The Cairo Cycling Club is a multicultural organization devoted to enjoying and enhancing cycling experiences available in and around Cairo and other locations in Egypt. Surprisingly enough, Cairo and the immediate areas around Cairo offer a diverse range of enjoyable and unique cycling experiences. For information on the rides visit Regular Rides page.
In addition to the weekly rides, there are a number of special events scattered throughout the year. These events typically consist of longer single day rides outside Cairo and multi-day events in the Sinai where there are excellent roads and little to no traffic. The special events offer an opportunity to visit different localities with breath-taking scenery in a manner not typically experienced by foreigners living in Egypt.
Memoirs of Edwin Crosswhite
The real beginning was in July 1988 in Long Beach, California as I began the packing process for Egypt. My old trusty Motobecane road bike, which had carried me across the United States in 1976, was on the top of the list. I later learned that the Embassy, USAID, oil companies, as well as people at Cairo American College felt that cycling in Egypt was unwise and dangerous. Needless to say my bike was in the shipment.
Though there were a lot of people riding bikes, I thought I was the only serious cyclists in Egypt. With only a few paved roads and lots of pot holes I spent many hours on a mission of discovery trying to find that hidden place. Mokkattum Hills, Helwan, Sakkara were all part of the search. One of those early rides was out the ring road to the Suez Road and back.
In those days there was no broken glass on the roads because glass containers were scarce and people were very careful about breaking them. Most flats were the result of hitting pot holes or rocks.
The first year we did not have a car so I rode the bike to school. I found motorist were very accepting of me and my bike and I came to realize that Egypt was a very safe place for a cyclist. In an effort to get something started I offered a Bicycling in Egypt class through CSA. I had only one taker, Steve Mabrey, a U.S. Embassy employee that just happened to be an Effective Cycling instructor. He also had wanted to do a class in Effective Cycling and so, we tried again. Lynn Putzke and I signed up for Steve’s 8 week class and so I became an Effective Cyclists. Later I would go through the rigors of becoming an Effective Cycling Instructor with Steve as my instructor. Now we had a group, though small, we began to ride every Friday morning. By the end of 1989 there were several people showing up for our Friday morning rides. Advertising in the Maadi Messenger and Niler helped introduce the idea that maybe cycling was okay here and we began seeing an increase in the number of people coming out with their bikes for some of our special events.
In March of 1990 I started publishing a one page paper called the Cairo Cyclist on my Apple IIe. Though this was short lived, only 3 issues, it did provide a forum to advertise some of our “Fun Rides”. On April 6, 1990 a group of 30 community members joined our cycling group of: John Hampton, Dede Smith, Max Seaton, Lynn Putzke, Judy Lamb, Jim Smith, Frank Huyler, Marina Hyler and myself for a ride to the Pyramids. The ride was a great success and so I distributed a Charter membership applications to people that were interested in forming a bicycle club.The organizational meeting on April 20, 1990 had four people in attendance; Lynne Putzke, Tony Watt, Judy Lamb, and myself. We decided to call ourselves the Cairo Cyclists. Our purpose would be: “To provide bicyclists, of varying abilities and interest, opportunities to participate in regularly scheduled cycling events.” Tony Watts was elected the first Ride Captain and I was the chairperson. We planned to ride every Friday morning at 8:00 am and to organize a Fun Ride to Sakkara on May 18, 1990. The next meeting was set for Sept. 1, 1990. The number of members had grown to 22 and on September 1st we rode to Fela Fela Restaurant by the Pyramids. It was at this meeting the colors; red, black and yellow were chosen and Jo Cochren, an elementary school art teacher, was commissioned to design a club jersey. By October 20th the membership list had grown to 42.
I still remember the mother carrying her baby in a bike carrier and the father pulling their five year old along behind him connected by a rope on the Pyramid ride in September 1991.
This was the year I started doing the Cycling Merit Badge for Boy Scout Troop 701 and we sponsored the Cairo Grand Prix Triathlon.
The following year we added the Petrified Forest Bike-Run-Bike as a warm-up event for the triathlon.
The nature of the club was changing from being a slow recreational group to that of the hard riding serious cyclists. I had wanted to do a brief history of the Cairo Cyclists but discovered that I could not do it justice without spending a lot more time. I chose to do the very earliest years since Max Seaton is the only person that has been here since the beginning.The Cairo Cyclists have given me an opportunity to meet and share my love of cycling with people I would not have had the opportunity to meet in the states. The international mix of cyclists and unique Egyptian culture have enriched my life and made the last 12 years a truly wonderful adventure.
I am going to end this by simply saying thanks for the memories.