Egypt on Two Wheels


Behind the Scenes

By Nahla Samaha

In our September 2014 issue, we brought you the inspiring story of Galal Zekri-Chatila, the young cyclist planning a five-month journey across all of Egypt on his bicycle. It is a mission aimed at raising awareness of the diversity of Egypt and Egyptians; a noble cause striving for social tolerance, communal solidarity, and embracing differences.

This month we get a sneak peak into Galal’s training and prepping process ahead of undertaking this journey of a lifetime.

“I don’t have a routine for training, but I love running, so whenever I have free time I go for a run. In my last run, I completed 32 laps to cover  10 km in 1:15 hours. I also do some cycling; my last session was a 50 km of uphill and downhill across Sinai’s mountains. I train with Train for Aim in their Track & Field sessions, it’s quiet challenging! Now I’m working on adding swimming to my list.”

“I’m visiting my physiotherapist more often these days to make sure that my knees will be able to do their duty.”

“It has been a very tough year and a half for the most part. Getting the funds was a separate challenge all its own. To build a proposal and to understand the needs of the corporate sponsors was a tough learning experience. I was turned down by many entities, and after giving up on getting my funds I suddenly found Nestle Waters interested, and then I got Juhayna as well. I started with 2 media sponsors, now I’ve got 9!!”

“Right now I am facing the toughest challenge of my life. I’m planning this journey under real stress, I’m not able to sleep well at night, and I have some knee problems as well. In other words, I’m afraid the tour became something bigger than what I imagined, and bigger than what I can handle. Yet, I’m up to the challenge, and I’m willing to take the risk. This is what I love doing, to challenge my limits.”

“I’m looking forward to facing a cold winter, some lonely nights in the middle of nowhere, some scary nights against the howling of wolves, some heavy rains, and cold wind. I’ll also definitely face my broken spirit at some point, but I’ll hopefully overcome my personal challenges as well as those of nature.”

“What I’m really looking forward to is the kindness of the Egyptian people, their incredible hospitality, I’m so looking forward to making friends from all over Egypt, friends who will hopefully host me in their homes, and share their happiness with me. There is nothing better than a desert road when you’re faced with hardship; it’s the art of seeing things differently.”



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