Egypt are using the record attempt to cross the African continent on bikes, which starts in Cairo today, to kick start cycling tourism to the country – especially from cycling mad Britain.
The CAROCAP team time trial has the potential to promote Egypt as a cycle-friendly destination attracting tourists to visit and explore the country on the two wheels of a bicycle.
The success of the British team at the 2012 Olympics and the country’s domination of the Tour de France with Bradly Wiggins and Chris Froome winning three of the last four events, has seen a rise in popularly of cycling as a participation sport for all abilities.
Froome’s mentor, David Kinjah – the captain of the Kenyan National Cycling – is leading the five-strong team which aims to complete the Cairo to Cape Town route through Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and, finally, South Africa in 34 days – knocking seven days off the previous record set earlier this year.
Like Britain, more and more bikes are being seen on the streets of Egypt with yearly events such as the ‘Orange Bike Day’, organised by the Embassy of Netherlands in Egypt and ‘Train for Aim’ increasing participation.
With roads being made much safer for bicycles and ever increasing interest in cycling, Egypt could soon become a destination for Brits wanting to explore on their bikes. Egyptian online cycling groups state that there are more than 20,000 members nationwide with the number growing every month.
There are also a number of good quality bike shops opening up throughout Egypt as well as numerous cycling groups completing daily and weekly rides that welcome tourists, making Egypt the perfect destination for cycling tourism.
The CAROCAP team are riding more than 303km every day at an average of 30kph with temperatures exceeding 40 degrees centigrade, with the aim of raising the funds to supply 1,100 bicycles to be distributed across the African continent.
“This project is not just about trying to secure the bragging rights to the world record for the fastest human powered crossing of the African Continent,” said event founder Nicholas Bourne. “The project will result in tangible benefits for students and young people throughout Africa, who through our support of the official event charities, World Bicycle Relief and Safari Simbaz can receive better access to education and new economic opportunities.”
Funds will also be raised for Safari Simbaz cycling academy in Kenya ran by Kinjah.
Kinjah hopes that his efforts can help thousands of children in Africa to reach their potential by giving them an opportunity to attend school. “I’ve met youngsters who are inspired to study by being able to cycle to school rather than having to walk or run 15 km to and from school, that sort of thing makes all the effort worthwhile. We hope to fire up every school kid about what we are doing and what ultimately we can all achieve if we just set our minds to it,” Kinjah said.
Kinjah and Bourne have been joined by former national time trail champion of Egypt Adham Mahmoud, former captain of the South African Cycling team Mark Blewett and Zimbabwean National Points Champion David Martin.
Stand number: AF500, AF550