With spring long sprung and summer breathing increasingly hot and humid down the back of our necks, twenty five riders - bright eyed, fluffy tailed and in our prime (like Miss Jean Brodie) - congregated in the traditional hallowed meeting place: the parking lot in Ra'anana. Then after exchanging the mutual morning pleasantries and engaging in light banter, the Cyclenix Flying Phalanx swept out to reconquer the Sharon trails under the watchful eyes of Our Intrepid and Fearless Leader David, our Accomplished Tail End Sweeper Ted and Our Much Honoured Doyen John.
The route went to Bazra and onto Bnei Zion. From there we followed Nahal Poleg, climbing north to Tel Yitschak and Massua. We then wound our way to Udim, descended a steep path to stop in a pleasant glade for reassembly and a bit of a breather. Our next destination was the service station and café at Kibbutz Yakum - the traditional Saturday meeting place, amongst others, for very well off gentlemen to assemble and show off their expensive cars. Naturally, we Cyclenixes look down our noses at such conspicuous consumption and show of wealth! We most certainly don't agree with the saying: "It's easier to cry in a Ferrari than on a bicycle."
Saturday's ride was the customary mix of traversing gravel paths, winding through orchards, climbing a few uphill gradients with their following welcome downhill sweep and of course, meeting the occasional bane of all us all - having to dismount and trudge through thick sand. At one stage, we came to a short, very steep hill where most of us decided that discretion was the better part of valour, accordingly dismounted and pushed our steeds up the slope. Not for Michal! Undaunted, she decided for the sake of the show to give it a go while we chicken hearts watched in silent admiration. She gave a long run and almost made it to the top and for that she deserves a special honourable mention!
After lengthy deliberations at Yakum, it was decided to return to Ra'anana to end the morning with coffee and refreshments at the café adjacent to the park lake. As it was getting warm and the clock was close to eleven, the café was indeed a welcome and well eared oasis after a pleasant ride. Thus ended a typical Cyclenix Saturday ride: savouring the simple pleasure of getting on a bike, leaving the city behind and enjoying the sensation of riding in the countryside in the good company of like-minded and pleasant people.
Once more, a thank you to David for leading us and to Ted for being at the tail end and ensuring that everyone arrived safely.
Meeting Place and Time: Ra'anana parking lot; 7:00am
Participants: We started with 23 and ended with 17. Nothing sinister, just six riders who split off at the start to go on a shorter ride; two riders who left us in Ramat Ha'Hayal to return home via Hod Hasharon; and two more riders who decided to lengthen their ride in preparation for a cycling trip overseas.
Route: (Courtesy of Michal and David) We left Ra'anana and rode south through the fields around Givat Chen and Hod Hasharon, crossing Route 4. We joined the Yarkon River, continuing southwest along its banks (crossing Routes 5 and 4 again respectively) until we reached the Ramat Ha'Hayal neighborhood of Tel Aviv. From there we turned north past Kiryat Atidim and Nive Sharet, and headed back into the fields. We crossed Route 5 for the second time and rode into Ramat Hasharon, where we stopped for breakfast and a chat at the Assaf Artisanal coffee shop. From Ramat Hasharon we continued north to Herzliya and east back to Ra'anana.
Distance and Time: 30 kilometers
Miscellaneous: 1. We encountered a lot of sand at the beginning of the ride, but luckily it stayed where we left it.
2) The banks of the Yarkon river were extremely bumpy, especially for those without back and/or front suspension.
3) Michal was wearing a snazzy new riding outfit.
4) We crossed the highways either over bridges or under tunnels, not fleeing across six lanes hanging onto our helmets for dear life.
5) It started out very hot, gradually getting cooler and cooler. (Isn't that the wrong way round?)
6) Rafi and Haim were both back from vacations that sounded lovely.
7) John and Michal discovered with glee that removing letters 4-7 of the coffee shop name produces two indecent anatomy-related words.
8) I learned that a tip cannot be "nice", but it can be "generous".
9) Everyone got what they ordered and on time, so the Assaf Artisanal coffee shop has not yet been blacklisted.
10) Ted had an important announcement to make, which was that it's John's birthday on June 1st
Summary: It was another great ride under our belts, with perfect weather conditions, good company, and just enough comings and goings to polish our counting skills. Congratulations John - till 120!
Great Expectations: My thoughts at the start - great expectations of an interesting and different ride! Our last few rides in Ben Shemen had been more or less similar so I thought it was time for a change. Six years ago Ben Shemen Fundi, Herzl Ushah, led us on a "different" Ben Shemen ride (a great ride even without the watermelon which he so generously provided!). Dennis was on that ride and tracked the route with his GPS. My intention was to follow the same route.
How the Dickens Can We: All went well until we left Kerem Ben Shemen (what a beautiful little village - so much character). The GPS, as well as my memory, led us to the location where 6 years ago we had gone under Road 443 in order to make our way eastwards then southwards up to Tel Hadid, and then beyond. But despite all our efforts, there was no access to the underpass (which was frustratingly visible from where we were) thanks to a stout fence, healthy vegetation and an impassable drainage system between us and our objective. So after traversing the length and breadth of the area for some time/distance to find an alternative crossing, "retreat" was the only option.
Reality: Our "intended" route was about 23 km. As it turned out, we covered just on 22 km, which included a visit to the elusive (for us) Tel Hadid and a singles section (for those who dared not leave Ben Shemen without having done at least one!) . Its great biking country with something for everyone, and I guess all 17 of us had a taste of the pie, added to which near perfect weather conditions, and as usual great company! But I believe the "Herzl's Route" would have been better... I'll work on it!
As the years pass it is an inevitable reality that fewer and fewer of our regular Cyclenix riders would have
known the late Ronnie and participated in his rides. But it was these few of us who, after our regular
Home Patch ride today, made our way to the Landwer Coffee Shop in Ra'anana to join up with Ronnie's
family, closest "roadie" friends and riding companions to mark the 5th anniversary of his sudden and untimely passing.
Before Ronnie became a dedicated road rider he often participated in Cyclenix rides. His knowledge of off road trails was extensive and added a new dimension to our activities at that time by arranging and leading us on "away rides" throughout the length and breadth of Israel. In fact many of our current away rides have a strong basis in "Ronnie's Rides".
But Ronnie's impact on us went further, as Hilliard put it at this morning's get-together: Ronnie is fondly remembered in promoting a cycling culture of camaraderie and friendship, courtesy towards fellow cyclists, setting a good example to others, safety and adherence to the "rules of the road" whether onroad or offroad.
And In the words of Ronnie's brother Alon: "In the spirit of Ronnie, enjoy and ride carefully".
Back to our regular summer meeting time, 7:00 AM (G-d help us), a group of twenty something early birds hit the trails.
Down Ahuza into the fields, through Rishpon where John got a taste of his own medicine for a change, when I was quiet enough (that's a first) to rub my front tire with his back tire! It is quite sad the amount of pleasure that Frances and I got out of it and more the fear of retaliation for the rest of the ride.
At Shfayim ignoring the danger signs as usual, we climbed over the wooden fences, with the help our chivalrous men of the group. At our usual cliff we had a short stop with the always amazing view of the sea! Back on our bikes we rode to Hof Hashoron nature reserve where I discovered a cultural difference between American and South African English. If you grew up on American English and think you know what a wet willy is don't use that term near any South African... especially if they are over the age of 50, their faces of shock were priceless though!
Riding on towards Yakum it seemed that we had lost over half of the group but they found us quite easily. Some people go through paths of no return... on todays ride we did the rode that all returned!
Quite a few had to leave early at this point, but being the united group that we are (or cowards to scared to carry on without our fearless leader) in unison we all turned around to finish the ride together.
Thanks to an abandoned white frame we stopped for a quick photo opp and some political jokes.
Full speed ahead all the way to our finish line, some went home and the rest went to Landwer for a breakfast memorial for their dear friend Ronnie.
27 km's, the weather was hot but not too hot, all in all it was a great ride with great company!
25 of us gathered with quite a few faces we haven't seen in a while. We set off with the intention on missing mud and sandy bits - so David led us west and then through Gan Rachel, Herzeliya and along the coast where we turned east to return to Tapuz in the Herzeliya park for refreshments. The weather was perfect for cycling and we completed around 28 km in good company.
Excerpts from Go West (Pet Shop Boys) explains it all:
We will go our way
We will fly so high
In the open air
Where the skies are blue
There where the air is free
this is what we're gonna do, Go West
come on, come on, come on
And look at some of the views look at;
Today was almost a record!!! The ride started only 2 minutes after the scheduled starting time. We have on many occasions ridden this route, albeit that the sections we rode were put together is a different order.Ra'anana Industrial area, the fields of Batzra and Bnei Tzion, Udim, Yaqum, back to Ra'anana and to what has become our favourite "Breakfast" stop, Café Landwer in the industrial area of Ra'anana, where the service and the food are excellent.
The weather was hot, but not too hot. Sandy patches did confront us from time to time, but not too many of them. All in all it was a very pleasant ride, and the company was more than pleasant.
Three "highlights" of the ride were:
Meeting Place and Time: Moshav Elishema, 7:15am sharp (give or take twenty minutes).
Route: (Courtesy of David and Google Earth) We left kibbutz Elishema and headed south-west through the fields in parallel to Route 40. Crossing under Route 5, we continued past the Baptist Village towards the source of the Yarkon River. We rode along the river banks on the shady Israel National Trail, passing under the railway tracks and alongside Park Afek (on the wrong side of the fence) with its impressive fort. We then crossed Route 483 and headed south-west by Kibbutz Givat Hashlosha, eventually turning eastward towards Route 6. We continued east crossing both Route 6 and Route 444, gradually encountering the more rocky terrain of the Nachshonim Forest. We circled the forest from south to north on its eastern side, and from there started northwards again, passing Kibbutz Nachshonim to our east. We reached and rode through Kibbutz Einat (where we didn't stop for coffee), and then north next to Route 6 till our cars and the "Lula and Kuba Restaurant" in Hod Hasharon (where we did).
Distance: An impressive 37 km. And kudos to the people who cycled to the meeting point from Kfar Saba (Ingride, David and Rafi), Ra'anana (Anna) and Ramat Ha'Sharon (Dennis), and then back home again at the end.
Participants: 14 (with one minor fluctuation - details to follow).
Highlights, Lowlights and Miscellaneous: 1. There were a couple of shallow ponds to cross, the first of which proved extremely muddy. Two people decided against it and parted from the group, only to accidentally (but gladly, we hope) bump into us again later. 2. There was mention of a difficult climb, which we finally encountered at Nachshonim. However, despite the fact that it was indeed steep and very rocky, we all tackled it with relative ease. 3. People broke out into song here and there along the route. (And for those in doubt, this is a highlight.) 4. There were various sudden dips under roads and railway lines, but they just added to the spice. 5. Unfortunately Richard was not around this week to give us a guided tour of the Baptist Village. 6. There were lots of thistles. 7. The city of Antipatris was built by Herod the Great, in honor of his father. The fortress however is from the Ottoman period and was called Ras al-Ayn. Now, does that not have an uncanny resemblance to the nearby town of Rosh Ha'Ayin? (Yes, it does!) 8. Dates come in various genres - there are those that walk and talk; those that get you out of the house looking your best; those that frequent calendars and diaries; and those that grow on trees.
The ones offered around on the ride were of the kind that grows on trees!
Summary: It was an even-paced yet diverse ride in ideal weather conditions (i.e., cool and partly cloudy). There were no technical issues (just a passing biker borrowing a spanner), no lost or injured riders (just a couple of independent spirits), and most important of all, NO SAND!
Route: From Ra'anana down to the cliff-tops at Arsouf overlooking a calm sea
and clear coastline, then north through the Sharon Beach Nature Reserve,
through Kibbutz Ga'ash, to the southern boundary of Wingate, then back south
and over the Coastal Road to Yakum, past Europark, and back home via Café
Landwer in the Ra'anana Industrial Area for a refreshment stop.
Distance: 32 km
Participants: At the start 23, which gradually diminished to 9 by the time we reached Landwer, due mainly to family commitments (a short ride is better than no ride at all!) and the unseasonal heat (which continued to intensify as the ride progressed). Welcome to newcomers Ian, Yona and Dani. Hope to see each of you riding with Cyclenix again soon.
Riding Conditions: Warm at first, then hot, then very hot!!
Sandy? - no more, no less than one would expect at this time of the year.
Wind - Contrary to Murphy's Law, the northerly wind began to strengthen significantly towards our turn southward at Wingate, so we enjoyed some "tail" relief all the way back.
Bottom Line: Enjoyable ride over a familiar route, topped with the usual ingredient of Good Company!
History: 52 weeks ago (on 20 April 2013 to be exact) the heavens opened their sluice-gates as we were nearing the end of a Home Patch ride and it was an "each to his own" scramble to escape the wet (which of course nobody did!!). As Rafi, Ingride and I were making our way back to Kfar Saba we stopped to investigate a weak and rather pathetic "meeeoooowwww"-ing at the side of our path. The rescue operation was swift. Rafi stuffed this frightened rain-soaked kitten into his rain jacket and we rode on homewards. So for one tiny creature it was the start of a "heaven on earth" life with the Landsman Family. And what did Rafi and Nava call this now 1 year old feline? GESHEM of course!!!!!
If you have any questions or want to get in touch for any reason, feel free to get in touch with David or John: