My latest travels have taken me now to Cairo, I wasn't expecting it to be a cycling city like in northern Europe. There isn't much writing about utilitarian cycling in Egypt, but I was pleasantly surprised. Much like in Hong Kong which I wrote about before, cycling in Cairo is very utilitarian and not at all chic or particularly contemporary or encouraged by the government. The most common bikes you will see are delivery bikes, which cut through the infamous traffic bringing gas, bread, parcels and whatever you can strap down on a bike. In a way I like how unglamorous cycling is in Cairo, it's purely a choice defined by cost, efficiency and function.
|A fake hanging swings off a traffic light post|
|Tahrir Square is now a photo spot!|
|This is the most common type of bike you see around Cairo|
|This shop had a fleet of delivery bikes|
The interesting thing about this cycling culture is that all the cyclists were men, and that anyone who was not delivering something was generally an old man on his way about town. There was not one female cyclist at all.
Most of the bikes were old style roadsters, there were quite a few models with double top tubes and rod brakes. Surprisingly they were mostly Indian and Chinese makes like Phoenix, Avon, Nikki etc. I would have expected to have seen Pashleys like in Hong Kong or at least Raleigh or some other English make, owing to the former British influence in Egypt.
|This is a pretty common sight,|
in fact the bread packs are usually bigger!
|Nice old roadster|
|Plenty more of these!|
|A cafe/shisha lined street in downtown Cairo|
|I've never heard of this Indian Nikki brand before.|
It's interesting that the most common cycle I saw was the delivery bike, much like in Hong Kong the bicycle has been relegated to short distance deliveries in heavy traffic. There were plenty of trucks, motorcycles and cars doing deliveries but I assume the bike was by far the most economical and probably very quick for small loads around Cairo.
|Give me some bungee cords and I will|
give you a delivery!
I don't think I saw any recreational cyclists at all, even though there are some in Cairo, I think they probably prefer cycling outside of the city. Every person cycling was in normal street clothing.
|Now this was a pretty odd handlebar setup|
Strangely, this was one of the few bike shops I saw in Cairo, it was filled with what could be best described as K-Mart bikes. They were all very cheaply made MTB bikes with no mudguards, mediocre suspension which was useless and no provision for cargo. Quite a strange contrast to the bikes you see actually being used on a day to day basis on the streets of Cairo.
Lastly, I thought I'd finish with a hilariously parked bike, it's in a bit of a squish. Thanks for reading.