Traveling from Cairo to Istanbul with my bike: Episode II – Traveling

My bike after traveling

The good news is that i managed to travel from Cairo to Istanbul with my bike and keep it in one peace. The bad news is that it was not as easy as i think. I spent a lot of time learning about the best way to pack my bike and be prepared for traveling through Egyptair.

The trouble started very early on the travel day, i discovered that the box does not fit in the back of my car while it has the bike inside, i did a test before but with the empty box so i was able to squeeze it a bit and close the box, but with the bike inside i can’t push too much. However, i managed to use a rope to hold the door closed without actually locking it.

After arriving to the airport and passing through the X-ray check,i shrink wrapped the bike just for LE 30 ($8), it was a good investment, kept the box held together.

Finishing the boarding was the main challenge, i had only the bike as my only baggage piece in addition to a small carry-on bag. The Egyptair station stated that the bike will be charged 50% of an additional baggage piece. I showed him the email i receive from Egyptair and explained to him how this is not true. He checked with his manager and they finally accepted it, and kept a copy of the email. Surprisingly enough, the bike weight including the box, packing and all accessories and tools that i have included in the box did not exceed 20 KG!

And finally i’m done! Not quite yet. Arriving to Istanbul, you don’t know exactly what to do to receive your extra-big baggage. I didn’t receive it through the normal belt, i had to figure out myself the place to go in order to receive the bike along with other boxes, baby carriages, sports equipments, etc…

After waiting for 1.5 hours i finally received my bike but it didn’t look so good. the box looked like this by the time i arrived home:

The bike box

 

Luckily when i opened the box, the bike was in a good shape:

The packed bike for traveling

 

My packed bike arrived home safetly

My bike arrived safetly

 

I managed to Reinstall my bike:

Reinstalled my bike

 

Shiro was so curious about the bicycle, he wonders if this is his new toy!

Shiro wonder if this is his new toy

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Traveling from Cairo to Istanbul with my bike: Episode I – Preparing

Traveling from Egypt to Turkey with my bike

 

I hope one day i will be able to travel from Cairo to Istanbul on my bike but this time i’m just flying with my bike. I’ve been asking many people lately about their experience about traveling with the bike, packing required, fees involved, and other stuff. I got lots of answers and recommendations but i heard the word “it depends” a lot, so today i’m sharing my experience about traveling with the bike.

1. Preparing your bike:

Before packing your bike, you should make sure that your bike is in a good shape and that it will be a reliable companion for you, so fixing and preparing your bike at home will be much easier than traveling with it and then discovering that something went wrong.

I did not have the luxury to take my bike to the maintenance shop, so i did a quick home maintenance job:

  • Cleaning the bike: I used the garden water hose with LOW pressure to clean the bike and get off the dirt. Make sure not to use high water pressure as it can break the welding connections in your bike. The i used the home spray to clean off the chains, gears, derailleur and other mechanical parts. Make sure to dry all the water with a clean piece of cloth, although the body is made of aluminium there are many other steel components which might rust.
Materials i used for cleaning and oiling the bike

Materials i used for cleaning and oiling the bike

  • Oiling: I tried may oiling products before including engine oil, care grease and others but they always fail because they collect dust and dirt, so you definitely need a lighter kind of oil that would work well for you. If you can’t put your hands on bike chain sprays then the other alternative would be Mobil automatic/manual gear box oil. Put some oil into a spray and start spraying generously on your chain and gears after the water has completely dried.
  • Tyres: You need to make sure that your tyres are reliable and would fit the kinds of roads that you will use and make you feel comfortable. I have’t changed my tyres in the past 3.5 years, even though i haven’t made a high mileage with them, that’s a pretty long time to keep your bike tyres. They are old and would probably need to be changed within 6-12 months. So why not change it now? The other reason i changed the tyres is that i know that i will use my MTB for road rides and  i will not go off road so i would really need normal smooth tyres that would impose less friction and make my ride smoother. Changing the bike tyres is very simple and does not involve any special tools, with some patinece and watching one or two youtube videos you can do it yourself.
Old MTB Tyres

Old MTB Tyres

New mountain bike flat smooth tyres (size 26)

New mountain bike flat smooth tyres (size 26)

2. Packing your bike:

In order to travel with your bike there is a set of regulations and guidelines set by the airlines that you should follow. This might be different from one airline to another, but they are mostly pretty similar in most cases. Here is the guidelines for packing your bicycle for traveling via plane:

  • Bicycles should be packed in a container or box with the handlebars turned parallel to the frame, and the tire pressure reduced or flattened.
  • Use a special bike boxes with the following size: (177 x 23 x 102 cm).
  • front wheel should be taken off and fastened to the centre of the bicycle, pedals  should be removed or fixed inwards. All easily breakable parts must be dismounted.
Bicycle box for flights 177 x 23 x 102 cm

Bicycle box for flights 177 x 23 x 102 cm

So actually all you need to do it to get a bike box, you can get this from any bike retail shop as they have tons of these empty boxes (have you ever seen someone bought a bike unmounted inside a box?) i got mine from Besceletta, the guys were generous enough to offer me the box for free.

After securing the box, you have to make sure you do 3 things, unmount the front wheel and duck tape it to the middle of the bike, release the handlebars and turn them to be parallel to the frame and unmount the pedals and duck tape them too.

You may also want to cover the bars of the bike body and fork with plastic or cartoon wrap to offer extra protection and void scratching , just put the bike in and tape the box very well and now you’re reach to go!

3. Flying with your bike:

If your bike box does not fit into your car back seat then there is a very high it won’t be accepted as a part of your luggage at the airport, again, make sure you are using the box with the right size: (177 x 23 x 102 cm).

Your bike will usually be accepted as a part of your luggage, so make sure you know what’s you allowed luggage, in Egypt Air it is usually 2 pieces each 23KG max. so if your bike does not exceed 23KG (that’s pretty heavy for a bike) then it will be considered as one of the two piece, and you will not have to pay any extra luggage fees but anyways be prepared with 150 USD just in case things go out of control.

I would prepare myself with 2 printed documents before traveling:

  1. Egyptair policies and rules for traveling with a bicycle.
  2. Send an email to Egyptair or your air carrier and ask them about the policy for traveling with the bike, try to be specific about your bike description and your route, this document will serve as a very rich proof at the airport that you do not need to pay any fees. make sure to print that. Here is a copy of the email that Egypt Air sent me:

Dear/ customer
Thank you for contacting EgyptAir and our station call center team .we will be glad if we can help you .Regarding to your inquiry kindly be informed that bike Should normally be sent as cargo, but they may be accepted as baggage provided the front wheel is taken off and fastened to the centre of the bicycle, tires must be flat, pedals removed or fixed inwards. All easily breakable parts must be dismounted. A charge will always apply for the transportation of bicycles.

The charge will be equal to 100 % of the applicable excess baggage rate. The charge is only assessed if the bike is not included in the normal free baggage allowance.

Bicycles should be packed in a container or box with the handlebars turned parallel to the frame, the pedals and any protruding parts removed, and the tire pressure reduced. Special boxes (177 x 23 x 102 cm).
Tandem bicycles cannot be accepted as baggage. For information on the transportation of tandem bicycles, please contact EGYPTAIR Cargo.

· As for your baggage allowance you are allowed 2 pieces each 23 kg and you will be charged for the bike as extra piece

· Thank you once again for your e-mail. if you need any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Most probably you will be faced with someone at the counter who has never seen someone traveling with a bike before and he will tell you that you need to pay extra charge, DO NOT pay!, talk to him, show him the documents and ask for his manager… avoid paying at all costs! Just make sure you have your documents printed and ready, ask the to call the person who sent you this email if they don’t believe you. They won’t do it anyways.

Now that you are prepared with your bike you need to make sure you secure a ride to the airport and another ride from the airport of your destination to the place where you will be staying.

More to come in the second episode about the actual experience in the airport and how my bike looked when i received it at my destination airport.

 

7 Most Trending Outing and Nightlife Spots that Egyptians Love

The Platform

 

According to an analysis that Egypt Yellow Pages did about the usage patterns of mobile applications during the Easter of 2014, Egyptians love to do 7 things:

 

  1. Go to a nice cafe and enjoy an outing with Shisha.
  2. Dine in their favourite restaurant that offers lavish food menu.
  3. Party in vibrant nightlife.
  4. Spend a day use in a nice nearby hotel in Cairo or Sokhna.
  5. Visit a themed park.
  6. Go to malls.
  7. Eat cupcakes!

 Top Trending Outings in Egypt:

  • The Platform
  • Sequoia
  • Andrea
  • Keif
  • Paul
  • Coffeeshop Company
  • Argela Café
  • Grand Cafe’
  • Tamara

 Top Trending dining restaurants in Egypt during Easter:

Notice the significance of the protein intake.

  • Cairo Kitchen
  • Maison Thomas
  • Abou Shakra
  • El Dahan Restaurant
  • Kababgy Antar
  • Wild Burger
  • Mori Sushi
  • Raafat
  • Balbaa Village For B.B.Q & Fish
  • Kababgy El Azhar Farahat
  • Buffalo Burger
  • Fusion Restaurant
  • Peking

Top Trending Nightspots and Clubs in Egypt:

  • Amici
  • Tamarai
  • The Lemon Tree
  • Buddha Bar
  • Dolphin Bar
  • L’Aubergine
  • O Bar

Top Trending Hotels and Day Use in Egypt:

Most people prefer going to a hotel in Cairo or 6th October to spend the vacation, some would prefer to go to Sokhna seaside while others would plan a long weekend and travel to Sharm

  • Intercontinental Citystars Cairo
  • Dusit Thani Lake View Cairo
  • JW Marriott Hotel Cairo
  • Fairmont Heliopolis & Towers
  • New Garden Palace Hotel
  • Le Meridien Heliopolis
  • Porto Sokhna Beach Resort & Spa
  • Stella Di Mare Resort
  • Le Passage Cairo Hotel & Casino
  • Renaissance Cairo Mirage City Hotel
  • Amoun Hotel
  • Hilton Pyramids Golf Resort
  • Sofitel El Gezirah
  • Dome Marina Swiss Inn Resort
  • Palmera Beach Resort
  • Radisson Blu Hotel, Cairo Heliopolis
  • Fairmont Nile City Hotel
  • Hilton Cairo Zamalek Residences
  • Gardenia Plaza Hotel & Resort (Sharm)
  • Maritim Jolie Ville Resort & Casino Sharm El Sheikh

Top Trending Themed Parks and Easter brunch in Egypt:

  • Saqqara Palm Club
  • Africa Safari Park & Motel
  • Animania Zoo
  • Aqua Park
  • Arabella Country Club

Top Trending Malls in Cairo:

  • Citystars Cairo
  • Porto Cairo Mall
  • Sun City Mall
  • Cairo Festival City
  • Emerald Empire Mall

Top Trending Cupcakes in Cairo:

There is no question that cupcakes became Egyptian favourite sweet snacks, here are the most trending cupcake stores during vacations:

  • NOLA CupCakes
  • Crumbs Cupcakes & More

Things that Starbucks doesn’t want you to know!

starbucks dca

I’ve recently read “The Undercover Economist” by Tim Harford that really blew my mind and changed that way i see things when i go for shopping at a local super market or even get my morning coffee from Starbucks.

Starbucks isn’t merely seeking to offer a verity of alternatives to customers. It’s also trying to give the customer every opportunity to signal that they’ve not been looking at the price. It doesn’t cost much more to make the cup bigger or add some whipped cream. Every single product on the menu costs starbucks almost the same to produce. By charging widely different prices for products that have the same cost starbucks is able to smoke out customers who are less sensetive about the price.

Do you know that apart from the Tall, Grande and Venti cappuccino, Starbucks has an invisible size which is not only cheaper but actually tastes better? Meet the invisible:

The Short Cappuccino

starbucks short cappuccino

That’s the best Cappuccino (or Latte) that Starbucks actually have, its stronger, and has a better foam milk froth which you can’t actually get in larger sizes with more amounts of milk and it is cheaper! You can order your short Cappuccino at ANY Starbucks WORLDWIDE, and without an eye blink, they will get your order! Although it is never published on their menu board or even their website.

I just wanted to make sure how true is this story, i ordered one from Startbucks in kadıköy – Istanbul. The guys and the cashier definitely know what a Short cappuccino is, they got a paper cup which was hidden somehwere such that the customers can’t see, it is a third smaller than the tall but it actually tastes much better.

The Short Cappucino price is 5.50 TL, as the 6.00 TL for Tall, 6.75 TL for Grande and 8.00 TL for Venti which gives you around 200 calories before you add sugar.

The interesting part is the they did not sing my order like the Baristas always do when they take your order, they just don’t want people to hear about it!

The Best Espresso Ground Coffee in Egypt – Top Picks and Reviews

Nothing comes close to enjoying the perfect cup of coffee in the morning, you probably have your own favorite, whether you get a grande skimmed latte from Starbucks or a tall Cuppucino from Greco or perhaps you’re always in a hurry and you get your double espresso from on the run, or even you are the kind of person who orders in Americao from Costa Coffee in the afternoon.

No matter which coffee person you are, it comes with a cost. Your perfect cup of coffee costs on average 20 LE, that’s over 400 LE a month if you order a coffee everyday, and 800 LE if you order two. Is there a way you would still enjoy a coffee with the same or near quality to your favorite cup and pay fractions of what you usually pay? Absolutely, if you have an espresso machine with foam capabilities, with some practice and many trials you can become an ok barista. The first step to become one is choosing the right kind of espresso ground coffee.

Here is the top picks of ground coffee you can find in Egyptian supermarkets / coffee shops:

NUMBER (1): Greco – French Roast – Perfection

Greco imports the best quality coffee beans from all over the world, and he sells the beans as well, if you are a hardcore espresso drinker and love strong coffee then you will definitely like their french roast. Although not the same blend they use to make their own coffee, it is the closest one. 225 gm costs 70 LE and is probably enough to cover your espresso carving for a couple of weeks.

Coffee Greco - French Roast Espresso Ground Cofee

Learn more about Cafe Greco and see the map here

Here is also one of the reviews that you can find on Dalili.com.eg that tells you more about Greco:

I love coffee, really, really good coffee, this is why, while I’m in Cairo, my day starts at Cafe Greco.
The coffee there is so good it will make you forget the lack of parking spaces on 9th Street and the high decibel of the noise once you get inside. The beans they use are brought in from the major coffee-growing countries of the world then roasted to bring out their distinctive flavour; from mellow, to medium, to knock you out of your sandals strong.
Once you have made your choice the friendly and knowledgeable staff will whip up your favourite concoction, whether it is a latte, an espresso, a cappuccino, an Americano or whatever.

NUMBER (2): DAVIDOFF – Espresso 57 – The premium choice

Davidoff are not just well known for their perfumes and cigarettes, they also make amazing coffee. Davioff is definitely the premium ground coffee and one of the best quality coffee you can buy from a local supermarket. Espresso 57 is my favorite, note sure what the number means but it has a smooth flavor and a nice aroma. It is packed under pressure, so when you open it the coffee small spreads all over the place. My wife swears that she smelled the coffee coming up the stairs until she came to my office after i unpacked it. Surprisingly, you can buy Davidoff coffee 250 gm for only 50 LE.

Davidoff - Espresso 57

Davidoff – Espresso 57

NUMBER (3): ILLY Medium Roast – All About Aroma

That is the very standard espresso that you would get in most places like coffee shops or restaurants. With ILLY you can never go wrong, the coffee is always rich, smooth and has a very special delicious aroma. One shot is not enough, you would always carve for double espresso shots. I would actually recommend this coffee to everyone, for me it is the “standard” coffee, how coffee should feel and taste. Ever heard someone saying that On The Run makes better coffee than Costa? don’t be surprise, this is because they use ILLY coffee. 125 gm costs 40 LE, 250 gm costs 80 LE. Pretty expensive but it also have the best packaging.

ILLY Espresso reds - Medium Roast

ILLY Espresso reds – Medium Roast

NUMBER (4): ILLY Dark Roast – Just about the same but stronger

If you like ILLY but you want stronger coffee, just for for ILLY black, not my thing though. I prefer strong coffee but ILLY dark roast does not have the same delicious aroma of ILLY medium roast. Not even close. 125 gm costs 40 LE, 250 gm costs 80 LE.

ILLY Black - Dark Roast

ILLY Black – Dark Roast

NUMBER (5): Segafredo – OK Coffee

You probably noticed that there are no more Segafredo branches in Egypt. They have out of business in the local market. One of the reasons is that they don’t make good coffee. If they can’t get it right in their cafes you can never get it right with your espresso machine at home. Generally, the coffee is OK, not bad. However, it is not available in the market anymore, just like the coffee shop itself.

Segafredo Espresso

Segafredo Espresso

NUMBER (6): Lavazza – Bad Coffee

Ever went to a nice looking coffee shop and order a late or an espresso and the coffee looked good but tasted like shit? This is probably due to the fact that they used Lavazza coffee. If you see their logo in a cafe, they i would definitely recommend that you order tea, forget about coffee. The name sounds good, and the brand looks OK but the coffee is really bad, no taste, no aroma, weak smell. I do not recommend this coffee to anyone. Price is the cheapest as well, around 40 LE for 250 gm. They say it is suitable for all coffee makers, so you can used it as Espresso, or as filtered coffee, all in one! This doesn’t sound right. Does it?

Lavazza Espresso

Lavazza Espresso

The funniest search in Egypt – أغرب حاجات الناس بندور عليها على يلوبيدجز

فى يلوبيدجز دائماً نبحث عن تقديم أفضل تجربة بحث ممكنة للمستخدم و أستطعنا تحقيق ذلك بالفعل من خلال قاعدة بيناتنا المليئة بالمعلومات عن أكثر من 300 ألف شركة فى مصر و كذلك من خلال تطوير محرك بحثنا المحلى الذى أصبح أقوى و أسرع كثيرأً اليوم عن ما كان عليه سابقاً.

بالرغم من كل ذلك تظل مشكلتنا الأساسية هى المستخدم الذى لا يعرف كيف يستخدم محرك بحثنا و يظن فى بعض الأحيان أنه يبحث فى جوجل و فى أحيان أخرى أنه يتحدث مع صديقة و يطلب من المعلومة.

خلينا نشوف مع بعض الناس بتدور على أيه فى يلوبيدجز – محرك البحث المحلى الأول فى مصر

1 2 3 4 5 6

أنا عايز أخد فيزا بتاعت أوكرانيا

أنا عايز أخد فيزا بتاعت أوكرانيا

اسماء المسافرين رحلة العمرة مولدالنبى 20 يناير 2013

اسماء المسافرين رحلة العمرة مولدالنبى 20 يناير 2013

عايز أشتغل فى أكاديمية باباى

عايز أشتغل فى أكاديمية باباى

امبابة البصراوى

امبابة البصراوى

نتيجة الشهادة الاعدادية بمدرسة 25 يناير بدمياط الجديدة بالدرجات

نتيجة الشهادة الاعدادية بمدرسة 25 يناير بدمياط الجديدة بالدرجات

طريقة عمل كيك بالشيكولاتة

طريقة عمل كيك بالشيكولاتة

Finally my all time favorite

الرقم الضريبى للدكتور باسم يوسف

الرقم الضريبى للدكتور باسم يوسف

Emokhalfa Takes on Cairo’s Traffic with New Violation Reporting App

Read the full article here

http://www.wamda.com/2012/10/emokhalfa-takes-on-cairos-traffic-with-new-violation-reporting-app

My first Wamda piece about the new startup Emokhalfa