Due to very weird weather for Israel in March our away rides were constantly postponed. At some point the home patch rides just becomes a bit too much of a routine for some of us.
A different local ride was needed to give us a feeling that we had an away ride. The Netanya area was suggested to give us just a bit of different scenery in the Sharon and to let David relax and lower his guards in the leading department.
Two new comers joined to practice for their upcoming bike packing trips and the rest of us were all just "regulars". We headed off on a semi pavement semi off road route, part of it being on "Shvil Yisrael" alongside the sea heading south.
We all the way to Poleg to "Shmurat hawirusim" which was sadly as bare as old mother Hubbard's cupboard… we did take a small walk to try and find a couple irises and that is about all we found.
We continued through Shlulit Ha'horef Park and back towards the eastern side of Netanya. With a fun stop at the bicycle park and a few rounds on the pump track and BMX track we all had some fun.
From there the intentions were to go to Beit Yitzhak for coffee at one of the nicer coffee shop in the area... but they were closed.
I on the other hand chose to turn back with Yoavi so he would actually live to tell about the ride. Tal and Dafna chose to join us turning back to the cars. As we were about to drive away everyone pitched up from their coffee less adventure, to Yoavi excitement that after all he will dine with the gang!
The weather was great and it was a fun and easygoing ride. A nice change to the regular home patch ride that we are so used to. To all who would like to lead occasionally, especially on a different local ride and also away rides, just give a shout out to David and he will gladly take the day off...
The elements are a riders main considerations and none is more dreaded than the diabolical wind. Wind comes in all shapes and sizes as well as directions. Including Bise. A cold, dry wind from the north or northeast funneled over the Alps into southern France and Switzerland by pressure differences.
Among others: the Mistral; Bora; Brickfielder; Southerly Buster; Buran; Sirocco; etc., etc., as spoken by the King of Siam. And even in lowly indiscernible off beat obscure tiny Israel we have our Sharav (Khamseen).
So last Saturday in true spring fashion the wind obliged us to cancel our southbound ride at Ofakim (or Ofakher to those who feel discriminated by 'IM' and not ER) and instead we chose "David's Birthday Route". The idea was to enjoy riding against the wind by riding to the south first and returning to Ra'anana with the wind pushing us from behind.
I am careful to point out the the use of the words "wind" and "behind" have varying connotations, but one cannot ignore the fact that riding is linked to the posterior as we sit on saddles in order to pedal as standing up while riding would be quite a challenge. So my point is that even on non windy days wind is part of the riders lot and who knows better than me as I am always the last or to put it succinctly, behind the other riders.
Leaving the subject of wind behind (oops there I go again) we 15 or so set off in good spirits (wind and spirit are synonymous) and reached Herzeliya via the rear (oops again) of the airport where we rode along the cliff top in order to see the sea (Intended play on words). The waves were magnificent as were the wind kites. But the cliff ride southward to Sea and Sun required 1st gear effort as we rode straight into the wind almost akin to an upward hill climb (our experts suggested a 15 deg incline).
The return ride was literally a breeze (get it!) as the 35k/hr wind shoved us along. When it hit us at 90 deg we experienced a broadside (not to be confused with backside) sensation of being blown away (blown, wind, behind oy,oy oy). The mob reached Landver slightly "winded" but the Purim costumes of the diners and staff were an added bonus to a great socially tinted experience enhanced by the costumed appearance of Megan and Michal who joined us for breakfast... exclusive of Haman Tashen.
Phew, I'm breathless just by writing this drivel(Editors Note: and my fingers are cramped from fixing all the grammar errors). By the way this report is dedicated to John who just loves winds.
There were fifteen riders at the meeting point this morning, including special guest rider, Dennis. Spring was in the air, and it was high time to pay a visit to the beautiful rare Black Irises. Because I never know where I am, below is the route that certain members of the group dictated to me, with their comments in parenthesis.
We set off along Weizman, turning left towards Herzlia and then North out of Ra'anana ('with a heavy heart because we love Ra'anana) into the fields and towards Herzlia airport. ('The route was clockwise but why do you need to write the route, we know where we were!'). We cycled north along the railway line until we reached the Euro Park area of Yakum. From there we rode slightly east of Yakum ('in fact, east west east west to avoid the puddles') and climbed a steep hill to admire the Black Irises. We rode back through the Udim nature reserve with its beautiful ravine ('that is man-made and thousands of years old'), and from there continued east past Tel Itzhak ('where they print Ha'Aretz'). From Tel Itzhak we rode south through Batzra, and back into Ra'anana.
We ended the ride at the Landver coffee shop, and the puns started flying. I don't know whether it was the beer or just good coffee, but everyone was in top form.
The ride was unusual in that it was a combination of a leisurely pace with plenty of flower stops on the one hand, and then two tough uphills and one very steep downhill single on the other hand. David promised us the Black Irises, and unlike 'The Castle' by Franz Kafka, we did actually get to see tens of them and in all their glory. We also stumbled up some other floral gems, including what looked like miniature wild tulips. What we unfortunately did not get to experience (although we were extremely close) was my favorite place in the world, Ikea.
It was a great ride of about 34 kilometers with very little mud, no punctures, good company and lots of laughs.
Only 9 Cyclenixers pitched up on this heavenly morning. It was definitely heavenly as the heavens decided to descend upon us. No one could miss the mist (or the puns) smothering the horizon. In fact it was even visible on the hair of my arms. The temperature was low but my optimism of the sun coming up wasn't far from an Annie song away.
We haven't been such a small group in quite some time. I'm not sure if it was because of previous experiences from this area, the hours' drive or Yom hamishpacha celebrations but it made the ride smoother in the singles.
I was warned that many cyclenixers do not like the Be'eri ride because of its technicality and the massive amount of riders during this season. I made sure that Anat, my friend and leader for the day, knew exactly what we want and don't want out of this ride. She assured me that we will enjoy a nice tranquil ride around the area and will not encounter the masses or technical parts.
After a short introduction we headed off into the mist...
The kalaniot (Anemone coronaria) which are the main reason to come to Be'eri this time of year, were all closed and waiting for the warm sun, just like us on our bikes. Unlike the flowers we couldn't wait and had to ride on hoping the cycling will warm us up.
Ingride had to ride without her glasses since she couldn't see through them with them misting up. On the other hand she couldn't see much without them so it was a lose-lose situation... especially for David who had to hear about his promises of a sunny day.
The route was described as a mish mash of the area and indeed was so. We did parts of different singles, stopped for many photos, visited a few historical sites and heard explanations. It seemed that the history knowledge of the members of the group was quite extensive. I think it is because for some of the members it isn't necessarily history but memory lane... we discovered that Dinas uncle was a major in the Australian New Zealand army corps (Anzac). We visited the monument and got to see the view of Gaza for those who could figure out which way to look.
The sun by this time had come out to defrost us all. The flowers opened up welcoming us, Ingride had her glasses on and the day was just perfect.
The ride was exactly what we had ordered and Anat delivered 100%.
The cyclenixers who were hesitant about riding Be'eri got to create a good memory for next year when Be'eri is suggested.
At the end the day indeed was heavenly with no puns intended! We will definitely be going back to Be'eri and also will be in touch with Anat to lead us again since she did such an amazing job and seemed to tolerate us doing so.
We rode 22.5 kilometers of our mish mash and afterwards most went home but David, Ingride, Ted and Dina had a double date at the entrance to Ashdod
17 riders pitched up on this blessed morn to pedal around the Sharon area.
John's presence and shenanigans were missed so Yoavi reinforced the juvenile department, but unlike John, Yoavi attracts positive attention.
It was nice to see Ted, Dina and Ilan who seem to have been MIA lately.
The route that David had in plan was with full intentions to avoid the mud left from this week's rain. So we headed off up Ahuza towards Herzelia with intentions of a marina ride.
The temperature at the beginning of the ride was 8 degrees and we were all warmly dressed. As the time and kilometers went by our heart rate and the temperature climbed.
the layers started to come off with the regular stripping jokes. The route surprisingly included more off road than I expected but we love the fields so there were no complaints. We encountered very little mud and though it seemed to be quite a threat to the rest of the ride it turned out to be nothing serious.
As we continued, those without mud guards, enjoyed the mud ricocheting to their faces.
In my attempts to help Yoavi keep his strength and in avoidance of a puddle he fell off his bike. He survived to tell the story and sucked up the pain though he was a bit startled. He continued like the champ he is!
We covered 28 kilometers of the sunny warm Sharon area and dined at Arcaffe for a change where john joined us.
20-something of us set off for what became quite a long ride on a lovely sunny winter's day.
We covered lots of ground without too much mud and even got to see the sea.
As we warmed up, clothes came off - but we heeded the words of Joe Cocker... you can keep your hat on...
We made sure to keep on the cycle path through the reserve and came back via the slow uphill at Bnei Zion. Along the way the usually quiet road was very busy with families enjoying the sunshine and red dots of the kalaniot.
Some made their way home while others stopped for refueling at Landwer... safe trip home to Michael - enjoy being with the family. Oh, only one fall and no punctures.... this and the sun and nature... what more can you ask for?
After two weeks of trying to go on an away ride we finally succeeded!
The destination was changed to the south. The weather report was unstable at first but it all worked out in the end.
I remembered the area being very cold in the winter mornings from previous rides at Gvaram so reluctantly i took a jacket... Lucky my memory was stronger than my dislike of jackets!
It was cold at the start point, so cold that David almost started the ride in his sweat pants, till Ingride pointed out his fashion choice for the day.
After David stripped down we started our ride.
An optimistic 24 people showed up for the easy and simple singles Gvaram has to offer. I don't know if it is because of the lovely easy route or the terrible stay at home weather from the previous couple of weeks but either way we were a nice big group.
This ride was not free of mishaps... Anna fell of her bike but Anna being Anna she always gets up brushes off the dust and continues as all is good.
Ronen, Yossi's son had a nice warm welcoming with the need to inflate his tires a couple times.
The weather turned to the better with a nice warm spring day. The sun was shining and warming us up with a sweet 20 degrees, the blooming flowers are just starting to gracefully color up the south and the terrain was nice and tight after the recent rains.
A certain part of the route was closed due to KKL's projects of fixing the place up leaving us to take the more technical way. Whoever new how to take it on did... the others chose the safer way out and walked a few meters.
The ride, route, scenery, weather and company were at their finest!
All in all we did about 16 km's out of the 20 km's that were planned but no one really noticed or cared just like at the beginning of the ride when David was still in his sweats...
"One picture is worth a thousand words"
Raphi's photos tell the whole story
KOL HAKAVOD to the four intrepid riders (Raphi, Uri, Haim and Arik) who braved the wind, the cold and the wet!
I phoned David and quickly hung up. He phoned me back and quoted my regular mantra that he is used to hearing on Saturday mornings: "you woke up late and are running late"
I told him that that is what I wanted to say but hung up since I realized it is only 7:09 and not 7:20 so I will make it early. Laughingly I was wished that my orientation will improve throughout the day.
After cancelling the away ride due to the forecast we were hoping that a local ride will be the solution to getting home dry. Surprisingly it started drizzling before we even left the parking lot!
We headed out of Raanana into the fields towards bazra and harutzim cycling north to tel Yitzhak. The drizzle stopped right at the beginning of the ride and to my surprise so did the inauguration discussions. It seems like we had more interesting things to talk about than American politics.
Dafna and Keren joined us for the first time. We hope to see them more often on future rides. Ted is back on the saddle since his knee has been injured and seems to be that cycling is the best medicine. We succeeded in dodging the mud by walking carefully around it and feeling grateful that we will actually arrive home dry and clean. The puddle on the other hand had other intentions for us. With no way around it we had to ride through it and get our feet a bit wet.
As if I am not challenged enough it seems that Michael is amused with challenging me by trying to get me to check my limits and coordination on the bike. While I just almost managed to go over the hill he with perfect instincts caught my bike to stop me from falling.
Though I have discovered that I now can officially ride with no hands… hopefully I will keep all my teeth in place and collarbones in one piece with this new discovery.
As usual David was out numbered when the decision whether to take the faster road way or the longer off road way back to Landwer. The majority tipped the scale to a decision that really makes no difference at the end of the ride since in any case we get to our trusty coffee at Landwers.
We rode about 30 kilometers and got to enjoy a great fun ride with great company.
16 optimists pitched up to ride this morning. With rainfalls predicted after 11:00 am everyone was hopeful to enjoy a nice dry ride and make it home before the clouds release their showers.
All winter geared up, we headed towards har hazevel.
The majority decided to take on the challenge and climb the mountain! Thanks to the previous rains the terrain was nice and solid making the climb relatively easier than usual.
At the top of the mountain we were all in awe from the amazing 360 degree view of the Sharon area. We caught our breath took a group photo and headed back down to the rest of the group waiting for our return. It definitely was not yet 11:00 am, more like 8:00 am... and the heaven opened its taps on us!
Now riding with a constant drizzle keeping us just moist enough to question the rest of the ride. In spite of the rain we headed north hoping it will stop eventually. It didn't seem like the drizzling had any intention on giving up so at some point when the question of the rest of our route was raised we (myself leading the mutiny) chickened out and decided that Landwer is better sooner than later!
Just after the decision was made and we started on our journey back the drizzling stopped.
Arriving at the famous stop before turning towards bnei zion David and Arik made a bet about the off road route being muddy or not. David insisting that it is rideable and Arik insisting the opposite, the group split up as usual at this spot and waited to see who would take the pot.
our mighty leader as usual was right! besides a little patch that was easily detourable all grounds were tight and perfect to ride.
I have to mention that during this ride both David and Ingride managed to display the force that is gravity! Ingride even proved the laws of physics twice! Sadly there is no photographical evidence to these fine moments.
Despite cutting our ride short we managed to cover 22 kms and reached cosy Landwer all deserving a warm cup of java!
If you have any questions or want to get in touch for any reason, feel free to get in touch with David or John: