While some global cities have long looked to bicycle transportation to ease traffic congestion, cycling hasn’t really taken off in Egypt. Despite the debilitating gridlock, it’s hard to blame Cairo’s people for not riding bicycles – there simply weren’t many suitable commuter bikes available, and finding a skilled mechanic wasn’t easy either.
Ain Bicycles’ Karim Abbany and Dirk Wanrooij set out to solve these problems. The two started out by building a bike for Karim’s brother, then pushed their friends to start cycling too. The trend quickly grew beyond their circle of friends and Ain now operates as a boutique bike shop, building custom one-off commuter bicycles.
Ain now wants to take their company and cycling advocacy further, by building a community center for people to learn about riding and maintaining bikes. The idea is being crowdfunded through an Indiegogo campaign, which has a few days left and still needs significant support to reach its goal…
Ain Bicycles has been operating for about two years, building bikes that are specifically equipped for travelling Cairo’s rough streets. The company has a few frame styles for customers to choose from, which are outfitted with a custom build that typically includes commuter-friendly parts like high-rise, swept back handlebars, big comfortable saddles, bells, coaster brakes and fairly wide tires.
The growing company has been working out of a borrowed apartment and is running out of room! The envisioned community center will not only provide more work space for Ain to build their bikes, but also help expand the riding community in Cairo. Ain seeks to create a place for riders to perform repairs with proper tools, get educated about bicycle riding and safe commuting, hold promotional seminars about bicycle commuting, and participate in bike mechanics workshops.
The two are looking to secure funding to rent a location for the community center, purchase quality bike repair tools, organise repair workshops and events to promote cycling, and purchase a supply of durable components suitable for Cairo’s rugged urban terrain.
Perks packages available to Indiegogo supporters include tune ups at the future facility ($90 USD), three-day bike mechanics workshops ($215) or a Be The Creator package where you learn to build a complete bike ($285) choosing the components, colors and giving it your own unique model name. Also, for $350 you can buy a Gold Edition ‘batch bike’ from Ain or you can custom build a bike with your own choice of frame, components and colors for $640. Many of these perks are, however, limited to people who live in or around Cairo and would be able to attend the facility.
Check out Ain Bicycles’ Indiegogo campaign here, or visit their website for a look at some of their unique builds.