Giza. It uses 250,000 gallons of water per day.
Arabian Business reports that Burj Khalifa's electricity needs are “equal to burning 500,000 100-watt light bulbs concurrently.”


Out of respect to Muslim customs (and laws?!), this photo essay does not include photographs. Use your imagination. Due to the nature of this content, and in an effort to eliminate any and all possible misunderstandings, we feel compelled to attach an artist statement to this body of work: “It’s not our intention to be mean or hurtful or disrespectful, the point is simply, people are people, and people love doing people stuff regardless of local customs, attitudes, habits, etc.”

They wear designer sunglasses, sometimes over their full-face hijabs! They own and operate iPhone 5ses!
They push strollers, with babies in them! They take selfies, sometimes on iPads!, in front of murals and large scale works of public art like the fountain in the Dubai Mall featuring many sculptures of diving/flying Über Men!
They wear expensive high-heel and/or open-toed shoes! They drink Frappucinos and various other flavored espresso drinks from Starbucks and similar! They wear UGGS!