MTB Egypt Rider of the Month: January 2011
Name: Neal Afifi
Where are you from?:
Living in Cairo
What do you do for a living?
Self employed. Partner in a Business Services and Consulting Company.
When and why did you start cycling?
I had a very late start in my life. I started in 2008. I always liked cycling and always enjoyed being outdoors, so once, while jogging in WadiDegla, I saw several mountain bikers descend from the horizon and I knew right then that mountain biking was the sport for me. It is the perfect combination between a good workout, being outdoors, excellent scenery and exploring the unknown J I have no problem whatsoever to wake up at 6am on Fridays to go for a ride.
Road, off-road, or both?
Off-road only. I love the feeling of exploring unknown territory and creating my own track. Deeply philosophical, right?
Tell us about your bike(s)!:
My primary bike is a pretty mean Full Mountain Specialized 2006 Enduro. It’s quite a heavy bike, but it can withstand quite a beating without complaining. My backup bike is a generic 19.5” Kellys XC hard tail. That is the bike I started up with before switching to the Enduro. I’m not a big fan of upgrades or modifications to my bikes. They both have all the original components since the day I bought them. I’m not against the idea; I just never had the time to get into that.
Favorite ride(s) (road or off-road):
My favorite segments in WadiDegla:
- Balcony heading West (towards the quarries and back). Excellent switchbacks and a great track if you like ridges
- South ridge (from the visitor center back towards the main camp site). Excellent switchbacks.
- Roller Coaster (the famous segment of the corporate loop). Very fun. Ideal for beginners
- Box Canyon (Degla to Hof). The canyon itself is fascinating. Try to avoid the military areas!!
I’ve also cycled with the MTB Egypt team in Nuweiba (Sinai) and that was a spectacular track in the mountains.
Do you practice other sports?:
Basketball. Running. I do have other outdoor hobbies like 4×4 off-roading/safaris.
Tell us about your cycling-related injuries/accidents:
The notorious knee/shin scrape in WadiDegla: I was showing off and decided to jump at the end of a ramp (in the roller coaster segment of the corporate loop) and lost all control of the bike in the air and landed on my knee while skidding for 2 meters. That caused quite a big scrape and lost a lot of skin LMy advice: always wear shin/knee/elbow guards and practice to jump before you actually jump.
Anything else you want to tell us about yourself?
Not about myself, but a few things I wanted to say in general:
- It’s never too late to start a new sport or hobby
- Cycle safely. Follow the safety guidelines on mtbegypt.com. Wear protective armor. Never cycle alone.
- If you would like to go out for a test ride in WadiDegla, contact me directly or contact MTB Egypt and we can help you arrange that
- Go out and explore Egypt. There is so much to see and so much to do.