Eleven riders pitched up for the last ride before Passover. "Welcome back" David from your Australian adventure. It's good to have you back!
We did a shortened "Home Patch" along a route that we have ridden often, leaving out the Yaqum- Udim loop and stopping early at our usual breakfast stop at Gaash. More than our fair share of sandy paths had to be traversed on foot and we also had a strong wind to contend with, but, notwithstanding, we all enjoyed the ride and the breakfast stop. The total distance covered was 24 kms.
I want to take this opportunity of wishing you all a very HAPPY PESACH.
Outing on a Summer's Day
A large crowd turned up to ride today - probably all glad to be out after the heat and dust of Friday. Welcome to the faces we haven't seen in a while.
We went more-or-less on the same route as last week (without sweating up the Ra'anana rubbish dump) - very good as there is little sand or mud. There are parts that are rather like a mini-Be'eri - tractors have made tracks in the mud that have hardened. So, for those of us that like the thrills, it was fun. Pity it was just a short track!
I took a tumble along the railway line immediately after I told a stranger that riding with his helmet untied is dangerous. So, blood spurted and I got my just desserts for interfering. Dina had an unintended, elegant sitting-down-on-the rocks in sympathy. John put his antiseptic cream to good use and I am feeling sorry for myself now...
But, look on the bright side. Cliff Richard is coming here in July and that made me think that we are actually lucky to have such a lovely day for a ride - like being on a Summer Holiday:
We're going where the sun shines brightlyWe stopped off at our usual watering hole where the waiter is getting ruder each time we come! This time he told us if we were more organized we would get our order more quickly. He may be right, but he shouldn't say it!! We had a lovely ride of 33 km in excellent weather conditions and as usual, in good company.
We're going where the sea is blue
We've all seen it on the movies
Now let's see if it's true
Well, this Saturday's ride was definitely special and one to be remembered! The group was small this time, Dina, Ingrid, Frances, Yvette, John, Ilan, Sasha and Uri. We headed out north westwards towards Kfar Nachman. From there we quickly reached the "Har Hazevel" and were gently persuaded to ascend. Smoke was seen from the back wheel of Ilan's new epic carbon bike as he raced to the top and we all enjoyed the stunning view of the Sharon while regaining our breath. We rapidly descended and bearing west we rode through the fields coming out by the railway lines. Continuing northwards parallel to the railway lines we quickly came to the crossing before Kibbutz Yakum. We continued on only to find our way blocked by an enormous puddle, causing us to return and cross under the bridge. We stayed close to the lines, passed the puddle, crossed back over and continued up the hill towards Tel Yitzhak. We arrived at the bridge and found 3 cyclists, one lying on his back and feeling rather the worse for wear. After assisting him with refreshments and instructions to ride no further we carried onto towards Udim. Passing through the beginning of a "trance party" we declined to stay and headed down our usual path only to come across an un-crossable "lake". Even the horse on the other side declined to cross. We headed back and found an alternative route, through Udim we then stopped for the loo and a quick glance at the horses and the MGA sports car. Heading on, we soon came to Si café where we were met by Ted for well-earned refreshments. It was here that Frances whipped out a packet of chocolate biscuits and surprised us all by calmly announcing that after 12 years she and Jules had finally tied the knot! She told us the story of how they went to Cyprus back in January and were married. Those of you that missed this will have to ask her to repeat the story. Congratulations to the both of you, Frances and Jules, we are now waiting for the garden party! From here we continued homewards towards Raanana, having enjoyed 35km of pleasant company, good riding weather and a wonderful home patch ride. I am now adjusting to my new safire bike (a fact that was previously omitted).
We all wish David and Ingrid mazal tov on the birth of their newest grandson in Australia, Benjamin Max. Hurry home David, you are missed by us all. A speedy recovery to Rafi for his cycling injury, sustained on the Friday ride with Gaby and we hope to have Ted rejoin us on the next ride whose absence has also been felt on the recent rides.
Last Friday, Gabi organised a ride down South and here is his report:
On Friday March 8th, 6 of us braved the very early morning hours and set off for Zeelim. Having arrived in Reim within 1 hour, we left one car there, piled into the other two and continued to Zeelim, where the ride began.
Right at the start we missed the regular entrance to the path, and fell on top of a long section of difficult, winding and in some places quite dangerous single track. Later we found out it was the "etgari" section, and there exists also a regular one paralleling it. Having survived it, some riding and some by walking part of the sections, we arrived at the famous "Ropes Bridge" - "Gesher Hachavalim" where we walked across and back, just for the fun of it. From there the path was very clearly marked all the way to the destination, some 34 kms from the beginning.
In spite of a quite dramatic and acrobatic fall which one of the riders took, and which transformed his appearance to resemble a battle-injured pirate, we continued relentlessly onward and all 6 made it in one piece to Reim. From there 3 drivers took the left-behind car, drove to Zeelim and returned with all 3 cars to Reim. Logistically speaking, it was a bit of an operation. But well worth it...
As to the track: it is every lunapark-lover's wet dream. The path runs more or less alongside the Bsor river, and is a narrow single-track in 95% of its length. Although there exists a more conventional 4x4 path running more or less in parallel. There is an endless sequence of downs and ups, twists and turns, and all of it is flowing, no rocks or sandy sections to interrupt the continuous motion. We could not hope for anything better. The Negev is still lush with vegetation, including patches of poppies (kalaniot) although they are obviously tired already. The path is hard and not sandy, the landscape is vintage Negev, and every turn is beautifully marked by directional arrows pointing the way.
All in all, it was a remarkable ride, although it was definitely not easy and also quite tiring. I would rate it medium in physical difficulty and medium technically. Not something resembling our customary Saturday morning rides. But for lovers of the adventure, it is a magical route. I plan to do it again in two weeks.
The route was one that we have done many times so I wont bore you with a description save to say that we had great weather and that the Black Irises are now in bloom and if you visit the Sharon Coast Nature reserve within the next week or so you will have an opportunity of seeing this very rare flower. The area of the nature reserve is one of the few places in the world that this flower grows.
The photos of the ride show the flowers and you can also get an idea of the scenery in the area of our ride.
All who participated had a great time and the company and the breakfast stop was great.
The weather forecast for the ride was "Rain and strong winds". At 5.55am I looked out the window and there was no rain or wind although the sky did look threatening and 5 minutes before I left, the rain started. Five minutes later, however, it stopped and I rode to the meeting point in perfect cycling weather where I met eleven other stalwarts and off we went on a route that we had traveled many times before. There were a few new views on this oft traveled route, namely some little and some bigger lakes that had not been there a few weeks ago. (see the photos). On a few occasions we had to backtrack due to pools and mud that not even I was prepared to try and cross. On our return trip, a strong headwind came up making the last few kilometres of the ride a lot more difficult than the first three quarters. Eventually we ended back at "Central Café" at the Ra'anana Park. Good food and good service brought another +/-34 kilometre ride to a happy end.
Another of those delightful Cyclenix rides on Saturday 9 February
Drove in convoy along the coastal road, passed Ashdod, turning before Kiryat Malachi into Arugot (garden beds), an agricultural settlement established in 1949 by immigrants from Poland and Romania, containing an ancient Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age settlement Tel et Turmus.
Our 12 riders ride headed eastwards, seeing evidence of the recent saturating rains. We rode though peach groves in full pink and also in white blossom, the rich half-meter high wheat fields, alfalfa, humus and grape vines. The hilly area included olive trees reminding us of pastural Tuscany here our own Israel.
Through a muddy tunnel under the railway line to Be'er Sheva and highway #6 to a hill, the highest in the area, commanding a superb view of the coastal towns of Ashkelon, Ashdod, including Rehovot, Kiryat Malachi, Be'er Tuvia and Kiryat Gat. Also we could observe the kibbutzim/moshavim/kibbutzim of Kfar Menachem (Ussishkin) Gal-on, Yinon, Beit Nir, Luzit, Nahalah, Kedma and Timorim.
The ride was not for the timid, as most of the first 11 kilometers was uphill to the observation hill near Tel Zafit, then a enjoyable downhill sweep back to Arugot, totaling 30 kilometers. Our two relatively new female members were real contestants, never complaining and completing the ride - well done ladies.
The ride ended at the home of Tami and Eyal, daughter and son-in-law of Ted and Dina Silverman, who prepared coffee, tea, light drinks, and various cakes for all of us. Thank you very much for the hospitality, and to Eyal for his superb steermanship during the ride.
The History of this immediate region - Biblical
The ancient overland trade route from the Mediterranean to Mesopotamia passes through this area (not parallel and close to the sea as it is too sandy and swampy). The modern highway #6 follows this route.
The Philistine town of Gat "The Philistines assembled their camps for war...(they) were standing on the mountain on one side and Israel was standing on the other side, and the valley was between them. Goliath of Gat, his height six cubits and one span. He had a copper helmet on his head, and was wearing armor of mail; the weight of the armor was five thousand shekels. He had a copper shield on his legs and a copper neck-guard between his shoulders. The shaft of his spear was like a weaver beam and the blade of his spear weigh six hundred iron shekels." (I Samuel 17:1-7).
Tel Zafit (Blanchegarde), a Crusader administrative center is constructed in 1142 by King Fulk to control the road from Ashkelon to Ramle. The fortress is captured by Salah a-Din in 1187, recaptured by the Crusaders in 1192, to be captured again and destroyed by the Mamluks in 1244 who also capture Ashkelon in 1247.
War of Independence.
The Egyptian Army is unhindered by the British before they leave Palestine in 1948, invades Israel from Gaza heading along the coast . The Egyptians are defeated at Asdor (Ashdod- Ad-Halom) and at Jerusalem where they were stopped at Ramat Rachel. The Egyptian Army withdraws to the Faluga Salient in the modern Kiryat Gat-Ashkelon area.
In 'Operation Death to the Invader' the Negev Brigade cuts through Egyptian lines, surround Majdal (Ashkelon), creating a corridor, isolating the Faluga Salient and Beit Guvrin from the sea.
At Gal-on the IDF uses one of the two tanks in its possession, stolen from the British. The tank moves forwards towards the Egyptian lines, breaking down after only about 100 meters. The brigade was called armored for moral reasons, although in reality it only had a single tank company (later in the war, two companies), and a single APC company (these companies became the brigade's armored battalion), and an assault battalion composed of jeeps.
Before the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 this area was barren scrub, with very limited developed agriculture as the annual rainfall is only about 200mm a year. New Development towns are established at Kiryat Malachi and Kiryat Gat (steel, HiTech-Intel, etc), together with many kibbutzim and moshavim.
The construction of Highway #6 has encouraged regional economic development and subsequent resident construction in this area. Be'er Tuvia, a 1st Immigration village from 1887, attacked during the Arab riots in 1929, abandoned, reestablished in 1930, together with all the villages in this area has grown enormously in the passed decade, boasting many industrial zones creating job opportunities.
Not quite Singin' in the rain....
Twelve stalwarts gathered to set off under what looked like threatening black clouds. Luckily for us, they dissipated and it turned out to be a great cycling day. Lots of cyclists were out and about, all trying to avoid too much water and mud. We were led along with a few muddy dead ends - can't fault us for trying....
We whizzed through Gan Rachel to the Herzelia park and on to the Herzeliya beachfront. From there we headed back through Ramat Hasharon. On the way we saw the blue sea and some wild waves and the best, a car half submerged in water. Now how do you explain that to your wife/husband/mother/father??
We stopped off at a cafe in Ramat Hashron where we fueled our tanks - very good coffee and accompaniments. We headed off home having cycled some 34 km in good company, as always.
What a glorious feelin'
I'm happy again
I'm laughing at clouds
So dark up above
(from Singin in the Rain)
There was an expression used in England "Join the army and see the world".
In our case "Join Cyclenix and see Israel". Cycling is faster than walking.
The Cyclenix home trials are always fun as the vegetation changes with the season as our expert tracker David Lewis can always find a new trail. The 'Away Rides' take us around the country to smell the soil, breath fresh air, bounce along sandy or rocky trails and above all have fun, with the happy, cheerful, friendly and helpful riders.
Saturday 26 January was one of those wonderful winter days. Bright blue sky, with little wind combing a perfect cycling temperature of around 20 degrees. The heavy rains from the previous fortnight left a few puddles just awaiting one of Cyclenix technically experienced rider's to explore with alacrity its depth and muddy floor.
We began at Ein Carmel, a kibbutz founded in 1947 which to today has banana plantations, hot houses growing peppers, B+B facilities and developed a residential area for young families to acquire a smallish house and garden at a reasonable price. We rode passed an ancient reservoir carved into a sand-stone mound, able to provide water for the fields in the Carmel Plain from the coast to the Carmel mountains.
Moshav Habonim, founded in 1948 by South African members of the Habonim Youth Movement boasts a Crusader Fortress constructed over Arab ruins to defend the norther approach to the port at Dor and perhaps the coastal road. Ruins of the walls and towers are easily seen both from the #2 highway and of course by us the cyclists entering the settlement.
Here too, a residential area had been constructed affording a magnificent view of the fields and Mediterranean Sea. Just think of siting like King Herod did 2000 years ago in his royal place at Caesarea drinking wine as the sun sets over the Mediterranean Sea!!! (obviously after a cycle ride and not as a intermediary pit-stop).
Our route then passed many fish ponds where Israel farms fresh water fish, and incidentally in this area also sea-water fish in cages out in the sea.
We approached Nachsholim from the north-east, suddenly entering the crescent-shaped beach, one of the finest in the country. There are four small-rocky islands off-shore forming a lagoon. Nachsholim is founded in 1948 on the abandoned village of Tantura. The kibbutz has clean B+B facilities looking over the beach, agricultural land (bananas), a factory producing plastic netting and rope.
This area previous is the site of Baron de Rothschild's glass factory, managed by Meir Dizengoff, the future first mayor of Tel Aviv. The purpose of the glass factory was to produce glass wine bottles of the infant winery in Zichron Ya'akov. Unfortunately the color of the local sand is not suitable to market wine and the facility closed after a few years. The kibbutz also houses a Nautical Museum, displaying the items found from nautical archaeology. It is here that Napoleon's army fled after their defeat in Acre, and disease at Stella Maris (Haifa), to French naval vessels off the coast. Many of these unfortunate soldiers dropped their weapons in the sea as they feared the extra weigh would cause then to drown - just waiting for the modern day scuba diver to have an exciting find, recovering stone anchors, cannons, rifles, daggers, and swords.
Dor is mentioned in ancient Egyptian papyrus and later during the Biblical Period. Joshua conquers "the districts of Dor in the west " (Joshua 11:2). Over the cliff on the norther side is the site of the ancient Phoenician port of Dor or Dora, a Greek port, later to be conquered by the Hashmonean king, Alexander Yannai. "The whole sea-board from Dora to Joppa, midway between which the city lies was without a harbor, so that vessels bound for Egypt... had to ride at anchor in the open when menaced by the south-west wind." (Josephus Flavius).
We could see evidence of the jetty and part of the town that has been excavated under the auspices of the Israel Antiquities Authority. Remains include the ancient port and jetty, burial caves, Hellenic temple, Purple Dye making complex (from the local murex sea snail), Roman theater (northern bay), Byzantine church with paved mosaics, a Crusader fortress, city wall and a mosque. Today it is a Nature Reserve.
Our return journey was ever so pleasant riding along the beach, astride rich green wheat fields with many poppies waving as we rode passed. It was very worthwhile for all the 17 participants.
Just wait, its Be'eri famous for the expanse of natural poppies in the north-west Negev in a few weeks time.
So what took us so long to finish a "routine" home patch ride? In my previous life as an executive I was required to analyze occasionally how I spent my time in an average day so I conducted a time analyses on what were the extras on this particular ride
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: