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 :)
Har Horshan Reserve is one of those unique regions that remain in the realm of "top secret" because the public in general is not aware of its existence nor its potential.
Cyclenix has been close to the reserve in the past and even rode various sections but this is the first and probably not the last time we have circumnavigated the reserve. The route is well marked by the SPNI signs and we followed the recommended route as described by Eli Seth in his cycling route guide. Our problem was getting to the start point at Amikam (my people have risen?) a quaint Moshav tucked in by the gentle slopes of lower Horshan. We arrived late because David, a lover of classical music, leading the convoy, was in total distraction at the hands of Tchaikovsky. But we did arrive and found several more of the group waiting impatiently.
By the time we departed we numbered 16 (17 see below) in all including Boaz's wife Naomi who rode her inaugural ride with Cyclenix today. Welcome and hope to see you in future rides. We set of passing park Alona an archeological mini wonderland dating from Roman times and we were able to follow (but could not see) the ancient hill carved limestone aqueduct with its modern counterpart laying alongside. We then followed the path of Nachal Snunit northwards before commencing the climb to the top of Horshan at apprx 220 meters. The initial climb section was technically demanding as it was rock lined and the pattern continued for 2-3 kms proving to be quite challenging for several who rightly so walked in some sections. The paths were bordered by brush and miniature oaks. This was the hottest part but it included several scenic panoramas as we stopped to refill our lungs. It was there that we realized our numbering attendees system included number 10 who was non existing and that we were actually 16 not 17 riders. So much for organization!!!
The weather became more acceptable as cloud cover provided shelter from the July sun and we continued our upward motion interspersed with several pleasant down-hills. We met riders overtaking us and some coming from the opposite direction and I made mental note to look at doing this ride in the reverse next time. We rested twice, the final time being in the junction that includes the route to Bat Shlomo. We had a fress-up and then set off downhill to Amikam. The way down included a chalky powdery section which was quite challenging in parts and some smelly cow dung littered sections but before long we were in Amikam.
Some complained that 17 kls was too short and perhaps we cud have included several more paths but we leave that for our next ride. There are rumours in Amikam of a ghost rider bearing the number 10 on his back who joins groups and then disappears only to reappear later with another group. We drove off to have breakfast at Hadera in order to discuss "is there or isn't there a ghost rider".
Thanks to David for a job well done.
If you have any questions or want to get in touch for any reason, feel free to get in touch with David or John: