How to do cycling in Cairo

To see a group of guys and girls going cycling in Egypt is not a rare sight any more and there are now many ways to enjoy it in Egypt. Please note that Bike = Bicycle.

What you need (a check-list)

  • A bicycle (or a rental)
  • helmet
  • bicycle lock
  • sun protection
  • bright outerwear
  • (Optional) repair kit (including tyre patches)
  • (Optional) pump
  • (Optional) cellphone

Buying a bicycle

  • Abu El Goukh
  • Sports Mall

Renting a bicycle

  • Agouza: Contact Salah 0187016656 (cellular)
  • Dokki: Contact Abdo 37497430 (landline)
  • Ghamra: Contact Tamer 0116132201 (cellular)
  • Maadi: Azaalany (Azkalany), not confirmed

Types of bicycles

Bicycles vary by the type of frame, material, suspension and gears

The general categories are:

  • Road bike
  • Mountain bike
  • Hybrid bike
  • Racing bike

You can also find bicycles in fixed gear or multiple speeds. Cairo is not too hilly so you can do without multiple speeds if you get used to a good standing start. In fact, most cyclists will not shift from middle front gear at all throughout their city rides. Some will shift back and forth between three of the back gears. But gears can be handy while tackling ramps and bridges.

Suggested destinations

Within a short distance from downtown Cairo

  • Giza Pyramids
  • Maadi

Longer distances (between 40 and 150 Km)

  • Fayoum
  • Ismailiya
  • Saqqara

Choosing a route

Generally, flat routes with little inclines are preferred. Fortunately, there are a few flat bridges that cross the Nile between Cairo and Giza. Try to include Galaa and Kasr ElNil bridges in your plans if you're crossing the Nile. Between Maadi and Giza, it is recommended to use Kobry Abbas (Abbas bridge) or kobry El Gam'a (El Gam'a bridge) to cross the Nile. Using longer bridges like the 6th of October bridge can be unsafe as well as energy draining due to steep ramps.

What to wear

As a golden rule, cyclists should go for bright clothes. A helmet is a no-brainer. Some cyclists opt for bright orange outerwear, in addition to bandannas and reflecting tape, as close as it gets to a street clown. The logic behind that is if people are pointing at you, you've successfully grabbed their attention, which puts you one step closer to safety (of course on the streets of Cairo, sometimes being the center of attention is not desirable).

Cycling on the road

Generally, you would want to stick to the right side of the road, but not too close to the sidewalk. Stay about 0.5 m away from the side walk or parked cars. While it seems more intuitive to stick to stick to the sidewalk as far away from cars, keeping at least 50 cms to your right has two advantages.

  1. Gives you space to swerve towards the sidewalk if a vehicle or another bicycle squeezes you in
  2. You will likely come across less potholes the farther you are from the sidewalk

Cycling on bridges

Longer and larger bridges like 6th of October bridge and Mounib bridge are more hazardous due to the larger number of lanes, lots of curves and faster traffic. Try to avoid this type of bridges if possible.

The power of the pack

Let's face it. Recreational cycling is not a common activity on the streets of Cairo. This makes it tough for solo riders, as motorists are either unfamiliar with sharing the road with recreational cyclists, or they expect a high level of skill. One way of getting around this situation is riding in groups. You are more noticeable that way whether in the city or on a highway.

http://egyptiancycling.wordpress.com/
http://bicycledreams.blogspot.com/
http://caironightcyclists.wordpress.com/