After carting his camping gear, food and clothing, bicycle repair kit and all other items needed along a 4,000 km journey, British cyclist Dominic Gill has completed a tour of post-revolutionary Egypt and the UK embassy in Cairo is planning to celebrate his feats on Sunday.
Although a small film crew tracked his progress Mr. Gill did not rely at any time on them or their vehicle to complete his journey. He used an American made Co-Motion Periscope Scout tandem that was specially fitted with panniers to carry his equipment. As he crossed the Western Desert in high June heat he attempted to carry 3 –4 gallons of water with him on the bicycle.
Before departing, Mr. Gill said that he “hoped to encounter people from all walks of life on the journey” and stressed that “in the past the most successful journeys are those when I am able to integrate with the locals and take time to visit their homes and learn about their jobs and their lives and I anticipate that this particular time in Egypt’s long history will be especially full of interesting gems.”
This will be Encompass Films’ third documentary journey with Mr. Gill. The first film covered the vast expanse between Alaska and Argentina. In the second journey the tandem bicycle was used to take 10 persons with impairments in a transcontinental ride across the United States. This journey is intended to demonstrate the change at local level that Egypt is going through during its transition after the revolution.
Mr. Gill is not an investigative journalist but an adventurer and a storyteller and he hopes that his adventure will help give Egyptians a voice through his unique use of the tandem bicycle.
“After 60 days of cycling in Egypt I have seen the staples of the tourist trade and so much off the beaten track. And while the view from the top of Mt. Sinai and the pillars of the Temple of Karnak will always stick in my mind, the hospitality of the Egyptian people even where you thought there were none is just as impressive,” Mr. Gill said.
“While on paper the climb from Dahab to St. Katherines on the Sinai Peninsula was the most physically challenging, in practice the sometimes suffocating heat of the Western Desert and the fierce headwinds of the Red Sea Coast were enough to want to make me cry.”
“For my 4000 KM journey I had with me 7 Egyptian companion riders who took up the spare seat of the tandem. While the variety was not enormous, on reflection I am impressed that these people took up the challenge in a country where currently security and stepping out of the norm is questioned.”
Mr. Gill departed from Tahrir Square on Thursday June 16, 2011 at 2 p.m and arrived back in Cairo on 10 August.