Editor’s note: This article was published before the coronavirus pandemic, and may not reflect the current situation on the ground.

Not content with heading to Egypt in search of the famous sights, Lola Akinmade Åkerström opted for a once-in-a-lifetime two-wheeled excursion instead. And, despite the blistering heat, she lived to tell the tale.  

It’s 2010 and our motley crew of cyclists has assembled in Egypt.

There’s Charlie, a professional cyclist in his 40s; Jayme, an adventure writer in her 30s; Alpha, a triathlete in her 70s; our local fixer Tamir; a handful of other adventure travelers who’d collectively logged thousands of kilometers mountain-biking around the world—and then there’s me.

On paper, our plan of riding between 120-150 kilometers over eight days didn’t seem all that strenuous. But, upon closer inspection of the facts (mainly, that we’d be biking through open desert while enduring 100+ degree Fahrenheit heat, with zero reprieve from the beating sun), it’s all beginning to seem a little more strenuous.