Why I went Fat?

I’ve started cycling about three years ago .I bought my first mountain bike on August 2014. I used to cycle every weekend on the streets of Cairo with many amateur & experts’ cyclist. Bicycle riding was booming in that year in Egypt especially after the Egyptian president himself went on the streets with a mountain bike. My bicycle was a Chinese one called “Trinix M528”. It was a 26” wheel with shimano 27 shifter system, 17” Frame with a shifter shimano STM390. It was a bicycle for amateurs.


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After a year of cycling, I found out everyone was ditching their mountain bikes for road bikes and proud of going 100 Km, 200 Km and even more. Chasing more kilometers did not excite me. The maximum distance I made was 43 Km and it was my first time on a mountain bike. I was very proud of myself back then with a lot of muscle pain.

On Jan 2015, I saw a page called “Dahab Cycling Club” posting their rides on the shores of the stunning beaches of Dahab, Egypt. The page was promoting these messages: “Defeat the rocks”, “Ride on sand, shells, rocks, gravel ups and downs”. They were using three inches’ mountain bikes which were really great on rocky trails. I looked at the photos and decided back then that I must try these trails on these three inches’ bikes for a change.

I got a chance to go to Dahab on March 2015 with a travel group called “Escape”. I took my gear with me but without my bicycle. I stayed in a budget hotel called “La Rine”. I went to “Dahab Cycling Club” store near the famous wooden bridge in Dahabcity. I met “Hany Atef” –  Founder of Dahab Cycling Club and arranged a ride on these monster bicycles.

On 17th March 2015 at 9 am, I rented the bike. It was so damn cool just touching the wheels of it. I remembered the bicycle it was a ‘Trek’. The bike was brand new and I was the first to try it. I took off with ‘Hani Atef’ to the three pools (A famous attraction in Dahab city) and started cycling from there to a place called Gabr El Bint” (a famous diving spot in Dahab) south of Dahab city.

At first, when I hopped on the bicycle, I didn’t feel it was a normal bicycle. You can feel that you are driving a lion or tiger. We cycled through rocky/ sandy terrain where the sea was on our left and the mountains were on our right. It was a bit strange to actually be able to pedal on seashore, feeling the morning breeze of the sea. In the begging, it seemed impossible to pedal but by time I started to get the hang of it. I did not believe that I am actually cycling on small rocks. You can actually hear the rocks and stones are being crushed mercilessly under these monster tires. The best thing about cycling on this terrain is that it keeps you focused which route to ride on. Some areas on the road were impossible to ride on, you can get stuck and stop. We had to get off our bicycles occasionally to cross small rocky hills which seemed hard to pedal on.

After two hours of cycling, we reach “Gabr El Bint”. It is one of the hidden treasures at Dahab city and a famous diving spot. You can actually see a panoramic view of reefs and fish just by putting your head down in the water. Thanks to these bikes we managed to reach it in two hours. On our way back, it was even harder to pedal. The wind was against us. The wind speed was 49 Km/hr which is a lot to ride against on this rocky terrain. I stopped a lot on the way back. I was exhausted and got stuck a lot in the rocks. The bicycle shifter were grip shifters which were hard for me to use since my Trinix bicycle is a Triger shifter type. I only cycled 11 Km yet it felt like 50 Km. The road was endless and the wind was fighting pushing us back.

After four hours of crushing stones and around 1000 calories burnt, we were back to the three pools with a huge appetite to eat anything.

Unfortunately, I took lots of pictures during this ride but lost them all. The only picture is left is on “Dahab Cycling Club” page. You can view it below.

It is good thing that I use ‘Strava’ app during this trip. It shows exactly where I cycled even after two years. There is a feature on ‘Stava’ were you can record only your moving activates called “Ride Auto Pause”. It does not show you how long did I stop. That’s why ‘Strava’ shows that I pedaled only two and half hours riding (yes, I took many breaks in the middle of the trip).  Below are my riding details:

Since my experience in Dahab, I found myself felt in love with cycling rocky/ sandy terrains. No noise, no car horns behind your back, only the sound of the wind, the waves of the sea and the gears shifting and crushing rocks in the background.

After this amazing trip in Dahab, I searched the internet to buy a three inches’ wheel mountain bicycle instead of my Chinese bicycle.  During my search, the word “fat-bike” popped up on my laptop screen. I couldn’t believe this type of bicycles exist. It is an amazing mountain bicycle but with four inches’ wheel. It has the ability to not only ride on terrain like Dahabbut also on soft sand and snow. After viewing several videos on youtube, I decided to go fat!!!

After my visit to Dahab, I saw on Facebook a MTB race at “Wadi Degla Protectorates” by MTB Egypt. I decided to take part in it.

More details about the race in my next post – Racing at ‘Degla’.

Post Update on 2nd March :  Mr. Hany (Founder of Dahab Cycling Club ) sent me one of the lost pictures during our ride to “Gabr El Bint” and behind us the great “Trek” bicycle.

Say Cheese !!!

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Showing 3 comments
  • Hany Atef

    We are Dahab Cycling Club proud of cyclers like you Mr.Sharif and so delighted to introduce you to the world of mountain biking via our company in “Dahab” city which cerounded by amazing protected areas. Our policy is to put Egypt on the international map of mountain biking tourism and show the mountain bikers all over the world that we have a great tracks and out standing nature.
    It seems you will follow the same line to spread this amazing tourism and sport in Egypt.
    It is nature friendly tourism and great way to test the desert of Egypt.
    Good Luck.

  • M.Hussein

    Great article that makes me feel that every one need to go FAT and live this interesting experience, especially that I had the chance to hear the story from Samer himself and to try his amazing bike.

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