MTB Egypt Rider of The Month: November 2013

Name: Yasmine Adel
Age: Adds up every 2nd of November.
Where are you from?: Cairo
What do you do for a living? I am a Project Officer at an international organization managing healthcare projects in several countries of the Arab region.
When and why did you start cycling? I got a bike 4 years ago, did road cycling and a bit of the Wadi’s valley, but that’s not real mountain biking. Luckily four months ago, a good friend of mine suggested we ride together so we started practicing on the valley and then we joined the beginners’ weekend rides.
Now I mountain bike an average of 5 times a week, before going to work and on weekends for longer and more technical rides. It’s an extreme sport requiring focus, fitness and the ability to manage your fears for body and bike to run smoothly on the trails. It’s physically and mentally challenging. The coolest thing is that I ride with people with different riding abilities so I get to learn skills and new trails. The MTB Egypt community is extremely supportive and helpful.
Road, off-road, or both? There is a Beatles’ song from the White Album called “Why don’t we do it in the road?” Love McCartney’s song but I prefer off-road ?
Tell us about your bike(s)!: A Peugeot hardtail. Still figuring out which bike to get next which is an adventure of its own.
Favorite ride(s) (road or off-road): Uphills on the long loop and rocky terrains like Puppy Canyon give me particular satisfaction. I like to feel in control while going over all those rocks and switchbacks. I find the rollercoaster very visually appealing with its yellow sands and Bone yard is the icing on top of the cake.  It gives me that final kick before leaving the wadi and starting the day ?  Love riding during sunset and sunrise and would love to ride during a full moon.
I am still not so comfortable going over narrow ridges with steep cliffs on the side but I guess with time I will get used to it.
Do you practice other sports?: I have been strength training and spinning for years, jogging sometimes. I recently got my open water diving certification (yey!) and I am starting basketball three times a week.
Tell us about your cycling-related injuries/accidents: Beside the “normal” indigo/green/blue bruises on my legs, I haven’t had The Crash yet. Hope it won’t leave scars or keep me away from MTBing.
Anything else you want to tell us about yourself?
Personal challenges: To do the Quarry and the Balcony without the walk of shame and to do Fatma’s Desperate Climb without stopping. Target: 1 June 2014. Would be wonderful if we can organize mountain bike rides in Sinai and get to mountain bike and dive on the same day ?  We should also organize cleaning group rides and collect some of the trash on the wadi.
Speaking of which, who is Fatma?

Guest review: Shimano Saint 10 speed shifter

By Nader Mahrous

Image courtesy of Shimano Bicycle Components
Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of guest post in which MTB Egypt riders review the bikes and gear they use and love. Want to submit a guest gear review post? Get in touch!

My bike came stock with SRAM drivetrain. I have also used several other models of SRAM shifters, as well as Shimano’s SLX, XT and XTR along the way. Then it was time for me to go down the 1×10 route – not to mention that I had smashed my SRAM shifters during a rather innocuous very slow speed fall. It was time for me to shift to Shimano (no pun intended). I am not going to get into a SRAM vs Shimano debate here, but they are indeed quite different.
From my experience with relatively weak components, I opted for the top of the line DH grade Saint shifter, and it does live up to its tough, reliable reputation. These shifters operate on roller bearings make actuation easy and effortless in the most demanding conditions. The extra large levers are brilliant, textured and ‘thumbful’. The large shifter paddle also helps with optimizing cockpit layout. You don’t need to stick the shifter too close to your grip leaving space for brakes to be moved to your liking and customize everything. I have grown to be a big fan of two way Shimano levers and have really helped me learn to shift rather easily out of the saddle and seated.
The biggest difference between these shifters and others on the market is the multi-release function. Again the DH and 1×10 mentality is shown here. When you quickly have to shift up AND down through 10 gears, you can do it here. All it takes is three 4 full strokes to shift all the way up, or 2-3 strokes to go all the way to your biggest cog. Again, I find this quite useful in terrain where it changes elevation and speeds quickly and you have interact fast enough not to loose flow/momentum. (Editors note: Some people might prefer single-release shifters, like the SLX or Saint’s less expensive brother, Zee, due to their minimization of potential misshifts. This is more important in racing conditions. Pro racer Brian Lopes runs SLX shifters for exactly this reason)
Several fellow riders know how crash-prone I can be sometimes. I am happy to say that the Saint had survived pretty brutal crashes. Flawless performance day in day out. Fancy looking levers high quality finish. Quality doesn’t come cheap, as reflected in the pricing of Shimano’s top-end Saint and XTR lines of components, but you can often find good discounted deals online.