MTB Egypt rider of the month: March 2013

Shams Rashad
Where are you from?:
Alexandria, Egypt.
What do you do for a living?
I am an electrical Engineer who is currently a stay at home mom.
When and why did you start cycling?
I have been riding when I was young with my brother like all kids, then I returned to cycling as a transportation method in Europe in 2001. I was spending a summer in Germany where everybody cycles to and from work. I also did some traveling on bike back then. This brought cycling back into my life and ever since, whenever I get the chance to bike I go for it.
Then we found mountain biking and the trails of Wadi Degla last summer and I have been hooked ever since, my husband is the one who sold me on to it šŸ™‚
Road, off-road, or both?
Now mainly off-road but I don’t mind road cycling around the house. I love cycling anyway.
Tell us about your bike(s)!:
I ride a 2013 Specialized Safire Comp. It is a full-suspension 120mm travel woman specific bike. I love it.
Favorite ride(s) (road or off-road):
Wadi Degla’s “Long loop”, extended Long Loop, half Tour de Wadi and of course Wadi HofĀ becauseĀ it is challenging. I am still ‘mentally unfit’ to ride the very narrow ridges but I am getting braver every time.
Do you practice other sports?:
Tennis and Zumba.
Tell us about your cycling-related injuries/accidents:
Well so far I’ve had minor falls and injuries because I am too careful, which is something I am trying to change but I guess it is an age thing šŸ™‚
Anything else you want to tell us about yourself?
I come all the way from 6th of October with my husband 2 to 3 times a week and I have to leave my baby at home sometimes for 6 hours to come to the trails. I am always worried and feeling bad that I leave her behind for long hours and stay far away from her. I guess this is what proves to me that mountain biking is important to me and that I enjoy it to a large extent.
I would like to say that all mountain bikers I met so far are very nice, funny and decent. I am happy I got to know a lot of them. I enjoy the ride and the company:). MTBing is one of the very few things I feel passionate about. I am really happy I found it:)

XTR pedals are failing en masse and Shimano isn’t issuing a recall

Shimano XTR trai pedal: pedal body came off axle without warning!

Yesterday I had my 2 year old Shimano XTR trail (M985) drive side pedal suddenly come off its axle. My GoPro was Ā on and I have some footage of the moment it happened:

Now, I am a big fan of Shimano components, especially their top of the line XTR if only for its 3-year warranty. I would have simply considered this to be a flukeĀ incidentĀ considering the reputation of Shimano SPD pedals being super durable. However, I decided to post thisĀ becauseĀ it seems to be a widespread and known issue of this particular model XTRs that Shimano is not officially acknowledging (but they are honoring the XTR 3 year warranty according to several reports on various mountain biking forums. I have submitted a warranty claim and still waiting for a reply from the retailer I bought them from). A quick Google search reveals that this is definitely NOT an isolated incident:

…if you google something like “XTR pedal failure” many more forum threads will turn up. You’ll get a sense of how prevalent the problem is.

Some of the forum posts about this issue are dated more than a year ago, and at the time of this writing Shimano has not issued a recall. Considering how the problem appears to be endemic to PD-M985 and PD-M980 models, there are clearly serious manufacturing defects with these pedals. This is a dangerous thing to happen on a ride, especially while bombing down technical, rocky trails. I reached out to Shimano via their Shimano MTB facebook page, but yet to receive any response.

Update: Shimano DID replace the faulty pedals with a brand new pair in June 2013, but there was never an official acknowledgement of the problem from the company. Maybe XTR is still worth buying if only for the extended warranty!