PTS Cruisers, an Egyptian motorcycle club, reveals some of their adventures, which go beyond the traditional monuments of the country
Texto: Cláudia Terra
Fotos: PTS Cruisers
Translate: Rosa Freitag
Moto Adventure também está presente no cenário internacional. Fizemos uma matéria sobre o PTS Cruisers, moto clube sediado no Egito e, com toda justiça, apresentamos agora a reportagem em inglês para que nossos amigos estrangeiros façam a leitura. Para ver a notícia em português, clique aqui.
PTS Cruisers is a motorcycle club based in the small and pleasant Port Said, in a region of international tourism with a network of luxury hotels on the Egyptian coast. It is the oldest group in town. According to SamyKamel, Vice-President and one of the founders of the group, PTS stands for Port Said and the 3 skulls on the emblem represent a group of people willing to ride to death. Samy affirms that PTS Cruisers is his second family and greatest source of joy, and in the group everyone protects and cares about each other. His current motorcycle is a Suzuki Boulevard M109R, a model adored by Egyptian riders, but his favorite is the Triumph Rocket III.
Currently PTS Cruisers has 30 official members and 8 applicantsunder review. The group includes people from various professional areas, such as tradesmen and entrepreneurs. It was founded on August 8th 2013 and, according to Samy, PTS Cruisers is the first organized motorcycle club in Port Said (which already has 3 groups and 2 chapters) and is a member of the Egyptian Auto & Motorcycle Federation. The founding members and current board members are: President: Shady Galal, Vice-President: SamyKamel and Directors IslamAlaa, Mohamed ElTarabily and Mohamed Tamim. The group has members in the cities of Cairo, Ismailia and Hurghada.
The main meeting point for PTS Cruisers is an Italian restaurant owned by a member, a place used for birthday celebrations and other festivities or simple meetings to celebrate friendship among members and friends, always with live music. “We like almost every type of music, but heavy metal… not that much”, says Samy. Another difference from riders in Brazil is that members of this group don’t have tattoos. Some don’t get tattoos for religious reasons, but there are members from other groups with this type of body art.
Simplicity in gestures
The bikes are not heavily customized, but there are nice airbrush jobs in some. According to Mostafa Elshabaany, in Port Said there aren’t any specialized motorcycle customization services available yet. He has been a member of the group for only a year, but in his words “PTS Cruisers is not just a motorcycle group; it is a real family”. He is an experienced rider and loves the Harley-Davidson V-Rod. And like some other members, he wants to come to Brazil to see the local motorcycle scene. There is a group member who has worked in Brazil for a couple of years: “I was in Brazil from 2012 to 2014. I was working off-shore, as captain of a vessel for oil recovery in Fortaleza, Ceará State, North East Brazil. Of course I’ve been to Rio de Janeiro, for 3 weeks”, remembers Mohamed Tamim, one of the group founders. He owns one of the most beautiful bikes in PTS Cruisers, with a nice airbrushed work. During his stay in Brazil, Mohamed said that unfortunately he didn’t have an opportunity to ride and he is interested in visiting the country again.
Similar to Brazilian groups, PTS Cruisers also promotes activities towards humanitarian and environmental causes and for promotion of tourism in Egypt. “We participate in many humanitarian activities, in orphanages, homes for the elderly, etc. And also in patriotic activities, such as promoting tourism when we ride with guests to beautiful places in the country, sending a message to the world to show that Egypt is safe. We encourage people to visit Egypt”, says Samy.
The main rules to become a member of the group are:
- – To comply with rules of PTS Cruisers and respect the group emblem;
- – Follow safety rules, such as wearing essential protection gear and checking the condition of the motorcycle before the rides;
- – Be punctual for all rides and monthly meetings;
- – Do not disclose internal matters outside the group;
- – Respect traffic laws;
- – Respect and support all other riders and always help someone in need.
Most motorcycles in the group are Suzuki Boulevard M109R, 1800 cc. Motorcycles must be over 1000 cc in order to join PTS Cruisers. Harley-Davidson also has a strong presence in Egypt, with an official store in Cairo, where the brand is highly desirable. The group promotes a monthly meeting, when all members are invited to participate, as well as many meetings of the board throughout the months. At the moment there are only men among the members, but according to the vice-president, PTS Cruisers accepts women as official members. Many women come along with members who are their husbands, fathers or friends. Also, according to Samy, it should be possible that some women who already join the group as pillion riders could become official members, and so PTS Cruisers will most likely be the first moto group in Port Said with women riders.
Differently from some moto groups in Brazil, at PTS Cruisers former members have the freedom to become members of any other moto club that suits best their needs. The safety rules, such as wearing a helmet, are compulsory in Egypt. Samy tells that wearing a helmet is compulsory throughout the country, especially on big cities and in all highways. However, in small towns and suburbs it is possible to ride without a helmet, but only in certain areas where speed limits are 40 or 50 km/h. The quality of the roads can vary, but they are usually good. “Most of our destinations can be reached through good roads, because this is something everyone takes seriously. We do a previous check of the quality of the road, ensuring it is good and safe for our rides”, explains Samy. And in Egyptian traffic, like in Brazil, there is still some disrespect from car drivers towards motorcycle riders. “This is why we have scouts, to protect our formation in trips with a large number of riders”, says Samy.
PTS Cruisers is always present in events throughout the country, alsowelcoming other groups in Port Said. Recently, in July, PTS met with The Riders, from Alexandria, to celebrate friendship and biker union. “The visitors, our dear friends, traveled around 600 kilometers altogether to visit us, and we had the pleasure to host them for 3 days in our city. They would do the same for us in Alexandria. In Egypt it is very common for moto clubs to join forces and travel together to visit other groups in different cities. We ride together, we spend the day on the beach, we share meals and celebrate”, explains Samy.
Moto clubs have strong bonds in the mystic country of the legendary pharaohs. The main motorcycle events in Egypt always have official support from groups. Usually the larger events are organized by leaders of various groups, not just one. But each group also organizes their own event to celebrate some special date and receives groups as guests.
In Egypt there are always many motorcycle events going on. In August 11th we had the 2nd Beach Bikefest at a luxury hotel in San Stefano beach, in Alexandria, and event promoted by Alex Cruisers with support from dozens of guest groups, bringing hundreds of riders to the coast. There are some aspects of this event that would surprise Brazilian riders. For instance: the fact that a mega event only lasts a day (riders arrive a day earlier and return home a day after the official end date), and official activities happen only during that day, with Arabian music, of course. And the female presence is strong, women in riding gear, although only few of them actually ride bikes, but this number is growing in the land of mighty Cleopatra. Another peculiarity of Bikefest is that only invited groups can participate, with a previous confirmation of attendance.
Beaches, bikinis and pyramids
Many Brazilians may think that in Egypt the beaches aren’t nice and clean and that women cannot wear bikinis. But this is not entirely true, and as in any country, there are excellent beaches and others not that good. The myth that women do not wear bikinis is unmasked at many beaches, particularly those with a strong presence of tourists, and, of course, at the 5-star hotels and resorts, places where the major motorcycle events in Egypt take place, and also at private beaches, touristic villages where women have freedom.
However, according to Samy there are beaches with a stronger presence of women who are highly religious and conservative, and prefer to go to the beach wearing a muslim swimsuit (which resembles a diving suit, but not much fun for taking a simple and energizing dip in the sea and getting a suntan). And the dream of riding near the famous Egyptian monuments (pyramids and sphynxes) is very feasible.
You can ride your motorcycle through paths among the pyramids, raising dust among tourists, camels and lots of sunshine. A beautiful ride that could make pharaohs rise and join the group. For such, according to Samy, you need prior authorization from local authorities, but it is simple to obtain.
Motorcycle riding in Egypt, with groups such as PTS Cruisers, is becoming big and well organized. It is a pleasure and a passion taken very seriously by hundreds of lovers of joyful adventures in two wheels. As they say: L&R – Love & Respect. So be it among all riders on the planet.
Special thanks to Shady Galal for allowing the making of this feature, and to SamyKamel, Mostafa Elshabanny and Mohamed Tamim, for kindly sparing time for excellent interviews. PTS Cruisers is welcome in Brazil anytime! You are great motorcycle leaders! And inspiration for many. Ride safe, free and happy, always!
*Cláudia Terra is a journalist, rider and lover of the Harley-Davidson universe.
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