Today's ride was advertised as starting at Moshav Elishema down to the Nachshonim Forest returning via Einat, a distance of around 40 km on our usual route. However for various reasons (not the least the weather) we didn't get to Nachshonim. The official IMS forecast for today was "sharav conditions over most of the Country" with temperatures in our area of around 35 degrees - accurate indeed added to which a humidity factor of around 15%! So the 16 of us had to be content with 31 km down to Einat (a well earned refreshment stop). As compensation a strong easterly blew us almost all the way back to Elishema.
In parenthesis, last week's ride was similarly cut short by the weather - not by a sharav but by a storm - dramatic-black skies, torrential rain, hail, thunder and lightning, and reminded me of a bit of Cyclenix history - a ride we did under similar storm conditions in 2005 in the Hadera Forest/Nahal Alexander. Eli Sat (author of the well known "Mountain Bike Day Trips") joined us on that ride and his account of his ride with the crazy Cyclenix-niks can be found on Shvoong's website at: http://www.shvoong.co.il/he-IL/198/1252/
Back to the present: However unfriendly the heat, our usual brand of Cyclenix Good Company prevailed - and all returned home none the worse for wear (and perhaps a little better prepared for lots of warmer weather ahead).
Thirteen hardy cyclists gathered to set off under threatening skies. Welcome to Einit, who will hopefully return and cycle on a calmer, sunnier day!
We set off northward, through Rishpon and onwards. The dramatic dark clouds seem to accentuate the colors around us. Mindful of the threatening clouds, we stuck close to home, debating every now and then when the appropriate moment will be to turn back. Well, after doing a loop and cycling towards Batzra, our minds were made up for us. Big fat rain drops started falling which meant that we split up, each one trying to beat the downpour.
Minutes before, we had a chorus of "Raindrops keep falling on my head" - but soon it was more than drops: the hail started pelting down - each little ball stinging like a needle and pinging off my bike. I had to stop every now and then to clean my glasses - couldn't see anything besides the water gushing at me in the road. I missed part of the group huddling in a bus shelter - but we all got home safely without mishap. Considering the weather, we did a good approximately 25 km. Frederic had some apricots - or so he says - so we wait with anticipation for next week......!
With apologies to Randy Newman, who wrote the lyrics to Rider in the Rain:
Got a bag on my back
Got a bike between my knees
And I'm goin' to Batzra
Pardon me, ya'll, if you please
They're Riders In The Rain
They're Riders In The Rain
And they're goin' to Batzra
They're Riders In The Rain
Perfect cycling weather and a turnout of 12. What a way to start the day!
First of all, a big welcome to Andy who joined us for the first time, and what's more, he came all the way from Ashqelon to meet us. Now that's what a call dedication! It was nice meeting you Andy, and we hope to say you often in the furture.
Our route took us through the Industrial area of Ra'anana, on to Bnei Tzion, Udim, Yaqum, Gaash, a stop at our usual; "watering hole", then passed Shefayim, Rishpon and back to Ra'anana. After our breakfast stop the group split up for different reasons, such as, folk dancing; having to get back to paint a room; had to be home early...etc, etc.
The last 5 of us left Gaash and headed for home only to find Frances and Merrill at the side of the road waiting for Frances' husband, Jules, to fetch her. Her chain had snapped!!! David to the rescue. Jules was phoned and sent home to continue with what he's been doing and in no time at all David gave us a lesson on how to fix a broken chain. Well done David!
On all, we covered 35 kms. One thing we noticed was that the sand was back much earlier than usual. Oy, what have we in store for us until next Winter.
Last but not least, "HAPPY 65th BIRTHDAY" to Israel.
The Dirty Dozen (aka The Good, the Bad and The Ugly)
Twelve of us gathered at Buy the Way and headed off towards the Carmel. It was supposed to be a really hot day - but you would not have thought so as we were taken on a magical mystery tour by David in the fog around Dalyiat HaCarmel. We parked below the Mukrakha (where Elijah faced off the prophets of Baal) and set off on paths that took us past small farms and lots of cows.
Our first breath-taking experience was the steep climb into Ussifiya - some were rendered breathless and walked part of the way, some slogged up, zig-zagging along while the few remaining flew up. Of course, all that goes up, must come down. So, we experienced our first downhill. This was also a challenge - lots of ditches and rocks and even Frederic opted to walk down one or two! This set the pattern for the rest of the ride: ups and downs and ups and downs. The star of the uphills has to go to Ingride who just kept going and going!
The school ma'am came out in me when a young fellow decided to relieve himself next to us ladies. We ticked him off (well, I did) by saying he should show respect to others and go behind a tree or into the public toilets which were right next to us. He did have the grace to apoligize...
The views were spectacular and the ride was challenging in places which are good ingredients to allow ourselves to stop off and have hummous, felafel and the like. We enjoyed around 22km of ups and downs in weather that was not חם מרגיל as predicted, in good company. Thanks to David for navigating us around the Carmel and up to the watering hole.
We were a group of 14 this Shabbat that met at our usual starting point.
A warm welcome back goes to Rafi, who returned with a 'new scar', the proof of his recent cycling injury. Merrill is still resting up her injuries and we wish her a speedy recovery and hope to see her back soon.
The route was discussed and David led us up Achuza and southwards into Givat Chen. I seem to recall quite a few steep inclines before we hit our first bout of sand and were all forced to walk our bikes. However, it wasn't long before we were all mounted again and off through the fields and quickly out over the bridge by Hod HaSharon. From here we rode through onto the path running along by the Yarkon River. A bumpy ride was traversed, with some sand here and there, but all in all a most enjoyable ride and a change from our usual home patch rides.
By the time we reached Ramat HaChayal, David was receiving reminders for that all important coffee break! We were promptly led to the local Aroma however a consensus was reached that we were too far from home and somewhere closer should be found. We headed on through Ramat HaChayal to Nave Sharett and once again out to the fields (and sand) heading towards Ramat HaSharon. Up over the bridge by the Tennis Center and out into Nave Magen we were led to a delightful coffee shop, (Asa for those who wish to return another time) where the service was pleasant and quick and the waiters most friendly. From here, fully refreshed, we once again got on our bikes and rode through the back streets of Ramat HaSharon alongside the IMI grounds and along the sandy route back through (Young) Herzliya and back home to Raanana.
Once again, a lovely ride of around 34 km's was enjoyed in wonderful company and pleasant weather.
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.
If you have any questions or want to get in touch for any reason, feel free to get in touch with David or John: