Ride Report - Sat. Jan. 5, 2019 - Local Ride - By Stephen Schulman
I cycle the winter paths again,
The sand, the water, the mud,
Wherever I doth wend, my ways do end,
Completely covered in crud.
These lines entitled "Muditations on a January Ride" composed by the Romantic lake poet William Mudsworth aptly describe our first (home patch) ride of the good year (we hope!) 2019.
Meeting as usual at our appointed parking place, the multi-hued, suitably winter attired Cyclenix Flying Phalanx set off with our indefatigable leader David at its head and devoted sweeper Ted at its tail. Cycling past the disapproving glances of some of our more pious coreligionists on their way to Sabbath morning devotions, we crossed the busy intersection and were soon in the fields.
That this winter has been blessed with rains was very much evident as we encountered large puddles and muddy paths that had been often churned up by tractors and 4WD vehicles often making them completely unrideable and necessitating improvised detours that tested our nimbleness and agility.
We passed Bnei Zion and along the way crossed over a small river that led to Nahal Alexander. Beside it, a pumping station was working at full blast pumping a copious stream of what seemed to be effluents into it. Judging from the color of the water and the foam floating on top, I hoped that the turtles and fish in the river had been previously vaccinated! We turned off into large, dank citrus orchards very muddy and puddlesome and at long last after muddling through (kindly excuse the pun!) and upon exiting took a welcome break to enjoy a clementine or two fresh off the tree and bursting with flavor. Then there was the long climb to Tel Yitschak where we waited a while as the first puncture of the day was being fixed.
While resting there, a few of us were greeted by three equestrians riding by on their beautiful horses – a sight that reminded us of Shakespeare's King Richard the Second's famous lines after his rear tube had deflated: "A horse, a horse, my bicycle for a horse!"
Our route took us up to Udim and we descended down the well-known and well-travelled slope to the path alongside the river. Crossing the bridge and turning south along the other bank, we discovered that the path, having been previously churned into a quagmire, was completely impassable. Nevertheless, an alternative route had been previously forged and which we were able to take advantage of.
The phalanx then arrived at the big service station and rendezvous café at Kibbutz Ga'ash where we, on our bicycles, looked askance at all those fellow humans who had to resort to the use of a horseless carriage! From then on, we were homeward bound, eventually turning left through avocado orchards onto the path parallel to the railway, crossing the line before turning right onto the homeward stretch. Even then, the way was not easy as we had the challenge of navigating around the many large puddles and pedalling along in thick mud before finally reaching the metalled road behind the Raanana cemetery.
From there, a merry company descended to carouse at Landwer Café while the rest of us with more pressing matters rode straight home.
All in all, it was a great pleasure riding together, having the privilege to see all the lush green in the countryside and enjoy looking at all the lakes formed by the winter rains. It was even a greater joy to see all the families and young children out and about enjoying the fresh air of a crisp Saturday morning.