The annual Kinneret Ride took place and some of us were there. Report coming soon hopefully, meanwhile, here are some images from the ride.
Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer true,
I'm all crazy all for the love of you,
It won't be a stylish marriage;
I can't afford a carriage,
But you look sweet upon the seat
Of a bicycle made with full carbon fiber frame / dual suspension / full XTR / tubeless tires / Fox shocks / disc brakes etc. etc.
(This modern version of the classic song updated by Shimanus Rockshox in honour of Sasha's birthday today)
'Twas 7.30 in the morning when the group of approximately fourteen Cyclenix Flying Foxes congregated in our hallowed assembly ground in Raanana. Ably led by our birthday boy, under the eagle eye of Big John and with our ever caring Ted as sweeper, we roared up the hill to the park, crossed the road and hit the dirt track on our way to Rishpon. Unfortunately, in our absence, the road works authority had inconsiderately continued constructing the highway with the result that we were forced to clamber through a series of deep muddy ditches before reaching the railway line.
Undaunted by this obstacle course, we arrived at the railroad crossing and continued northwards parallel to the tracks. The previous sunny days had not succeeded in drying up all the muddy patches and there were a few along the way which we easily managed to bypass. Our Frances, being an adventurous and enterprising soul (not like the rest of us fuddie - duddies!) was particularly attracted to a long watery one and decided to try her hand at mud larking. Unfortunately, waterlogged clayey soil can be a formidable opponent and a short time after ploughing into the puddle, she quickly and literally became a real stick in the mud. Our Council of Cycling Sages (John and Ted) came to her rescue: helped extricate her and after lengthy and deep deliberations, solved her bike's mechanical problems.
Apart from a muddy culvert to cross, the rest of the way was uneventful. There, the more enterprising ones among us got their feet wet while we chicken hearts preferred to climb up and walk on the railway bridge - taking care to stay on the right side of the tracks!
November is a great month for off - road. The weather is still moderate and balmy and the rains have dampened, tamped down and made passable many sandy stretches that were only walkable a month or two previously. Even mud patches are still small enough to circumvent. In the cool morning air with the sun warming your back, it is impossible not to feel the joy of being alive and feeling blessed and grateful for the privileged experience of enjoying nature whilst riding in good company.
Crossing over eastwards over a railway bridge, our group transversed citrus and persimmon orchards and climbed up a hill, passing an educational institution and a petrol station along the way. Briefly stopping at the top under twin mobile phone towers for a short breather and to collect the stragglers, we admired the vista and also managed to get a short dose of micro wave radiation. From then on, there was a series of lovely sweeping down hills on dirt tracks mostly running between hothouses. We continued until a kilometer or two behind the Sharon prison, forgoing the privilege of visiting a politician sitting there. Turning southwards, the tarred road to Bnei Zion was long and monotonous and soon thankfully gave way to the final stretch through the orchards on a sandy track that terminated close behind the Renanin Mall. It was but a short hop to Café Landwehr where a small group of us willfully wended our way (kindly note the intentional use of alliteration!) for breakfast, coffee, socializing and schmoozing; a pleasing and appropriate ending to a most pleasant morning's ride! Once more, thanks to Sasha for leading us and to Ted for always being there to make sure that nobody got lost.
A time of new and renewal is reflected in today's ride. A couple of riders arrived with new (second-hand purchased) bikes namely Dina and Yochi who displayed their new "steeds" and Talya, on her borrowed Stumpjumper. It really was a "something new and something borrowed" kind of ride. But it was also a renewal ride as we renewed our previous encounters with John's favorite terrain... MUD! David was hell bent to ride the Yarkon so we all followed in earnest. John, feeling off colour , took off even before we hit brown mud. With more delay we roamed suburban Hod Hasharon in search of the path to the holy grail of mud!. Regrettably we did locate the trail and already at the outset it was there as an omen which we ignored!!!!!!!!!!BEWARE! MUD UP AHEAD as small patches came into view. Talya's bike breakdowns only helped to stall the inevitable encounter with the dreaded mud and as we finally hit the Yarkon trail it was everywhere and gathering momentum. David at some point was heard to call it a MUD-HIM ride. MUD I know but who is HIM? Mudhim it was, as we retreated back to dry ground of HH only to meet up with another obstacle. The seasonal Hikers of Hod Hasharon event was on, with the local myriads out for a stroll, whom David did manage to quickly circumvent. To appease the masses he led us uphill to the lofty heights of the former HH rubbish tip, now a great lookout point. We reached the top for a magnificent view of a perfect Autumn day. The mud, now forgotten, was replaced by oohs and ahs and a memorial photo was shot to mark the historic return to the lofty point. Yes, another renewal after a decade and a reminder that it's worth mounting more often. At some point on our return home, Yona took the reins and steered us to a new watering hole in HH. The gallery photos tell the story but unless you look for it, there's little mud to be seen! Did I dream a dream or was it a Mudhim ride in fact? Talya won the prize of most muddied rider "hands down". Or should I say "feet up". Going by the state of her shoes it was the latter.
A wonderful ride as usual with moments of drama and amazing weather. If you think this is muddy just think... we have three months of rain up ahead! Rumour has it that David is plotting another Yarkon winter ride so don't rush to clean your bikes just yet!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Two south Africans, a Hungarian, a Brit and a nut job meet up at 07:30 am...
The weather forecast promised storms that would be appropriate for the Mayans predictions of December 2012... All suited up with rain coats we rode off to the unknown.
It didn't take long to realize that the raincoats were kind of useless and those who were scared of the rain missed out on a great ride.
The route was quite routine but the company had a different vibe than usual... A bag of worms was open when I decided to quote Bibi's new nickname (chicken sh** for those who don't listen to the news). The rest of the ride had become a political one with John continuing endlessly as only he can on the subject. A little break from politics was due to David, who stopped a random kid and his mother as he noticed that the child's tire needed air. A job and a mitzvah well done and we were back on our bikes just to find some graffiti to ignite John back to BIbi...
My ADD and the lack of trees had me staring at the skies, mesmerized by mother nature and the amazing cloud formation.
A few puddles, on the way near cinema city, if puddles is the correct term for the water reaching just above our pedals... At this point i noticed that John had caught some "sea weed" on his chain. Talia rode ahead to tell David and Anna to stop and wait while we treated his bike. We did not smoke the weed but were "high" for most of the ride so who knows...
Up the stairs over the bridge and down the other side to discover that Bar Refaeli, a constant at this place, has moved, leaving some advertising space for whoever is interested.
Anna leading us to a new path taking us to the view of Herzelia beach from above, where John brought politics back to the table as he took a photo of some "big pricks".
For the rest of our ride John and i were yanking Talia's chains, figuratively, not literally for a change all the way to breakfast and a bit after...
At this point the clouds started to shift, making us think that we might actually see the wrath that was promised. I personally felt like we were in a scene from "Twister" looking straight into the black clouds thinking that no storm is too strong for our crew...
A great breakfast at "Tapuz", only after a few raindrops made us move inside...
The vibe was cynical and whimsical... So much fun for a ride that was supposed to be wet and challenging.
To all the lazy bums and scaredy cats who stayed in bed, you really did miss out on a fun ride!
BEN SHEMEN FOREST - At 06:45 on a Saturday morning, the main Tel-Aviv / Jerusalem highway, is populated mainly with cars with bicycles attached from both above and behind. Best to keep your distance from anyone else, as they return from the all night parties I wasn't invited to.
As the sun peeped through the Jerusalem hills, 90% of the cars indicated right, towards Ben Shemen Forest, famous for its singles; the type of singles that have nothing to do with marital status, nor with all the all night parties. Five minutes later, we arrived at one of Israel's largest display of empty, lonely bicycle carriers, with hundreds of cars already squeezed in between the trees.
Everything related to bikes, and more, was on sale, whilst dozens of cyclists oiled their chains and optimized their tyre pressure, in preparation for the unknown challenges ahead.
Now neatly parked, 10 of us pedaled off into the forest. It's 7:30am, and the first downhill was a rapid reminder that the sun still hadn't blessed the forest with its warm rays. As the words "wind chill factor" came to mind, I admit wishing for a short break. Didn't need to wait long. On the first uphill, the chain snapped on one of the guy's bikes, and 3 bike surgeons, predictably led by David, our leader, put Humpty Dumpty back together again.
It wasn't too long before the individual chain links became a functional chain again, the sun was up, and the real cycling began.
There are a couple of reasons why hundreds of cyclists flood to Ben Shemen Forest every Saturday. Firstly, there's the macho brigade, wearing full (cycling) body armour, attacking, or being attacked by, the singles. And then there's us. Enjoying a "respectable" 20km of "medium" ups and downs, including a couple of challenging, yet non-suicidal singles, whilst enjoying some breathtaking scenery.
15km into the ride, we found a "picnic" type spot, ideal for refreshments and deep discussions as to whether or no "Radio Days" really was Woody Allen's best film. Yet even a short rest has its price; in this case measured in reduced concentration. With our wheels once again rotating, and with my right hand bus" off handle bars", when I needed to brake, contrary to experience and education, I squeezed only the left brake lever. I knew it was an error well before I went over the handlebars, but the brain refused to authorize the hand to release, turning me into an instant circus act for all to see. With the bike seemingly OK, one of the group reminded me to check my body, too. Oh, yeah!
It wasn't long before we rode into the buzzing car park area, wher" war stories" of the last hours were being exchanged by the masses, and where the lonely bike carriers were re-populated with their best friends. The bike cleaning service, which, with the help of soap, water, oil and a toothbrush, returned the bikes to their pre-7am glory seemed very popular. I spoke to th" dentist"; only NIS 30 for a full bike make-over. Next time.
What an excellent morning! What did you do today?
...14 of us pitched up for our weekly ride. It wouldn't be a Cyclenix ride without my bike needing attention...(or myself that is)! A cry out to David, our faithful leader and handyman, who as always solved the problem.
Off we went out of Ra'anana toward Kfar Shmaryahu, trying new paths, looking for a way to Arsuf. As usual a short refreshing stop for all our senses... high up above, from the sandy cliff, is the most amazing view of the Mediterranean sea, and of some people camping and fishing below. Sitting on the edge of the cliff, inhaling the fresh sea air and enjoying a few laughs and of course photos taken for our web site.
Recharged and back on our bikes riding...skirting Hof Hasharon Nature Reserve, we headed toward Gaash and Yakum. At our usual water stop at Café Buono Yakum, once again the Harley Davidson gang also had their stop. I personally was admiring their bikes while riding through the mass of bikes. At this point some decided to take the shorter way home, some took that path and returned to find the majority who stuck with the long way. Seemed to me that some paths were new and some were known, but just done backwards for a change.
The weather was great except for the head wind that loves joining us for the end of our rides. The ride wasn't hard, but was longer than usual, and the company, as usual always great!
For breakfast we went to Landwers, where the service and food has not yet failed! Although my Endomondo only tracked 28 km's I was told that we did over 35 km's.
About 15 of us gathered at exactly 7:15 in Elishema for another Saturday ride. After the early morning
schmooze we had finally decided to move on, around quarter to eight. Michal showed up with a new
bike for a trial ride. Even if she had some problems with it and our expert checked on it several times
the ride was much easier for her than on her old bike.
We took our familiar route with a few new twists led by our great leader and expert. John specially enjoyed some of the sections that he didn't do with us previously. The weather was wonderful not too hot and not much sun, just right for riding. I myself was most surprised with the energy that I had during the ride. I even managed to ride up the hill at Nahshonim with a break in the middle catching up with Merill and waiting for the rest.
At kibbutz Einat we were deserted by four of our members who opted to go straight home. The rest of us had a lovely time at our usual resting place, refilled ourselves with drinks and beverages, and I must mention, excellent service. On the way back I managed to get dirty passing through puddles and towards the end of our ride I fell in one as well.
While we were waiting for Ingrid I was saved by Ted washing the dirt off my arm with to the last drop of the water he had. I hope he got home safely and didn't dehydrate. Well, about Ingrid. On our way we saw a nice little dog wondering around. Ingrid decided that the dog is abandoned so she picked it up. However the doggy wanted to walk so she was walking slowly with the dog. (See picture) Thalia and I gave up waiting for them and rode back to Elishema. I carried on riding home thanking but refusing Ted's offer to take me home. Just between us I wouldn't and couldn't sit anyone's car after my last fall. Anyway the weather was good to carry on with the ride. Oh, Ingrid I just remembered that forgot to take the shirt, next time... Thanks anyway.
All energetic to start off the new year with a great ride, about 20 of us pitched up at our usual spot. A couple of new faces (for me at least), a couple of old timers, who join once in a while and almost all the special regulars ready to begin the new year on the right foot.
What started off as quite usual, from Raanana into the fields, Bazra, Bnei Tsiyon somewhere on the way we took a turn to a path that we have previously been on with not so fond memories. To our pleasant surprise the sandy sand that was once there had been blown away leaving a nice path to ride. A string caught in Davids bike, a not serious fall by Dana making sure to have black and blues for her sons wedding, a bit of a challenging end, an always expectable prank by John and surprisingly all dare to take on the singles and not going around them, never a dull ride! Udim, Yakum, Rishpon and back to Raanana, all just names of places where we hit the trails.
The blue sky above, refreshing clean air of the country side, the birds chirping, strangers out walking themselves or their dogs at the early morn and of course my favorite the trees! the weather was in our favor, not too hot with a nice breeze. The company never fails, making sure that the ride will be great, with good discussions, occasional chit chat and a lot of laughs.
These are all my reasons for being mad enough to get out of bed at the crack of dawn, on the only day you can sleep in. These are the reasons for my oh so questionable sanity!
To the lazy ones who ditched today (you know who you are) you will be forgiven since yom kippur is ahead of us... but do not do it again!
All in all it was a perfect start for the new year, a glance to a great year ahead of us. May we all have a great year! a year full of riding and friends!
Shana Tova and well over the fast.
Well, this is the last ride report that will be published this year! For those who preferred to ride an easier ride and nearer home, 8 of us met at our usual meeting place. It was great to see Merrill back with us after her successful knee surgery, and to enjoy the company her and Megan after too long as absence.
We headed off towards Rishpon, travelling along Weitzman and taking the route via Lev HaPark. At the Rishpon level crossing we headed North along the Eastern side of the Tel Aviv - Haifa railway line stopping after about300 metres to render "first aid" to a fellow biker who needed an inner tube with a French valve. Thank goodness for Merrill's presence as she had what was required. A quick exchange of a few words between our group and the group with "the puncture" and we were off heading North. The construction of Road 531 is taking its toll of many of the paths that we used to ride. The latest casualty is the disappearance of the lovely small eucalyptus grove just to the South of the Shfayim railway siding. Boo hoo!
From there we made our way towards Yaqum and followed a route that we have traversed often in the past.
The weather was perfect., not too hot and on one or two occasions even a few drops of rain. The avacados have made their appearance much to Merrill's and Megan's delight.
Our breakfast stop was at Landwers where we met up with Stuart and his new "Rolls Royce" of a bike... the top of the line Specialised. All I can say is "WOW!...what a bike." We wish him many hours of happy and safe riding. Breakfast, was, as usual, great, and having satisfied our thirst and hunger we headed for home.
Another very 30km+ ride with a bunch of happy people had come to an end. See you all next year and I wish you all a very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.
Starting at Bat-Shlomo, a village established back in 1889, we headed down the slippery slope to Nachal Daliah for a well-photographed crossing of its
mighty waters. We proceeded along Nachal Menashe and then started to climb, eventually reaching the highest point of the ride, Ramot Menashe, a relative newcomer to the scene from just 1948. While passing beneath the high-flying (and quite new) bridge of Kvish 6 we encountered a fast-moving group of cross-country bike racers led by an even faster motorbike. Now fast really means fast, a bit like mother duck and her little brood of ducklings, but on steroids. There were several other groups of racers in the area, meaning that the more leisurely-inclined (see below), such as ourselves, were kept busy staying out of harm's way. Then back under another of the bridges along Kvish 6 and a fun downhill to a field of vines laden with sweet, purple grapes; regrettably, those who like their grapes chilled did not get satisfaction. Past another field of brightly-colored but unavailable pomegranates, then along Nachal Taninim all the way to Amikam, founded in 1950 by refugees from China (I didn't know that, did you?). Somewhat disappointing not to see any crocs or gators in this eponymous stream, but perhaps not unexpected since there did not appear to be any water there either. The next stage was uphill to Har Horshan, followed by a fast descent down the weathered rocky slopes of its south-western flank, and back to our starting point, with a short steep climb for the finale. Some of us gathered at a nearby cafe for a little late-morning refreshment.
A fine ride in ideal weather, led, as always, by the Fearless Leader. Ride distance was 22 km, with 300 m climbed (so it really wasn't so leisurely), and an average speed of 11 km/hr.
A most excellent Shana Tova to everybody (today's participants - some regular, some long lost but now found - may identify themselves in the photos), and see you back on your wheels next year.
If you have any questions or want to get in touch for any reason, feel free to get in touch with David or John: