Its spring time in Sharm or more like summer with temperatures soaring to unusual highs, but this doesn’t seem to hinder or heed the equally soaring interest of cycling.
Have you noticed there are more and more of us; cycling is fast becoming the new fitness challenge in Sharm
and what a fantastic place to do it.
One of the pioneers of cycling in Sharm and an advocate for its benefits is Mostafa Omar.
His name, inspiring posts and photos are popping up everywhere and his passion and enthusiasm for cycling is catching.
Mostafa first came to Sharm in 2012 as the Landscape and Irrigation project manager of the City Stars Golden Cost in Nabq. After living in Qatar, Cairo and Dubai he found the large open areas of the national park and fresh clean air rejuvenating, so started to cycle.
Word got around and it wasn’t long before he embarked on his first sport ride when he was invited by Prince AlWalid Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud team from Saudi Arabia to join him for a cycle ride from Four Seasons/ Soho Square – Savoy Resort to Mangroovy.
Mostafa realised that this was a way of promoting his new love ‘Sharm el Sheikh’ with a new activity for tourists – he wanted to put Sharm on the map as the place to go for cycle touring and so Sharm el Sheikh Cycling Biking https://www.facebook.com/SharmElSheikhCyclingBiking facebook group and the growing Sharm Cyclers https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sharm-Cyclers/726528504095000 community was born.
Meanwhile at the other end of town the Governor of South Sinai and the City Council have also embarked on a journey to promote and encourage cyclers with the construction of the cycle path. Any new cycler will sympathize with those first few wobbly days when you are just getting your cycle legs and balance sorted out. At this stage the added anticipated danger of traffic can put you off. The new cycle path makes travelling from ‘old market’ (coming soon) to Naama Bay a safe and easy passage.
More and more residents are opting to commute to Naama by bike rather than by taxi or bus.
This was exactly the case for myself and Jilly Healey who after biking to Naama and back on a daily basis decided to ‘bike hike’ for charity.
On the 29th May both of us set out at 5am from the entrance of Ras Mohamed National Park and rode 40km against
the wind to the entrance of Nabq Protectorate through the Sinai desert.
We raised £2,240 GBP for BrainsTrust the chosen charity of Carrol Flowers a long term and much loved resident of Sharm who is currently fighting the disease.
Mostafa’s campaign to get people cycling is putting bottoms on saddles and he now has a large following even offering night cycling.
Due to his determination, love of Sharm and the sport; he has now joined forces with Soho Square and on the 15th May organised an event to cycle from Soho Square to La Strada and back. Lots of new cyclers joined him, however he is keen to advertise the sport and the sponsors Soho Square and Turkish Airlines rather than put the emphasis on who is cycling.
As the popularity gains momentum Mostafa is aware that there is a lack of quality cycles and accessories available in Sharm.
In answer to his dilemma to provide quality bikes the Spanish cycle experts Orbea have now sponsored him and made him the official supplier in Sharm.
As Mostafa says; a professional bike dramatically improves your performance; making cycle distances achievable,
more comfortable and less strain.
Whether you want to ride alone or join Mostafa and Soho’s cycle challenges the sport offers many fitness benefits. Cycling is one of the easiest exercises without the need of a high skill level – once you have learnt, you don’t forget. All you need is a
bike, half an hour when it suits
you and a bit of confidence.
Some ladies may think cycling just builds stocky leg muscles; fact is that cycling builds strength in a holistic manner as every part of the body is involved; upper and lower body muscles, stomach muscles, heart, lungs and cognitive function for balance. The other major benefit is it improves muscle tone gradually without the risk of over exercise or strain. It helps with mobility of the knee and hip joints but is nonimpact so doesn’t stress the joints.
If you’re looking to burn calories cycling is the perfect exercise to do it. It steadily burns approx. 300 calories per hour. From an article on the net it says that if you cycle for 30 minutes every day you would burn 5 kilos of fat a year and because it builds muscle your metabolic rate is boosted long after you finish your ride, plus you get ‘buns of steel’.
One of the benefits that Mostafa connects deeply with is that cycling reduces stress. He talks quite openly about when he arrived in Sharm.
He had a personal tragedy; coming to Sharm helped him. As most of the long term residents know; Sharm has a very special karma and a healing energy. Being able to cycle in the open air in Sharm’s beautiful nature helped to heal him and get him out of depression. We all know that exercise increases the ‘happy hormones’ endorphins which in turn make us feel better, add this to a caring compassionate community and you are suddenly on to a winning streak and power pedalling all the way to a happier healthier lifestyle.
If you haven’t joined the cycle crew yet and want to try but don’t want to buy a bike; Mostafa can offer options to borrow or hire. Keep an eye out for up and coming events on the Soho Square website or on the facebook pages. Cycling is fun, its great exercise and promotes Sharm el Sheikh as a green eco-city – so want are you waiting for; let’s cycle.