All posts by mtbegypt

Register for the MTB Egypt’s April 2014 riding skills clinic!

skillssession

This one-day course is ideal for  intermediate mountain bike riders. Participants will practice the key skills in trail riding including: optimum use of gears and brakes, building confidence on corners and rocky terrain and steep slopes, and all the tricks to stay on the bike while the terrain gets tough.

The course is a workshop-oriented day where participants will practice skills on natural terrain and a circuit of man-made obstacles. The course will also provide an overview of bike fit, safety, equipment options, and accessible trails to practice in Wadi Degla. Participants must already know how to ride a bike comfortably on roads and have at least a basic level of fitness. At the end of the course beginners will have the foundation to expand their skills and intermediate riders will pick up a few new tricks to safely ride more challenging terrain.

Necessary items and equipment to bring for the Course

Mandatory:

– Mountain bike (not appropriate for any other type of bicycle)- Helmet – Proper clothing including gloves, protective sun glasses – Enough water to last the entire day – Comfortable pair of outdoor shoes

Optional, but highly recommend:

– Bring your own lunch, we will break for 30 minutes after the first half of the course – Snacks to have during the day – Protective pads for elbows and knees – Sun Screen

About the instructor: Bob Smith • USA Cycling level one qualified mountain bike coach • 18 years experience mountain bike riding and racing including multiple USA Nationals • Former Chairman of the Hong Kong Mountain Bike Association Disclaimer

This is course is not provided by a company but by an individual as a free service to the community. Mountain biking is inherently a dangerous sport. If you choose to join the class you do so at your own risk.

SPACE IS LIMITED TO 15 RIDERS ONLY. REGISTER ONLINE BY FILLING OUT THIS FORM. YOU WILL ONLY BE CONFIRMED TO PARTICIPATE  ON RECEIPT OF A CONFIRMATION EMAIL.

Registration for this event is now closed.

MTB Egypt Rider of the Month: February 2014

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Name: Karim Mansour

Age: 27

Where are you from?: Egypt

What do you do for a living? Between jobs, so for the time being I am Enjoying life!

When and why did you start cycling? Beginning of 2011, I bought a bike thinking I would be riding it around Maadi, one thing led to another, and me and a few friends ended up riding to Wadi Degla. Ever since then I’ve been riding there as often as I can.

Road, off-road, or both? Off-road

Tell us about your bike(s)!: I started off riding a Bianchi Kuma, then I moved on to a Scott Genius 30 which I ride till now. I also bought a Fuji Declaration (single speed) to ride around Maadi.

Favorite ride(s) (road or off-road): Riding in Sinai and the full Hof loop.

Do you practice other sports?: Kitesurfing

Tell us about your cycling-related injuries/accidents: Face planted, needed 50 stitches in and around my mouth.

Anything else you want to tell us about yourself? I enjoy fiddling with my bike alot, taking it apart, fixing stuff and occasionally I manage to break something. [Editors note: don’t we all?! But that’s how we learn!]

 

MTB Egypt 2013 Rider of the Year awards: Results!

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Voting has now ended on the first annual MTB Egypt Rider of the Year Awards. Here are 2013’s results:

MTB Egypt’s 2013 Rider of the Year is: Hassan Choucri

Hassan takes 2013’s RoTY award for unrelenting dedication to riding, (his Strava stats do the talking here). Not only has Hassan’s riding progressed rapidly, he also frequently ferries along car-less fellow riders to and from the trails, organizes bike wrenching sessions, and is an all around great riding buddy.

MTB Egypt’s 2013 Rookie of the Year award goes to: Yasmine Adel

Yasmine is one of MTB Egypt’s newest riders, but also one of the community’s most dedicated members. Yasmine started riding in summer 2013 and has progressed very quickly. Yasmine is one of MTB Egypt’s growing contingent of awesome female riders, who are an inspiration for more Egyptian women and girls to get into the sport.

MTB Egypt’s 2013 Community Award goes to: Warren Tappe

Warren is not only a keen rider, but also a dedicated trail builder. Cultivating an ethos of ‘build (or maintain) what you ride’ is very important in thriving mountain biking communities, and Warren has been doing just that with not only dedicating a huge part of his riding time to building and maintaining trails, but by organizing regular trail building days which we hope to do more of this year.

MTB Egypt Rider of the Month: December 2013

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Name : Mohamed Rabie

Age : 28

Where are you from : Cairo.

What do you do for living? I am a district attorney for now i work in cairo

When and why did you start cycling? I think it was 2009 when I got the first bike, when a friend introduced me to the wadi.  I mainly started riding because I wanted to do activities to make me get away from my job (mentally!).

Road, off-road, or both? Off road all the time. I never got a road bike. But sometimes I ride my bike around on the road.

Tell us about your bike(s)? When I started going the wadi I got the a cheap Peugeot full suspension to start with it. In early 2013 I got my Specialized Stumpjumper FSR after consulting with fellow MTB Egypt riders.

Favorite ride(s) (road or off-road): I like the ride to have no wind at all and to start late as possible :D, and anything that will make me go down. I hate climbing.

Do you practice other sports? Mainly swimming.

Tell us about your cycling-related injuries/accidents: I managed to break my front teeth which was already broken before. This time i have decided to replaced it with a cheap teeth just in case I crash again. I have  some scares on my side and every now and then I manage to fall, it’s a part of the sport.

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.

MTB Egypt Rider of the Month: October 2013

Name: Diego Javier Estigarriba Peña
Age: 30
Where are you from?: Asunciòn, Republic of Paraguay.
What do you do for a living? I have been working at the Embassy of Paraguay in Egypt for the past ten years.
When and why did you start cycling? I started cycling when I was six years old. Unfortunately we don’t have mountains in Paraguay, so that’s why I used to ride road bikes.
Road, off-road, or both? Off-road!
Tell us about your bike(s)!: I have a Diamondback Sortie.
Favorite ride(s) (road or off-road): My favorite ride is any weekend group ride with the MTB Egypt group!
Do you practice other sports?: I love to play football, volleyball and golf.
Tell us about your cycling-related injuries/accidents: The worst accident was when I crashed on the Roller Coaster and got four stitches in my left elbow.
Anything else you want to tell us about yourself? I didn’t mountain bike in Egypt for my first seven years here, and I am thankful to everyone in MTB Egypt who have encouraged me to get on the trails and join the fun!

Announcing the first MTB Egypt Rider of the Year award

MTB Egypt has been actively promoting mountain biking in Egypt for many years now, and the sport has seen outstanding growth in a few years thanks to a great community of riders. In an effort to encourage more participation and build a larger community of mountain bikers in Egypt, we will be having an annual “Rider of the Year” award, the winner of which is to be announced at the end of each year.

The award will not be limited to only one rider, but will also include “Rookie of the Year” for riders who have only been riding for less than a year and have shown outstanding commitment and rapid advancement in riding skill, and a special award for active community engagement, advocacy and promotion of the sport in Egypt.

The award is intended to promote a sense of healthy and friendly competition, and is based on multiple criteria as explained below.

1. 2013 Rider of the Year: The Rider of the Year must have shown exceptional dedication and commitment to the sport, and the selection criteria includes the total (approximate) mileage the rider has covered in off-road rides in twelve months, commitment to participation in weekend group rides, relative improvement in riding skill and physical fitness, general courtesy and involvement in the community (helping introduce new riders to mountain biking, offering assistance with things like carpooling to group rides, assistance with maintenance, etc), willingness to volunteer in trail building and maintenance efforts, and extent of knowledge of DIY bike maintenance and servicing.

2. 2013 Rookie of the Year: This is limited to riders who have been mountain biking for 12 months or less at the time of award announcement. Criteria is similar to the Rider of the Year award but mainly focuses on individual improvement in mountain biking skill and fitness and general commitment to the sport.

3. 2013 MTB Egypt community award : This is intended to recognize someone who has been exceptionally active in helping promote mountain biking in Egypt, keeping community members aware of the latest and greatest in mountain biking (for example through participation in the community’s social media channels on Facebook and elsewhere), introducing new members to riding, participating in organizing for community events like races, etc.

Nominations and voting will be open in late December 2013, and the winner(s) of the first MTB Egypt ROTY award will be announced in early January 2014.

MTB Egypt’s guide to Egyptian bike shops: 2013 edition

The market for high quality bicycles and cycling equipment in Egypt is still relatively very small, but with a rapidly growing potential. The past few years in particular have witnessed a significant growth in demand for high quality cycling equipment. MTB Egypt has been one of the main drivers behind this increase in this demand, being the country’s first homegrown mountain biking enthusiast group and having relentlessly promoted the sport in Egypt for several years now.

That said, Egypt still suffers a severe lack of professional bike shops. The selection of high quality bikes, cycling accessories and tools is still extremely limited. This is the reason why many MTB Egypt riders still opt to import their bikes and parts from abroad, often at the added expense of paying import duties on top of the purchase prices.

There are indeed a number of establishments that call themselves “bike shops” in Cairo and elsewhere in Egypt, but these are far from being professionally managed, high quality cycling equipment and apparel retail stores for several reasons. In this article, we define what a good Local Bike Shop (LBS) should be/have, then we review a few of the better known local cycling stores to see how they measure up to the demands of the growing needs of cyclists in Egypt.

What makes a good local bike shop?

Many things contribute to considering a bike shop a “good”one, but in our opinion, these are the most important:

  1. An adequately varied selection of bikes, bike parts, accessories, and tools.
  2. Competitive pricing and/or the ability and willingness to offer more lucrative purchase deals in the age of discount pricing on the Internet.
  3. Professional after-sales service and skilled bike mechanic(s). This is what we perhaps consider the most important trait of a good bike shop.
  4. A good sense of the demands of the local cycling community, and quickly filling these demands.

Where are the good local bike shops in Egypt?

Whether big or small, any bike shop worth its weight MUST be able to fulfill the above four criteria to an adequate measure to be considered a “good” bike shop. What we can conclude from this is that, unfortunately (and at the time of writing this article): there are currently NOgood’ bike shops in Egypt! Non of the local bike shops adequately fulfill even some of the above mentioned criteria, and as such, the jury is still out.

How we evaluate bike shops in this guide?

We get an endless stream of questions from new mountain bikers in Egypt about where to buy their first bikes and stock up on spare parts and gear up with necessary accessories. We are always VERY hesitant to make any local recommendations, simply because we believe that non of the current options are good enough. Mountain biking is a sport that favors high-quality, durable and dependable bikes and equipment. For the purposes of having a rough guide, we will make this review of Egyptian bike shops an annual feature to be updated with new shops AND new information about existing shops.

In the below evaluation of four bike shops in Cairo, we will look at five evaluation points, and give a mark out of 2 (so ten points in total) as follows:

0= Below par/bad/non-existent.

1= Average. Could be improved.

2= Good.

The five points are:

  1. Availability of stock: (of a good selection of bikes/accessories/parts/tools/ and good stock of frame sizes).
  2. Pricing.
  3. Location.
  4. After-sales service/warranty/skilled bike mechanic.
  5. Market sense (do they have the stuff that cyclists in Egypt look for?)

The mark given on each of the five points will be at the end between parentheses like so (1). Then a total mark out of ten is given for each. 1 being a very bad bike shop, 10 being an outstanding one.

We will NOT provide links to or contact information for any of the reviewed shops because MTB Egypt is not affiliated with or does not particularly recommend any of them. They are also listed in alphabetical order.

How do the “bike shops” in Egypt measure up?

Abu El Goukh

Kind of an old name in importing cheap chinese bikes and parts in Egypt. Has a few branches around town but good luck figuring out if they’re the same management or just the same family name. The ‘main’ branch is in downtown Cairo in one of the worst locations to find a parking spot ever.

1. Availability of stock: Has a decent selection of low-end Obea bikes which are a favorite with beginner mountain bikers in Cairo. Nothing else is worth looking at in their showrooms including that “Torpedo” brand bike which are all no-name Chinese junk. Does not maintain a good stock of frame sizes, they seem to import mostly larger sizes. They do keep some stock of basic replacement parts and accessories, like derailleur hangers, (low quality) helmets, tires, water bottles, etc. They do not offer demo bikes. (1)

2. Pricing: The entry-level Orbeas are decently priced. (2)

3. Location. (0)

4. After-sales service/bike mechanics: Many bikes purchased from Abu EL Goukh we have personally seen/ridden have had issues with assembly (0)

5. Market sense: (1) They offer a reasonably-priced beginner bikes and basic accessories, which are important for our beginner riders, otherwise not much else to mention.

Final mark: 4/10

Besceletta:

1. Availability of stock: They keep a small stock of Bianchi, Gitane (two brands which are not really known for mountain bikes), Scott and other lesser-known brands. They don’t keep a variety of frame sizing. Unfortunately the staff at Besceletta give incorrect information about frame sizing, different bike applications (overhead shop staff trying to sell a hybrid on the shop floor as “good for mountain biking”), where the bikes are made (for instance they claim Bianchi is MADE in Italy, which is incorrect. It is an Italian brand while the bikes they offer in Egypt are made in Asia). They do not offer demo bikes.(1)

2. Pricing: This shop offers bikes which are grossly over-priced for their value. (0)

3. Location. They have three branches in Cairo which are decently accessible but which are just showrooms. No actual maintenance staff are ever on sight. Mark is given based on location accessibility only. (1)

4. After-sales service/bike mechanics: MTB Egypt riders report the worst after sales service from this shop. Bikes come with badly fitted drivetrains out of the shop. When I took a bike I purchased from  them in for service, they soaked the chain in motor oil and fitted a replacement derailleur hanger apparently hacked out of some scrap metal (the bike is now stripped of all the original components and fitted with new ones I purchased, save for the frame).  Also, they refuse service to bikes not purchased from them, which – while not illegal – is very unprofessional for a bike shop that tries to play itself as a premier cycling store. (0)

5. Market sense: They don’t even always have decent spare tubes.They take out people on massive group rides, off-road, WITHOUT helmets. Enough said. (0)

Final mark: 2/10

3agal masr

1. Availability of stock: 3agal Masr’s actual stock is not too clear because for now they seem to be online only. They do appear to at least claim to have availability of Bianchi, BH and Fuji low-end to mid-range hardtail and suspension. These are not very exciting names in the world of mountain biking, though. They also seem to offer a range of accessories from the Likes of Topeak and others. They do not offer demo bikes. (1)

2. Pricing: Their pricing appears to be too high for the spec of the bikes offered. Parts and accessories are also not very competitively priced. (0) UPDATE OCT 2013: It came to our attention that 3agal Masr sells inner tubes for L.E. 185 PER TUBE, which is insanely expensive. They extremely overprice their products.

3. Location.They appear to be online only, which is not a bad thing but any decent bike shop will have a good show room and service room. We heard they were working on a shop in Maadi but we have not actually seen it. Their website lists locations in 6th of October city and Alexandria. (1)

4. After-sales service/bike mechanics: 3agal Masr has a decently skilled mechanic called who will skilfully true your wheels and adjust your drivetrain, but don’t let him anywhere near your high-end front or rear suspension or carbon parts. The good thing is that they’ll do home visits, which is an asset in a crowded city like Cairo. Also, service is not tied to having bought a bike from them. (1)

5. Market sense: Mohyi, 3agal Masr’s co-owner, seems to be somewhat in tune with the market as he does occasionally make an effort to reach out to email lists and Facebook groups of cycling enthusiasts in Egypt. (1)

Final mark: 4/10

Sports World 360 (local Specialized Bicycles dealer)

1. Availability of stock: Sports World 360 is one of FOUR Specialized distributors listed under Cairo on Specialized’s official website. The other three include a supermarket, which is really weird. They do not actually keep any sizable stock, BUT will get you whatever bike you want from Specialized’s offerings if you’re willing to wait several weeks. They CLAIM to offer demo rides but non of the MTB Egypt riders who bought their bikes there were actually offered any demos. They have LIMITED stock of bike helmets and accessories. (1)

2. Pricing: Their pricing is more or less Specialized’s official MSRP. (2)

3. Location. They have one showroom in downtown Cairo. No service shop. (0)

4. After-sales service/bike mechanics: They do not have a skilled bike mechanic, but have handled warranty claims well according to MTB Egypt riders. They also sort of  ‘outsource’ some maintenance issues to outside mechanic. (0) UPDATE SEP 2013: It came to our attention that the owner of Sports World 360 charges for warranty claims, which is something that should not happen for products still under warranty. As such, we downgrade the after-sales service mark from (1) to (0).

5. Market sense: As an official distributor for a bike cycling brand he seems to be doing two things well: ordering what you want and handling warranty claims well, which are things he SHOULD be doing anyway. Besides that, nothing special of note. (0)

Final mark: 3/10

Which one do we recommend?

None. Until there is a shop that adequately fulfills the criteria of a “good bike shop” as we outlined, we will always hesitate to recommend any of those shops or similar others. Shop around and see where you can get the best deal and where you are likely to get the best after-sales service. This guide will be periodically updated to reflect changes in the market. This review does not necessarily mean that all of those bike shops are ‘bad’, some of them certainly have strong points, but it means Egyptian bike shops have a lot of work to do to cater to a rapidly growing and discerning market.