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
Six of us gathered to cycle in the welcome sunshine after all the wild weather we have been experiencing. The NINNIES stayed at home and missed a water- and mud-filled day! Some of the excuses: sick (naaah!), swollen fingers and visiting son in the army (come ON! ) and the best, lock on the shed jammed and couldn't get the bike out (yea - and the dog ate my homework!!).
The first evidence of the devastation the heavy rain caused was a huge donga (ditch for those not from the southern hemisphere) as we started our ride. We had to make a muddy detour in the pardesim - see the results of the glue-like mud on our bikes and shoes. We trundled along, spraying mud as we went. It made me think of the chorus of the Flanders and Swann Hippopotamus song:
Mud, mud, glorious mud
Nothing quite like it for cooling the blood
So follow me follow, down to the hollow
And there let me wallow in glorious mud
We did resist and tried to avoid more mud by going on the road. Rafi was disappointed as he just came to play in the mud puddles... We turned back onto the gravel, only to discover that there was a river to cross. John thought we should all become Mudskippers and bounce along the mud and water. They are rather like walking fish, but we managed to resist that too.
We made our way, mostly by road, to the gas station where Ted, having arisen from his sick bed came to join us. His vintage car attracted a lot of attention. I tried to drape myself over the car but no offers came my way (or his), so I guess the next Tel Aviv car show is not waiting for me to help sell!
We rode about 25 km in perfect weather with good company as usual.
As the weatherman had predicted, it was raining when I woke up, but I promised myself (and others) that I would ride so, up I got and all dressed up in my cycling gear (including my rain suit) off I set to the meeting point where I was met by Megan we were joined by Ilan. Yvette, Rafi and Frederic. That was it. All the other regulars had chickened out or were away or had other "plans".
The route we did was one that we have done many times. There is no doubt about it that the scenery in winter is far prettier than in the hotter seasons. We came across numerous "temporary" lakes and pools that had attracted various species of water birds. We had our fair share of rain and mud. On the trip home Rafi and I separated from the other four who, when they were near |Ra'anana had to cross a "river" and then found themselves "fenced off" but with the help of Frederic the bikes were lifted over the fence and they then scaled the fence ( see the photos) and met up with me and Rafi and we all headed for home having covered 34+ kilometres. Another really enjoyable ride with great company was under our belts!
"Everything has its season, and there is a time for everything under the heaven. A time to be born and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to uproot the planted." (Ecclesiastes 3:1,2).
In Canada there is an expression "There are two reasons NOT to live in Canada, one is December and the other January and sometimes February and March too.
In Israel it is the exact opposite. Our winters are superb. Not too cold with rainy and sometime stormy days inter-spursed with days of brilliant, blue skies. Just look at the photos of the blue sky, the healthy fields, green natural grass, the winter leaves. Compare these photographs of Cyclenix summer rides in the same area north of Ra'anana towards Udim, when the countryside is brown, golden, sandy and dusty.
This year Israel has received so far, well over average rainfall to compensate for the 7-years of drought. The rivers are flowing and the Kinneret rising daily. The previous two Saturday rides were canceled/poorly attended due to the rain and mud.
"When you come to the land you shall plant any food tree." (Leviticus 19:23).
The 13 Cyclenix riders set out in the early morning mist. The temperature gauge on my bicycle showed 11 degrees. From Ra'anana we rode northwards through agricultural lands producing citrus and field crops. The sun rose higher, warming to over 20 degrees as we all removed our outer jackets. This area of the Sharon Plain continuing through Emek Hefer is one of the most fertile region's of the country (which are very few). The rich brown soil has been cultivated for winter wheat and potatoes, which are beginning to sprout. All looking very healthy.
This ride has been taken by Cyclenix many times, nevertheless the winter beauty gave the impression of 'new brush' has painted the landscape a different color.
For those who did not participate and were worried about the puddles, lakes and mud. Well, David choose a route which was definitely ridable and required very little dodging the muddy trail.
As usual, all the participants are pleasant, happy people and it is a pleasure to ride with Cyclenix.
As most of you woke up to rain, turned over and went back to sleep, a quick text message to Megan confirmed she would be riding no matter what the weather!
Seven thirty, the regular meeting place was strangely quiet. Megan and Frederic were riding to keep warm while waiting for others when Ilan and I arrived.
We realised that no-one else was coming and quickly decided to head off towards the Hertzalia Marina. The rain had mostly stopped but while riding over the bridge above the railway lines in Herzlia, Frederic's bike skidded and he came off. By the time we had come around the corner he was up on his feet although still in pain and managed to show us how to put a bike chain back into place without getting dirty hands! Well done Frederic.
We quickly arrived at the Marina and without much effort convinced by Frederic to manouver our way around the "mini lake" to head along the cliffs towards Tel Baruch. Once there, another detour was made around another "lake" and onto the Tel Aviv port . Some pictures were take to show how stormy the sea was and on to Aroma for a well-earned coffee while it began to rain again. We were soon back on our bikes and headed off to the Yarkon Park, out by Maoz Aviv and onto Hadar Yosef. We were "led" by Frederic on his regular "home ride" from the office which took us then from Hadar Yosef to Zahala, Ramat HaSharon and onto Herzlia. It was around there that the second accident of the day happened when I went into a lam post! A quick check to the bike and myself and we were off again with a promise of only another 4 km to go. We arrived back in Ra'anana after an enjoyable 40 km ride with not too much rain. A speedy recovery to Frederic for his broken rib! Frederic, you will be missed on the next few rides! Hurry back!
Beautiful weather greeted the 10 riders who pitched up to another local Home Patch ride. Our ride this week took as along the same route that we traversed last week with one small exception.
Instead of riding along to our normal lookout point in the Nature reserve we took a path to a view point just to the south of it and were suitably rewarded by some magnificent views.
Then, we detoured from the path that runs between the Sharon Coast National Park and the fields immediate to the East of the park that goes to Wingate, and entered the Park near Gaash, making our way through a section of the park and exiting at the Southern boundary of Wingate. Once again scenery was outstanding. (A word of warning to those that would like to bike through this Nature reserve. There are signs at the entrances prohibiting cycling in the reserve, except along the "black" colour-coded path. There are sometimes inspectors in the park and anyone caught cycling on the other paths is liable to a heavy fine! So beware! You have been warned)
From there on it was plain sailing to our usual "breakfast stop" at the Si Service Station at Gaash and then, after satisfying our thirst and hunger it was, Ra'anana here we come!
Another 34 kilometres of very pleasant riding in very pleasant weather and with very pleasant company was under our belts.
The sky was overcast and it definitely looked like rain was about to fall. Nevertheless 11 Cyclenix stalwarts pitched up at the starting point. It was great to have Abraham and Uri back with us.
The route we followed was one we have traversed many times - Ra'anana - Herzilya, Nof Yam, on to Yakum via "Dina's route", on to the view site at the Sharon Nature Reserve, around the Ga'ash Golf Course and then onto our usual breakfast stop at the Ga'ash Service station and then home.
Along the way we had a wee bit of rain and mud (nothing too bad). There were two unusual sights on the ride... a very pretty rainbow (no one found the pot of gold, and a brown greyhound!!!(That doesn't sound right! )
We all arrived home safe a sound, (some a little wetter than when we set off) after covering a very pleasant 34 kilometres with very pleasant company.
Happy Hannuka to you all.
It was a perfect day for a ride and 18 of us met at our usual starting point for what we thought would be a regular Home Patch Ride. Included in the 18 was newcomer, Shula. Welcome and I hope we will see you regularly in the future. There were lots of "oooohs and aaaahs" when Megan rolled up on her brand new red and white bike. We wish you many hours of happy and safe riding.
As I said earlier, we were all expecting our usual regular ride but David had other ideas as he led us off towards Givat Chen. We rode South through the fields of Givat Chen and the plan was to cross Highway 4 and head off to ride along the HaYarkon. We headed for the bridge that crosses the highway encountering a wee bit of mud on the way.
After turning towards the river, we learnt what mud was all about!!!! In fact, at one point we met some riders going in the opposite direction and they advised us to turn back and find another route!!! We did but the mud was waiting for us there as well. Luckily the river was flowing quite strongly and some of us managed to "sort of" wash our bikes down.
Unfortunately as we approached Elishema, Shula's bike suffered a major breakdown, but as always, Ted, Rafi, David and Frederic were there to perform their magic and managed to get the bike mobile, but not for too long as shortly thereafter the chain broke, fortunately only a short distance from our scheduled breakfast stop.
Eventually we arrived at a relatively new "watering hole" in Hod Hasharon and after taking off our muddied shoes, we entered, sat down to a very tasty breakfast and enjoyed a well deserved rest. After satisfying our hunger, Rafi headed to his home, not too far away, fetched his "rescue" vehicle and took Shula and her "injured" bike home. Thank you Rafi! The rest of us made our way back home after an enjoyable if not uneventful ride. Another 34 kilometres of fun-filled, energy sapping and muddy ride was under our belts.
THANK YOU DAVID for a well-chosen route!!!!!!
Well, despite the weather forecast (90 to 100% chance of rain) eight of us showed up at the starting point (and the didn't include the Lewis and Silverman families who obviously preferred to believe the weather forecast)...and it DIDN'T rain during the ride. The one way of ensuring that it won't rain is if I wear my rain suit...and I did!!!!
The route we followed was almost our usual home patch route with one or two small detours and without the Udim loop. The few detours we did were not done to avoid the mud, they were to enable a few riders to stock up!!!!! The weather was perfect riding weather. We had our fair share of mud (but not too much) and we stopped at our usual breakfast stop (The Service station at Gaash).
All in all, a very pleasant 27 km ride.
My advice to you all is, never mind the weather, as long as we're together! (extract from an old university song!!!)
Over time was involved in a variety of sports :
The Cyclenix Group
My Away-Away biking history:
My bikes history:
My Happy hobby:
If you have any questions or want to get in touch for any reason, feel free to get in touch with David or John: