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Cross Egypt Challenge: A 1700km Scooter Ride Through Egypt

Cross Egypt Challenge: A 1700km Scooter Ride Through Egypt
    written by
    Heba El-Sherif

    Planning a
    road trip across Egypt is one of those journeys that many groups of friends
    mull at some point in their lives, fantasizing about the offbeat, broadening
    venture that will go down as one of the best trips that they’ve ever embarked
    on together.

    Egypt’s disjointed
    roads aside, nothing sounds more gripping than a bunch of friends getting
    rugged on the road, boastfully stinking as they muse at their country’s unexplored
    geography and heritage, worming their way from one city to the next.

    Adding to
    this picture is the fanfare of spinning on scooters; a team of sixteen riders
    has actually put this plan on paper. 

    Hitting the
    road this October, the core team of Cross Challenge Egypt is set to scoot 1700
    km from the coastal city of Alexandria in the North to Aswan in the South.

    The
    non-profit initiative was brought about by a group of Alexandrian friends, and is
    meant to ‘help promoting tourism to the country as well spreading the culture of
    alternative transport,’ according to Ahmad Elzoghby, spokesperson of
    the challenge.

    Since January
    25th, Egypt’s tourism has been hard hit as several countries issued warnings to
    travellers on the heels of the continuous political turmoil that ensued in the
    weeks after. A wide-spread xenophobic media
    campaign during the revolution also contributed to a further slump in tourism activity across the country. 

    By April
    2011, Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism projected that the country’s 2011 tourism
    revenues will fall by 25 percent from the previous year.

    Around that
    same time, Elzoghby and his friends Ahmed Husseiny, Ayman Moussa, Hussein
    Fathy, Mohamed El Sherbiny, Mona El Madany and Sarah Tabana decided to do their
    part in helping the economy to weather its woes.  

    As a group
    of cross-cultural and professional individuals who are both experienced riders
    and adventure travellers, they plan to spend nine days on the road, stopping their
    Vespas at Egypt’s most iconic cities.

    On October 14th,
    the Challenge kicks off from the Bibliotheca Alexandrina. It then races to the Great Pyramids, the
    Sphinx, the River Nile, Suez Canal, Sharm El Sheikh, Karnak Temple in Luxor and
    Ramses II’s Abu Simbel in Aswan.

    So what’s
    the message they’re trying to send out?

    ‘Egypt is
    safe and worth a visit after the great Egyptian revolution,’ said Elzoghby.  The group also wishes that more Egyptians opt
    for alternative modes of transport ‘as a quick and short term solution to the
    traffic problem in Egypt.’

    A total of sixteen riders will take on the full tour.  However, outsiders can join selected routes,
    Zoghby told Cairo360. An application
    will soon be posted on the challenge’s website, detailing
    age and safety measures required to join the team.For more information, check out their Facebook page.

    Routes open
    for local scooters include Alexandria to Cairo (210 km) and set for October14th
    and Cairo to Suez (140 km), set for the following day. Those interested may join both routes.

    When asked
    about possible plans to make this more than a one-time tour, Elzoghby said that
    while the organisers are overwhelmed with the support that the initiative has
    garnered, they are still wary of making future commitments.

    ‘Future
    decisions are on hold until this turns into a successful one,’ he said.

    Already
    endorsed by the Egyptian Tourism Authority and buzzing on social media outlets,
    Cross Challenge Egypt will sure have many heads turn to Egypt’s dazzling sights
    in coming months, a nod to the country’s history and to a new generation relentless
    in bettering its future.

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