Lake Qarun Ride

Fayoum – 12/4/2015


Since arriving in Cairo 2 ½ years ago I’ve grown weary of conversations that contain the phrase “before the revolution”. These tales inevitably refer nostalgically to amazing adventures and experiences but usually finish with that other dreaded phrase – “you can’t do that nowadays”.  But there is always an exception to the rule especially in Egypt and when the French are involved.


Pascal, Hisham, David Gamal, Omar Khairy and I set off in 2 cars at 6.15 and quickly left the smog blanket behind us heading towards Qaroun lake.  After some deft cross country trail finding Pascal led us straight to the end of a sealed road seemingly in the middle of nowhere. The skies were crystal clear and pretty cold as we began riding at 7.30. The pace was very casual which suited me fine.


Suddenly a pickup appeared from nowhere and in the back were five guys in dark gear with black and white headscarves. Its Daesh! said Omar laughing. It was just a bunch of guys out for a drive or to go fishing or something. We all had a bit of a laugh but even Hisham said he thought something else for a split second.


The road was really nice and when the lake came into view the scenery was the best I’ve had on a ride in Egypt. A massive improvement on vacant, half-built apartment blocks! At one point we turned left and descended for about 2 ks towards the lake. Hisham and I were looking for the continuation of the road but there was none. It’s a nice steady climb out  – one for the power climbers but nobody went full gas. An easy KOM for Luis next time…??


The big adventure was still ahead of us in the form of large sand drifts. Pascal had warned us but I think it was way more extensive than anyone had anticipated. I don’t think there is any combination less suited than bike shoes and sand. At one point the sand in my shoes threatened to push my feet out. I think we wore out our cleats more than out tyres!


Eventually the walking was behind us and we arrived at the end of the lake. David and Omar decided to rev up their engines and hit out along the lake’s southern shore at a cracking pace. I could barely hold their wheel but I found an excuse when David pointed out that my rear brake was hard against the rim! Must’ve bumped it when I was carrying my bike over one of the sand drifts.


Soon we were out of time and we piled back into the vehicles and headed home. Big thanks to Pascal for doing all the organizing and to Pascal and Hisham for providing cars and drivers.


Rick Harman

from left: Pascal, Rick, David, Omar & Hisham

from left: Pascal, Rick, David, Omar & Hisham


Fishermen in the background

Fishermen in the background?


where is the road?

where is the road?


good mood in the sand

good mood in the sand


We found the road !

We found the road !


1 Response to “Lake Qarun Ride”

  1. 1 nick December 6, 2015 at 9:38 pm

    Nice one Rick – definitely a CCC ‘classic’. Glad to hear you had as tough a time with the sand as we did 3+ years ago! This of course was the ride where Joe ‘forgot’ his front wheel…but had a good laugh – ask him to tell you all about it sometime 😀

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