Autumn- like weather greeted the 14-15 riders at the start point at Ein Carmel by the Banana Plantation. We met there exactly to the day last year but this year the Bananas offered less protection as they were almost bare to those who dared to bare their private parts prior to setting off southwards.
After a delayed start we set off southwards in perfect conditions with a cooling SW breeze in our faces. The pace was leisurely as we reached the ancient pumice water storage cisterns where I gave a short dissertation on sex and other matters. We passed the beautiful pampered cemetery of Ein Carmel (yes, some are beautiful) where a dear friend lies and whenever I pass the point I think how unlucky she was to succumb so young and how lucky we are to be well enough to be riding.
We weaved our way thru Ein Ayalas' hot -houses and scampered down and up the drainage canal to finally reach Habonim. We visited the Crusader ruins for yet another short explanation on the history of the place and off we went towards Dor along the partly lime stone trail. By then Dina and her bike had stopped squeaking. After a short exploratory visit to the beach front gate we decided we don't pay on Sat and rode off to the Kibbutz Nachsonim's entrance where we sneaked past the front unmanned barrier where we were denied entrance last year.
A brief visit to Rothscild's glass factory, now a museum, preceded our arrival at our favourtite cove beach front. Ingride tested the water but found it unbearably cold so we gave up on the swimming idea. Michal would have jumped in but we accepted Ingride's recommendation. Strangely, last year on the same day the water was perfect.
A brief breakfast stop by the waters was followed by the ascent up to the ruins of Dor. We Oohed and Aahhed at the spectacular views and yet another informal explanation on the history of the site. We rode along the sea front in partial sandy spots as Aldo took a couple of falls in thick sand. We pedaled across several minor coves to finally reach the car park near the Habonim railway crossing. Few remember that this is the crossing where twenty years ago some twenty school kids were killed when their school bus crossed the rails just as train roared down the tracks. It was the beginning of a national plan to improve rail crossings but it took several more tragedies before the plan was finally executed.
Above us parachutes slowly made their way earthwards but that was not all that fell from the heavens. We felt slight cooling drizzle for almost twenty minutes just prior to us reaching the Airstrip at Habonim with its recently rebuilt Paras terminal. We stopped there for breakfast and gawked at the Paras gracefully landing while breakfast was served. We visited the Terminal and admired the architecture and museum pieces. We were so relaxed that it took some effort to get us back on the bikes. The temp had by now risen but cloud cover helped as we crossed the bridge at Atlit for the final assault to the car park.
What a ride, what a group, what a day. Thanks David for the ultimate ride.
Same place different time, 20 early birds pitched up at our new starting time 07:00 am. A new rider Ami joined us today and a couple riders that haven't been with us for quite some time, welcome back Nathan and Michael.
We started riding through Keren Hayesod up Weizman and Kfar Nachman and into the fields. Riding up Weizman I was almost struck by a pigeons good luck surprise which made me even luckier in my opinion that I wasn't!
At the first waiting point David informed us that it will be a short ride because he needs to leave early. Ted joined us at this point, making us into a group of 21 peddlers! We were heading towards Har Hazevel and a few wondered out loud if we were going to try and conquer it! We got confirmation from our captain and as some were ready for takeoff others decided to enjoy the layover.
The beginning was a little problematic being quite sandy and trying to figure out the right gear for the challenge but once you got it, you got it!!
The mountain was conquered!!
While the challenge was accomplished it left the 13 of us who did it, a bit out of breath but full of pride and a great view. The ride down in my opinion was worth the hard climb, with a bit of technical riding, rocks and sandy sand.
The rest of the group waited at the bottom for us challenged ;-) people.
Uzi took over the reins from here till the end of the ride and David took a vacation for the rest of the ride. We continued North West through Bnei Zion to yakum, over the bridge that crosses road number 2, avoiding the horse land mines as usual and back south to Shefayim. As I realized that Merrill disappeared on me she gave out a yell from across the field after taking a different turn at Shefayim. Good thing she knew the way back to Ra'anana. Somewhere throughout the ride we ran into Frederic and caught up a bit with him on his whereabouts.
The long stretch home took us via the forever building of the 531 road, where I enjoyed a nice sprint workout all the way to the end of it. I ditched to continue with my plans and so did many others apparently. I was told Landwer went Cyclenixless.
It was a great ride! Quite a few up hills today with the weather definitely getting hotter, more humid and OMG sandier!!! We kept a nice fast pace of 15.5 km/h in average and covered about 30 km (depending on where each person ended the ride).
Seventeen of us pitched up in the early morn... (From next week might be earlier so follow the updates!!) Anna and Yochi twinned up in matching shirts, Rafi came with his new bike for which he must thank the robbers for forcing him to upgrade.
David started the ride off with a bit of a twist: Up Ahuza and right to Hashachar leading us all the way around the cemetery and out into the fields.
The path took us straight to Rishpon and then north to Arsuf, one of our favorite view points.
Just before climbing over the wooden barrier, John found a cute little kitty cat and realized that I should have taken my Ritalin today to prevent my mouth working faster than my neurons. I think I said something about John finding a pussy cat... I might have forgotten the word cat though... don't remember :-)
It's always a great refreshment and photo stop, with the breathtaking scenery of the Mediterranean sea from high up above.
Rafi as usual generously shared the "original Rafi's nuts" with us, while I shared the cheap imitation J . Photos, laughs, jokes and some quality time was had and once again back to pedaling.
We carried on North towards Shefayim and Gaash and then east to Yakum.
Somewhere during our ride we came across some hay stacks. Turns out that, thanks to the hay climbing I did on the Wheels of Hope ride, Sasha (Alex) and David thought of calling me to come climb again, but there were better surprises this time in the hay...
I noticed four people in the distance near a hay stack; something looked not right so I stopped. I squinted my eyes to try and see a bit better, and again just to make sure that I did see correctly. There were three naked people (two girls and a guy) and one dressed guy. We are not sure to what the purpose of their random nudity was, but probably no movie making, since there were no cameras except for ours. Maybe they were just sun tanning or went for a roll in the hay.
We were all riding happily, socializing when Yael fell sideways to her left and immediately Ingride fell to her right, right on top of her. I witnessed it all from behind and raced to them, luckily both of them were physically okay but Ingride was in quite a shock for running over Yael.
They shook it off and the rest of the ride was quite smooth all the way to trusty Landwer!
Surprisingly when we arrived there was already a table with a big group of people but Landwer still managed to find place to squeeze us in (not that we gave them a choice) Ted who arrived this morning from London managed to join us for breakfast.
For the first time there was a bit of a mix up in a couple of our orders but it didn't seem to cause enough of a trauma for us to give up on them just yet. If that didn't... an old school muscle car drove by revving its engine to make it roar for all around to notice and that's when I blurted out "well he must have a really small penis!" (In the voice of porky pig) THAT'S ALL FOLKS!
p.s. A shout of "happy birthday" to José
This morning twenty riders met at Moshav Elishema, including Sydelle who joined us for the first time (welcome Sydelle). We set off south-westwards, crossing under Route 40 and continuing east of Hod Hasharon. Soon we encountered our first obstacle and the group split into two - those who didn't mind schlepping their bikes through muddy water on unconvincing "stepping-stones", and those who preferred a detour.
I was in the first group, and we continued southwards crossing under Route 5 to the banks of the Yarkon River. We rode alongside the river for a few kilometers, then along the perimeter of Park Afek, meeting up with the rest of the group near just past the disused Rosh Ha'ayin railway station. We skirted the Park, debating whether the ruins in the distance were of Antipatris or Tel Afek.
Crossing under Route 483, we continued southwards alongside Route 6 past Moshav Kfar Sirkin. There were some vespers and ATVs ("trakteronim") that needed avoiding, and also some horse "mines" (sparking a discussion about automated manure clearers in Austria). At some point Merrill and Sydelle headed home, and the rest of us turned eastward across Routes 6 and 444 towards the Nahshonim Forest.
Here we encountered the second obstacle of the day, the climb up Givat Koach. Koach (meaning strength) adds up to 28 according to Gematria, and this hill is named after the 28 soldiers killed there in the War of Independence. The climb itself is steep and rocky, but rewarding to all who manage it without stopping. The spiky ground does however pose a puncture hazard, as Mati discovered the hard way.
After repairing Mati's tyre, we circled Kibbutz Nahshonim and headed north alongside Route 444. We did take time out to enjoy the third obstacle of the day, known as the "ambatiya" (bath). The bath is a concreted section of dry river bed that has steep, irresistible (to some) slopes. One rider almost came off of his bike but was experienced enough to prevent a nasty fall.
We then continued north past Kibbutz Einat, back over Route 6 and past Givat Hashlosha. Crossing Route 483 we passed the entrance to Park Afek (and a huge line of cars waiting to enter the picnic area, thankful that we were not among them), then under Route 5 past the Rosh Ha'ayin North train station. We continued north alongside the railway line, and after a hasty sprint across an open sewer, up the hill to Elishema and back to our cars.
It was an enjoyable and challenging ride of 35 Kilometers in a varied terrain with good weather and great company.
|Participants:||17 mostly regulars but without John who was in Jerusalem for the long weekend|
|Route:||Raanana Northwards: Bazra - Bene Zion - Harutzim Nature Reserve area - Kiryat Shlomo - Dror - Westwards through Tel Itzhak - over the rail bridge - Southwards back to Raanana and to Landwer for coffee: total 35 km|
|Conditions:||Sandy in parts but generally good. Weather warm and according to IMS less than average humidity and light heat stress|
|Bottom Line:||Pleasant XC route/riding conditions.|
|Company:||usual standard of excellence!|
A bunch of us set out to find some hope...
This ride and the vibe of it kind of started a few days before the actual event.
With a WhatsApp group that should have been called WTF or IFTTMM (I forgot to take my meds) and hype about the ride that for some reason I was credited for... we all came with an easy going feeling.
With no organized convoy, some of us coming from other places and Pinocchio who thought the ride was at Latrun, we surprisingly all arrived at the right place! Thanks to modern technology and a few minutes of explanations, we all arrived safe a sound and were rewarded with a cool beverage.
I waited near the starting point with my colourful outfit being a beacon for others to find. It worked well since they all did find me. While David was checking out the horrendous violin sounds that my bike randomly makes, a woman with her helmet on backwards walked by... I am still pondering whether she has eyes in the back of her head, if she did the rides backwards or if my bike will pick up a tune of Mozart's but either way we continued.
The ride started off with us toddling/walking/riding slowly with the mob of so many disabled and their supporters...
the moment we got to the road we could actually continuously pedal and we did so for the next 31-32km (it's debatable). "Continuously" is a generous word taking in consideration that the ride took us 3 hours and my Endomondo only tracked two hours and ten minutes of riding. The route started off as usual, you ride for about 6 km on road and then you turn into the glorious fields of the Emek. The roadies carried on straight to do their 50 km's plus.
Just into the off road route we reached a huge field with hundreds of hay stacks!! Us and many others stopped for a little climb in the hay :) Once again we were off to the cavalry! Blissfully riding along the plains, laughing at the wannabe up hills and down hills, we arrived at a "tremendous" ditch of gushing water about 2 cm's high! While some girl was trying to walk across to the other side without getting her feet wet, the riders including us were riding through while enjoying the ridiculousness of the show.
When we got to Hayogev I realised that the route has been changed and David proved my memory is still functioning with his gps of last year's ride. We didn't go into Hayogev but around it this time to what seemed to be an even easier ride than last years.
There were also three water stops this year unlike previous years which only had two.
At the first stop we enjoyed some of "Rafi's nuts" even though he wasn't with us. The other two stops we just flew by since we were all well prepared and fit enough to take on the challenges of the ride.
Monkey business was the name of the game at almost every photo stop and also during the ride while Stuart got David to show off his fierceness Kodak moment.
The chit chat was so diverse, the cynicism was poetic, and the laughter released all inhibitions while the fresh air and the most beautiful scenery embraced us from around!
Some of us got separated quite early in the route and they also finished it faster since they were busy riding and not hung up on shenanigans. At the end, as usual all rides lead to the coffee shop where we all pitched up in turns. As part of my organizing the logistics for this ride I chose Landwer Ha'emek because it was out of the way of the rest of all the thousands of riders and also because my cousin works there and we all love Landwer!
The food was great! The service was great! The laughs still continued! And I think I can sum it up that we all had a great day!
p.s. we didn't find any hope!
531 Expeditionary Force
Just before moving to Ra'anana in 1971 locals here reassured me that 531 was just about to be constructed. 10 years later local politicians kept making a similar claim but I was wiser by then and dismissed the "imminent threat" and adopted the attitude "not in my lifetime". Despite what I saw today on the ride in the investigative expedition of 521 we conducted I stick to my guns although I admit the optimist in me was sorely tempted to believe I may still drive down 531. The down side is the total destruction of tracts of land and obviously to the eco systems and fauna that existed there until those massive Cats drove them away or killed the poor blighters. The sight of lake "Mousse" was alarming and I wonder if straying kids could fall victim to the idea of dipping in this massive lake of "Choco". Heaven Forbid!!! Easy to see where one billion dollars have gone in constructing 531. The alchemy trade is still going on. Turning gold into concrete. As for the rest of the ride, David chose a resurrected version of an old route and we had a great and uneventful ride or worse my aging memory just fails to think up something of value. Passing Ha'aretz HQ was a reminder that the printed news biz is becoming a thing of the past and will contribute to saving many, many trees .The weather warmed up to remind us that summer is just round the corner but it was not only bearable,,,,, I even enjoyed the light caressing breeze on the faster stretches. Seeing Dina ride towards us on her first attempt at off- roading was a personal pleasure for me and we all hope to see her back riding on her" Light Steed" just as in the past. Landwer is a hard habit to kick so we ended up there for bkfst and Michal made it back from her run in TA in time to share an omelet with JC. Life is gooooooooooooooddddddd!!!!!!!!!!!!
All roads lead to Nahal Alexander
20 of us set of from Netanya northwards, and I am convinced that all roads going north lead to Nahal Alexander. Ably led by Uri, we passed through Kfar Yedidiya - and with some on and off-road slow gradient climbs, we ended up along Nahal Alexander. Here we zoomed towards the sea and enjoyed a quick view of the vibrant blue - but no rest yet! We had to cross a torrent to continue along the beach, with Yael's pink shoe nearly being a casualty - it bobbed in the frothing water and luckily bobbed towards us and David heroically rescued it. One wise person declared the sea and the sand as the "enemy of the bike" and opted to go back another way. But we did meet up again...
With sand in our shoes we continued along the beach (with the cantering horses)- not for the faint-hearted. With the sea lapping at our wheels and the shells crunching at each turn, we slogged along. With the buildings of Netanya in sight, I could almost taste the coffee - but not quite yet. We made a stop at an historical water tower and then coasted along to Uri and Yael's garden where, indeed, the water was boiling and the coffee and some delicious nibbles awaited us.
A BIG thank you to Uri and Yael for leading our about 23 km of interesting riding and for their wonderful hospitality. And a mazal tov to Hilton for his birthday!
With apologies to Pat Boone and Love Letters in the Sand
On a day like today
We pass the time away
Riding our bikes in the sand
How we panted and sighed
Each time we saw the tide
Lap our wheels in the sand
Beautiful warm day. Perfect weather for cycling. 17 riders pitched up at the start. Another led by our David, another 34 km Home Patch ride is under our belts. The route was a familiar one. The company was great and the breakfast stop at Landwers was, as always, excellent. What made the stop even better than usual was that Dina joined us ON HER BIKE! It's her first short ride since her accident and hopefully it won't be long until she's back with us "full time".
Cyclenix fielded TWO rides today. One , for the braver and more adventurous one, an away ride in the North, and the other, for the lazier. Seven of us met at our usual "Home Patch" meeting point. The weather was perfect! Off we went following Merrill Northwards. Most of the route covered by us was a route that we have oft ridden but there were a few detours, some of which led to dead ends and we had to retrace our steps and find an alternative way of reaching out intended finishing point, Landwers. The route had a bit of everything... water, mud, thicker stickier mud, sand, thorny undergrowth, and as a reward, some fruit bearing trees. J At one point Chaim decided to "walk" through a somewhat muddy patch, only to find that his shoes sank into the mud and in extracting his feel he managed to lose one of his shoes. The shoe was rescued by him. All in all we covered approximately 32 kilometres finishing off at one of our favourite places. Landwers, where we are always assured of good service and good food We all enjoyed ourselves and at the same time had some good exercise. If everyone's bike was in the condition that mine was on reaching home then wer all had more good exercise cleaning our bikes!
If you have any questions or want to get in touch for any reason, feel free to get in touch with David or John: