(With Apologies to William Wordsworth)
(the first two verses of "I wandered loney as a cloud")
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er the Sharon
When all at once I saw a crowd
A group of happy cyclists
Beside the river, beneath the trees
Whizzing and pedaling in the breeze
Continuous as the stars that shine
and twinkle in the milky way,
They stretched in a never-ending line
Along the sandy paths;
Twenty I saw at a glance
Helmets on their heads in a puffing dance
Yes, twenty of us gathered to set off on our familiar route, enjoying the cloud cover and slightly cooler weather. We covered a good 33 km led by David who is fresh back from cycling with Gabi and co. along the mighty Danube. Yochi joined us after a long absence - we hope that Anna will convince you to come more often...Megan was sporting a natty plait - maybe the fashion will catch on with others in the group with longer hair! Agam offered a welcome refreshment stop - a lovely ride and, as always, in good company.
Only Ten of us showed up at 7 at the Ayalon mall, the poor turnout could only be attributed to the over indulgence at the many holiday meals, like the mantra goes "they tried to kill us in the holy - days, let's eat!"
The first (of two) eventful incidents happened after 30 minutes of Michal snapping away with her Canon SLR. "Oops" she said "I do not have a memory card" so the pulitzer prize winning shots were forever lost to human kind. I could not help but remark that if she was using a Nikon this would not have happened.
Since being ten years old, I have not had as much practice dodging people, bikes, prams, runners, walkers, most of whom have no idea that in Israel we drive on the right hand side of the road. We crossed over the border to Bat Yam , a paradise for the Israeli national sport of "matkot" and stopped to breathe in the sea air.
On the way back through Jaffa we stopped at a nice coffee shop near the clock tower for breakfast.
Heading back on the "bike only path" the second incident happened where a kid with no road sense riding on the wrong side of the path and crisscrossing over, hit Yvette. Luckily Yvette was okay and sustained only a bruised finger.
For us having just returned from the UK this was a "welcome back to Israel" ride.
At 7am 12 riders met at our usual starting point. The skies were slightly overcast, and it was not too hot... in fact almost perfect weather for biking. Our numbers were slightly depleted as a few of our regulars were cycling along the Danube on what has now become an annual excursion organized by Gaby. As we were about to start I received greetings for us all from David and Ingride (two of our absent members) from the banks of the Danube. Thank you and we all hope that you're having a great time.
As David (our usual pathfinder, was away Ted planned the route and while the cat was away he made a few subtle changes!!!
It was great to have Avi Tsabban back with us after his recent foot surgery and Nirit. Hope to see the TWO of you regularly in the future.
What was very noticeable ( and has been for some time) is the progress being made on the highway being built in our area. Progress in one field amounts to regression in another. Many pardessim (orchards ) and agricultural fields have disappeared. L I suppose that that's the price one has to pay to progress, but nevertheless for us off-road bikers is sad to see some of our regular routes no longer exist.
The route itself was not all that different from our usual Ra'anana, Batzra, Bene Tzion, Udim, Yaqum, Rishpon route and eventually we made it to Central Café without any mishaps and not one puncture. That's a good way to start the year!!!! Total distance covered 26 kms.
I just love the Elishema "away ride". Not just for its natural beauty, but also because, for many riders, the starting point is just a 10 to 15 minute drive away, allowing the alarm clock to rest for at least an extra hour compared to the traditional away rides in the north. This ride always reminds me that there are so many wonderful places to see so close to home, and how the "masses", who are often "Saturday programmed" to either getting up late, or going to a shopping mall, coffee shop or even the same beach, miss out on so much. Get a bicycle, get a life!
And it's not just my opinion. 27 riders either convinced their partners, brought their partners or dumped their partners, especially so that they could turn up at the entrance to Moshav Elishema for 7am (or 7:05am, or 7:10am ... ).
Led by David and his trusty GPS, we setoff from Elishema (just south east of Kfar Saba) on a 35.68km counter-clockwise ride (sounds more impressive than 35km, and 36km would be exaggerating) that took us through nature reserves, touched on the Israel National Trail (Shviyl Yisrael), Einat, Elishema, much more, and "home".
Just 10 minutes into the ride, before we'd gone fully off road, still as a full group (wait for it!), we rode past a couple of families, playing at enjoying themselves, but probably waiting for Shivat Kochaviym to open. We certainly looked impressive and powerful, as a never ending line of enthusiastic smiles rode past them. Did they make a mental note to check bike prices on Sunday?
Yet the group of 27 didn't remain as 27; thankfully, not because of any undesirable drama.
On the contrary, we arrived at a small river (big stream?) and the route took us across it. About half were prepared to ride it, (everyone who tried, made it, albeit some with wetter, cleaner shoes), whereas the other half weren't. Perhaps some remembered reading about the seas parting "not too far from here" a few thousand years ago, but seems doesn't work for cyclists. So, with a now huge, gushing river (smallish stream) dividing us, our one big group became two.
On the same theme of "splitting up", our group, the "ocean crossers", was riding through dry aqueducts, with high sides. At on point, the easiest, fastest (and most macho) way to get from one side to the other was to ride down the steep side, across the bottom, and ride up the other steep side, carried by both momentum and pedal power. Once again, our subgroup split up into those who would and those who wouldn't. And before you think I'm judging, or criticizing, I am not!. Even though many had probably promised their partners that a condition of riding was to return home "in one piece", I can't help thinking that the reluctance to ride the water, or ride the aqueduct was simply because so many cyclists don't realise the capabilities of their bicycles and of themselves, and together with a little technical knowledge (when to sit back, when to sit forwards, when to fall and pretend not hurt), could rapidly take on new challenges, and do so safely, thereby enhancing the experience, photos, and real, accurate stories to tell the partner on return. ("... and after that, we rode through a sea where the crashing waves were at least 10 meters high".). I humbly suggest we invite an external, professional, bike teacher, to offer a "crash course" (not good wording, Stuart) Cyclenix cycling lesson, one Saturday, (or whenever), to help so many have so much more fun.
Lots of fresh air, smiles, a nice refreshment break in a cafe near Einat, a few wet shoes, 1 or 2 uneventful punctures, and home before lunch. Thanks to David for always preparing his GPS and leading us, so we don't need to even think where were going!
A large group of us set off on a fine and not too hot morning towards the port and beach of Herzliya. The building of Kvish 531 has meant a lot of our regular routes are no more. But the road that we take now instead is one of the bonuses of all the digging. So, we meandered along without mishap, crossing into the Herzliya park where we managed to anger some runners by riding on their path to get to the obstacle course. We completed the course (well, some of us did, while others looked on) and then went on towards Herzliya, crossing over the bridge at Cinema City. The gallant gentelmen carried some ladies' bikes up - now nice that the age of chivalry is not completely dead...
On to the Herzliya port and beach. It was still early, so some went out on the breakwater while a few of us waited in the shade - the temperature steadily rising. Merrill and I zoomed off home along the Thursday night route and through the fields next to Gan Rachel. I heard rumours that some were actually going to swim... So, what happened next - I cannot say. But I can say that it was a good ride with NO SAND (whopppeee) of around 30 km. To all our cyclenix riders:
Thank you to everyone who spends many hours of their time organizing the routes and making sure that we have a good time!
Sea, sun and sand are the ingredients of a million$ holiday, aren't they? Well, 14 of us gathered at Hof HaCarmel to enjoy a 23-and-a-bit km of just that: sea, sun and sand. Luckily, the latter wasn't too off-putting and some of the sandy parts were with the water lapping at our wheels.
We cycled southwards from Ein Hacarmel through Habonim, Ein Ayala to Nachsholim. We then cycled north along the beach joining a cliff path around Habonim. The views were marvellous and the sea breeze making the searing sun seem less hot. The sand was white and the sea was sparkling.
Our ride went smoothly - no mishaps except for what seemed like a puncture for Yvette. But Stuart (the 29er) to the rescue - he ably pumped up her tyre and that was that!
The bathing belles took to the water (as well at a beau or two) - we provided a good entertainment for the sunworshippers already ensconced for the day. Ted gave us some historical content of the area along the way - so the little grey cells were engaged as well as our muscles....
Oops! I nearly forgot another of the highlights of our ride. We visited the airstrip where the skydivers take off and land and were just in time to see a planeload of single and double landings. A real treat!
We stopped off at the Mall Zichron Aroma for refueling. A lovely ride, led by David with good company!
The hot weather didn't seem to put off anyone from coming on the ride this Shabbat.
A group of 19 started out just after seven on the familiar route northwards out of Raanana towards the industrial area and through the orange groves of Batzra to Bnei Zion. Up the hills and out to the nature reserve we turned eastwards up and down the hill,through the sand and then north where we once again went off road through the fields and finally reaching the railway bridge at Tel Itzhak.
From here we turned southwards along the side of the railway lines doubling back on ourselves. Turning westwards we headed on towards Yakum and out by Cafe Bono.
Up and over the bridge we went along the dusty trail towards Si Cafe. No one was tempted to stop here, remembering the better and worse times passed here. From here we rode up to the Shfayim center, out the back around by Har Suf and the water park, through the kibbutz and out by the nature statues. Picking up speed we zoomed down the hill, crossed the bridge and into Rishpon. The bikes nearly knew their own way home towards Raanana but a little twist at the end, we rode along the new road in the making and made it for coffee at Park Cafe by 10 o'clock for refreshments.
No punctures to be reported and not too much sand. Thanks to Gaby who bravely led us this week and didn't lose a rider! We covered just over 30 km's in all and once again, a good ride was enjoyed by all.
It could have been an uneventful local ride but several things do stand out.
Considering the heat and the time of year it was another good turn out for the local morning ride. Welcome to Kinga and Nir, two new riders who joined for the first time and a warm welcome back to Frederique who lately has been road riding more than off road.
Seventeen of us headed northwards out of Raanana towards the industrial area and out on the familiar route by the orange groves.
We reached Bazra and carried on through Bnei Zion eventually hitting the groves of Tel Itzhak.
A sharp turn left and up a steep incline caused quite a few of us to stop midway to gain our breath before carrying on to reach the top. From here we had a fast ride down, past the petrol station and through the fields to come out by the familiar bridge crossing of Tel Itzhak. Carrying on we rode a familiar route, sandier than the last time, making our way through Udim and stopping at the circle by Yakum to regroup. From here we rode through Yakum's orange and avocado groves and out along by the railway tracks. It was around here that the first puncture of the day delayed half of the riders, whilst David and Avi helped to fix Yossi's punctured tire.
By the time Yossi had caught up the "lone rider" waiting for them, it was here that I discovered that I also had a puncture. It was quickly dealt with by the capable hands of David and Avi. We continued on to find the leaders of the pack picking pasiflora at the famous "pasiflora junction" and from here we all moved on closer to Ranaana and the coffee that keeps us all going! Enjoying the food and the good service at the Park Cafe, I later found my tire was once again flat. An expert lesson by David and Ted on how to change it in less than 5 minutes left me thankful that I hadn't been on my own when this had happened! I am eternally grateful and hope that Ilan was listening and watching carefully! Another great ride, just over 33 km were covered.
See you all next week :)
August 6th 1983, just 38 years after the bombing of Hiroshima I made my grand entrance into the world! The youngest of three, I enjoyed a typical 80's Jewish South African childhood. I had a lovely protected childhood without any worries about reality? in 1992 my world crashed! We were told that we would be making Aliyah!! So, on Erev Pesach 1992 we arrived in Israel at my grandmother's house in Afula Ilit. I cried for about two weeks straight.
According to my mother I refused to say a word in Hebrew for three months till I could speak fluently and I have never stopped talking since. It was quite a culture shock coming from a private Jewish school where there was about one black child to a public school in Afula Ilit where we were only three white kids in the class. Questions like "did you live in a jungle?" or "do you know Michael Jackson?" were a regular routine. We lived in Afula for two years and I went to a religious school at that time. We then moved to Pardesiya, closer to Netanya where my father worked.
At this stage I gave my mother an ultimatum: "Either you send me to a secular school or I am not going to school anymore!" My mother knowing that I was always a strong willed person, and, also having shared the experience of being In a religious school against your will, sent me to a secular school. From leaving South Africa till now I was lost and in the wrong surroundings and this is where it all changed. I had great friends, whom I am still friends with till this day (borderline family) and at this stage I could also understand that my parent's decision to make Aliyah, was the best thing they could have done for me. From here it was all pretty much "by the book" finish middle school and high school and off to the army. I guess that the structures of school and the army are what kept me going by any book? whoever knows me, knows that I am anything but "by the book". I worked in a nursery school, and then moved on to working in a glasses shop (optician) where I started to find my path.
In 2005 my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and being the only child living at home I took it upon myself to go with her to doctors and treatments. It made my relationship with her flourish and become stronger than ever. She survived to hear the words cancer free but she was never really a healthy person, so we had many other doctor appointments to go to for the next few years. While my mother lived through pain and different problems I started doing my bachelor's degree in optometry. In 2010 I bought myself a? sticker? bike and started riding around Pardesiya. Once to twice a week about 4-8 kilometers was my routine. It gave me a release from studying and all the doctors' appointments at that time. In 2012, once again, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. This time it had spread. Though the doctors made us feel optimistic the cancer had other plans and within about three months from the diagnosis, my mother passed away.
In Tel Mond where I now lived on my own I couldn?t find a routine. At that point, Yvette who was my customer then, insisted I join Cyclenix for a ride. At a time when I was most in need, I found a family! Then and now I am constantly asked why I don?t ride with people my age. While I always give answers that one's brain can comprehend, it is mainly because Cyclenix for me is my "cheers".
Cheers theme song lyrics:
"Making your way in the world today takes everything you've got.
If you have any questions or want to get in touch for any reason, feel free to get in touch with David or John: