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Ride Blog by Max - 21 Jan 2012 - Nahal Habsor





Nahal Habsor - full of little challenges, short ascents requiring good strong pumping muscles and short descents....no brakes, steep and exciting.
We started in Park Eshkol, site of the Australian and New Zealand troopers defence against the Turks in the First World War, and quickly made our way across where the old Turkish/British bridge, long time destroyed, once stood. Across the water and soon we began the climb to Tel Fara for a great lookout point, and then to the beginning of the long and winding single parallel to the Nahal.
What had been a worry that it might be too muddy turned into a relief as we rode easily along good paths, enjoying the amazing Bsor scenery and the high standard of riding.

We were joined by seven good and true members of Groopy and together, 14 riders made up a very nice group.
We hope to see you again on one of our rides.
We continued down to the Bridge, a 70 meter steel hanging bridge over the Nahal.
We stopped for our break on the East side of Nahal Habsor next to the memorial for two young tracteron riders who died in the area.
During the break we were told by Alon Wolff about his dream come true...of opening a bike museum.

You can see more about this on his Facebook site.

Break over and off we jolly went, through the next single, up dune and down dune. Everything was fine till we met the first puncture...Uri's, then a fall on a pre broken hand......Uri's, then another fall...Uri's........then a broken chain but in the words of the Bard..all's well that ends well.. and the last single afforded all of us a great ride and a great way to finish the trail.



Statistics:
Total ride: 35 kms
Total ascent: 450 meters
Actual riding time: 2:34 hrs
Avr speed: 13.4 km/hr
Fastest speed recorded on my GPS: 40.4 km/hr

Ride Blog by Max - 7 Jan 2012 - Zanuach to Bar Giora





Well the first 3 kms we know from our past, stony,steep,stepped and very strenuousness and strewn with every size and shape of rock and stone you could think of.

We rode, pushed and pulled our steads, stubbornly towards the summit, stumbling here, struggling there, stretching ourselves to the limit but stimulated and strengthened by the thought of reaching the top.

Well we all got there, sooner or later and after a breather we started out first steep downhill, made doubly difficult by the rains of the past weeks. The first 50 or so meters down were quite technical but then a gradual climb brought us all the way to the back gates of Bar Giora.

We continued over the Ness Harim junction East and climbed paths which notwithstanding all the rains were only sliightly muddy and all very rideable.
Turning West we crossed back over the 386, just a bit North of Zur Hadassa and started the way back.

We managed to find every climb in the area but were rewarded with some long, great downhills, some stony some technical but all adrenaline rousing rides.

Finally Nahal Zanuach brought us back down to earth after a great morning out,a great satisfying ride, amazing scenery and weather and of course great company.

I had planned a little extra just before returning to the cars, but as Amos said, "they'll kill you you if you do that...." I decided a rain check was the better option and after 25 kms and 700 meters of climbing, 8 of us arrived back to the cars, very pleased from a super ride.

Comments:

Statistics:
Total ride: 25 kms
Total ascent: 696 meters
Actual riding time: 2:07 hrs
Avr speed: 11.2 km/hr
Fastest speed recorded on my GPS: 43 km/hr

Ride Blog by Jonathan - 31 Dec 2011 - Arad to the Dead Sea





We met in Arad quite early (considering the lengthy drive down) in freezing conditions. There was a very large group: 19 in total. Several regulars and about 11 from Groupie from all parts of the country - Jerusalam, Yokneam, Haifa, Ramat Ishai and of course the Sharon area.
We gathered in a car park at the entrance to Arad and, shivering, unpacked our bikes and got ready. Several had brought thermoses of coffee (Nurit showed particular thoughtfulness by bringing kafe shahor for those that prefer) and that helped to raise body temperatures a little.

As we started the sun was starting to shine and the day quickly warmed up nicely. The route took us quickly out of civilization and in to the hills leading down towards the Dead Sea through the Judean Desert. Although the overall direction is down, there are a few hills, not an insignificant amount of long, gradual uphills and two monster climbs that are pretty much impossible to ride up - extremely steep and very rocky. In general, we headed towards Har Komot (the hardest climbs), tracked above the Ami'az river (up and down) and reached a breathtaking lookout at the start of our major descent to the Ami'az plane. From there, down to the Dead Sea level, towards Har Sdom, through Nachal Sdon, Nachal Pratzim and back to the hotels where buses waited to drive us back to our cars in Arad.

The views on route were spectacular - particular at the top where we started our main descent. We were overlooking the Ami'az Plains, Flour Caves (ma'arot hakemah), the Dead Sea itself, Har Sdom and Jordan. Even though the visibility was only so-so, the scenery is fantastic. Inside Nahal Sdom, which runs through canyons that have been eaten through the desert, the scenery was equally as impressive - layers of colors along the walls and a winding path that banks conveniently on its many curves, making it rideable at reasonable speeds (thanks due, no doubt, to Max for his usual impeccable preparation).

Back up at Arad, things were as if they hadn't changed. We'd left the balmy warmth of the valley below and returned to the freezing temperatures of Arad. There, we were treated to a spread put on by Nurit and Max (again, thanks!) and a toast to the new year after which we all packed up and headed off home. The day was a little longer than planned (a large group usually is) but the company was great and the route was very special. A highly successful day.

Happy 2012 to all!

Comments:

Max : A great ride, great company and great to ride with so many good riders.
See the Groopy site http://www.groopy.co.il/GalleryInfo.aspx?gaid=25139 for more pics and more comments
Statistics:
Total ride: 60.5 kms
Total ascent: 700 meters
Actual riding time: 3:43 hrs
Avr speed: 15.9 km/hr
Fastest speed recorded on my GPS: 15.9 km/hr

Ride Blog by Max - 24 Dec 2011 - Kochav Yair





We started at Eyal and the idea was to find a way through to the single in the Eyal forest.
Well we managed to do that and enjoyed our first cyclamens of the season.
During the six day war this hill was a strategic asset in the defence of Kibbutz Eyal and of Kfar Saba.

8 of us started the ride and all was going well, with good uphills and descents, we rode through Kochav Yair and on to Zur Natan, crossing Nahal Alexander and then North and North East alongside Nahal Averach, unchartered territory for us but plenty of early flowering to admire.
Somewhere here we had a break and Ariel and Ariel (this is not a typing error) left us to return early.

At this point we were very near the failed attempt to establish a new settlement called Yaarit.

Then South again and we began a hard climb up to Salit on a path which is not shown on any maps or mapping programs I could find.

From Salit the idea was to ride down to the fence, which we did, and then if the gate was open to ride along the (dividing ) fence and back to Kochav Yair. Well it were good and closed so "no choice" being the only choice, we returned via the asphalt...a very bad decision....will not happen again, back to Eyal and the cars and this against a very strong head wind.

Comments:

Statistics:
Total ride: 29 kms
Total ascent: 416 meters
Total Riding time: 3:41 hrs

Ride Blog by Max - 17 Dec - Ruhama Badlands & Singles





Amos picked us up at 06.30, bright and cheerfull, for a 50 minute drive down to Bet Kama. Parked and getting our stuff together and oops, Nurit discovered she'd forgotton her water bottles.
No sweat as we bought 2 mineral waters from the shop in the petrol station.
Final arrangements and oops, where the f*** are my gloves. I could have sworn they were right by my side as I put my shoes on. Surely not that senile........
So I looked around for a thief........and saw.........yes! a cat. But it looked too peaceful to be a thief. So looked again by the rubbish bins and lo and behold i met a ferocious puppy (that some rotton blighter had left there) who had decided that my gloves were his legitimate play things. Fortunately he had not had a chance to chew them to bits and so gloves on, we started our Badlands ride. (Anyone know why there called the Badlands..????)

The Ruhama area is a very pretty one and with the Badlands, the formed valleys and the riverbeds interspersed, it is a very nice place to ride around. So far all wide paths, some stiff climbs but quite short and 20 kms had gone by within an hour and a half including a climb to Tel Najila - a great look out over the Badlands.

Somewhere along the way we climbed up to the KKL look out post and then we met the first of several smooth flowing singles , passing Dorot and slowly meandering back to the cars.

In total we did 50 kms and a had a great day out with perfect weather.

Comments:

Statistics:
Total ride: 49 kms
Total ascent: 450 meters
Actual riding time: 3:28 hrs
Avr speed: 14 km/hr
Fastest speed recorded on my GPS: 44.6 km/hr

Ride Blog by Max - 10th Dec - park Rosh Haayin





Not too cold this morning, as Nurit aand I met with Yoram, Jonathan, Kobi and Shimon G who has returned from those who have had operations.
Normal local ride through to Horshim. Up the first single with the tricky beginning and then later up the second one which was very slippery but just manageable.
A quick coffee break (courtey of Shimon G - good to have you back friend)....on the top of the hill overlooking all the Misgads in the area.
Then riding over to park Rosh Haayin. This time Kobi set the time restraints, hoping to be back at the cars by about 11.30. Timing was about right until............ So we climbed the stony terrraced path up and up, not too much mud and eventually down to the beginning of the single into Nahal Shilo. Still on time until.............
A third of the way we stopped, let everyone catch up....a quick reminder to sit far back in the saddle and off we rode again until...........
The single has a number of "step downs" and one particular nasty one which Yoram and I passed and thought a bit tricky. We wanted to shout a warning but ............."OUCH" as we saw one of ours summersaulting over the handlebars and heavily crashing onto the rocks........"OUCH".
30 minutes later after assessing the damage, mopping up and breathing "not through a very broken nose" we were up and walking back to a "specially ordered" travelling ambulance" and a hospital to be visited.

RIDING A BIKE IS A DANGEROUS OCCUPATION AND SHOULD BE AVOIDED AT ALL TIMES

Of course, we will be found riding as much as possible...so don't wory.......

Anyway, we all wish Jonathan a speedy recovery.....and sometimes a broken nose can be very attractive..!!!

Comments:

Statistics:
Total ride: 42 kms
Total ascent: 550 meters
Actual riding time: 3:10 hrs
Avr speed: 13.6 km/hr
Fastest speed recorded on my GPS: 48.0 km/hr

Ride Blog by Jonathan - 3 Dec - Hazorea





It was freezing!!
I think even more so than THAT ride from Motza.
We met outside Kibbutz Hazorea for a ride through Harei Menashe at 7am sharp. Amos brought coffee which was consumed in the car park before we even started in an effort to get some warmth in our bodies. We tried without much luck to extract some warmth from the early morning sun and decided it was time to get going. If we were cold then - things got considerably worse 5 minutes in to the ride when the route turned to the shaded side of the mountain. We rode in silence bar the sniffles and the chattering of teeth; those with half-length gloves suffered from near frost-bite on their finger tips.
Why were we doing this exactly?
We eventually reached a small patch of sunlight where we stopped to try to thaw our bones. Raising our fingers sun-wards and trying to move them we stood like a group of Druids worshiping the sun in some ancient ritual.

We started a climb on a dusty trail and that got our body temperatures up - even worked up a bit of a sweat. Fingers were still hurting, but that sorted itself out in time too.

From here, the ride was a series of climbs (mostly fairly steep but only moderate in distance), each of which was followed by a downhill single. Then up and down again. We were always in the same rough area - in the hills near Ramot Manashe, not far from Ein HaShofet. The area is really beautiful for riding - singles traces the countryside back and forth, not too hard technically but hard enough to be interesting, with some steps, jumps and roller-coaster rides for thrills. The scenery is great now - forests are green and grass covers most of the area - in another month or two, flowers will not doubt abound.

We had lots of fun - the more veteran members enjoyed recounting stories of past conquests in the area - and we criss-crossed much of the area for a few hours, then all too soon made our way down to Kibbutz Mishmar HaEmek and then back to our cars. We finished with coffee and kube before heading off home.

It was a great day: even the weather turned out magnificent with sunny blue skies and no wind to speak of. An area definitely worth revisiting, even for those that have "been there, done that" several times before with a seemingly endless number of paths and trails to investigate. In the end, it was an excellent combination of a good work-out, lots of fun and good company.

Our toes are numb, our fingers ache
The temperature is low
We turn onto a shady trail
And it drops to 3 below

We seek some sun in desperate hope
That it could some warmth in usher
Could there be a place on earth
Quite as cold as Harei Menashe?

Comments:

Statistics:
Total ride: 31.5 kms
Total ascent: 701 meters
Actual riding time: 2:42 hrs
Avr speed: 11.5 km/hr
Fastest speed recorded on my GPS: 50.2 km/hr

Ride Blog by Max - 26 Nov 2011 - Halukim





Shivering fingers took the first photo. Well not really. It actually was quite a pleasant temperature by the time we has got our act together and started the ride.
We happened to do this ride along with about 7000 other walkers who were doing the Ben Gurion walk.
Well we saw them a couple of times but never really managed to disturb them.....or them..us
So we left the Midrasha, Amos,Jonathan, Nurit and yours truly. Amos still with a painful hand and just back from China, Jonathan - the man in tights - but big black shiny ones............, Nurit and I .....always ready for a good ride.

The scenery was not so magnificent as we'd been led to believe but the single was great, stony with steps up and steps down all the way but no real hills to climb. The first part was cruising downhill for quite some time. Amos's wheel at some stage decided it did not want to turn freely. On inspection I saw that the quick release pin had a broken off end and that the derailleur hanger was loose. Well we tightened everything up and Amos managed to finish the ride with no further problems.
Our first break was by the old old tree....(a song there) and a quick chat with 2 other bikers from Tel Mond....but no coffee.......
Then onwards and we rode the extra 5 or so kms to visit the Hatzatz caves........the highlight of this ride.....
Then through the desert using luck as a GPS as no tracks were to be seen. Eventually we rejoined the Halukim single and rode towards Nahal Zin and then to the MIdrasha, where again we joined the hordes of walkers.

All in all a great single, gorgeous weather, good sparring company and a great day out.

Next week we go North..............

Comments:

Statistics:
Total ride: 30 kms
Total ascent: 430 meters
Actual riding time: 2:30 hrs
Avr speed: 12 km/hr
Fastest speed recorded on my GPS: 37.5 km/hr

Ride Blog by Jonathan - 12 Nov 2011 - Yagur to the Muchraka





Sometimes things just all work out well. That was our ride this week -
weather was perfect (sunny and cold with a light breeze), the group was terrific (5 regulars and 3 visitors - Tal, Ilan, and Kobi) and the route magnificent: great views, hard, challenging climbs, a good work-out and a fast finish. Really, we couldn't have asked for anything more. We even managed to cross the river without getting wet!

It was the second time we'd done this route from Yagor to the Machraka in the Carmel - last time was a disaster. Hot, humid, dusty and a suicidal single that we all walked to finish. And finishing time was about 5pm. This time we raced through it and were back in the coffee shop in the car park by a very civilized 1pm.

The route took us along the shores of the Kishon river, across it and the road and then up a hard climb on the side of the Carmel mountain. The last 30 meters or so were too steep to ride (at least we were too tired to try it) but the rest was rideable. From there, we continued, mainly down toward the industrial area of Yokneam and then more climbing as we turned towards the Muchraka in the middle of the Carmel. This part of the climbing was much stonier - some parts quite steep, some quite bumpy. Overall it was hard going, though again rideable.

On top again, the path turned in to a semi-paved trail and then, with more ups and downs, we reached the Muchraka. We were kindly allowed free entrance (tribute to the effort we put in getting there) and then set off past Isfiya for a break overlooking the Ramat David air base.

From there it was overall down, though with some short steep climbs along the Carmel Scenic path (the views were beautiful despite somewhat hazy air) and then quickly down to sea level on the road. From there it was a short ride back through Nesher and to the car park of Kibbutz Yagur.

A great ride in every aspect. Ten out of ten!

High up in the atmosphere of lofty Mt Carmel
Elijah made his prophesies that mostly went quite well
To commemorate the holy site of where he lived and prayed
They built a place called Muchraka - and there some monks have stayed

We rode up there with clear skies that tended to be blueish
And debated if the holiness applies for anyone that is Jewish
But either way the place is fine, the views are quite superb
With rolling hills and Med-sea views, just like you are a bird

It is written in the holy books that when Elijah died
He rose up to the heavens with some horses at his side
And much the same as we rode up, along our stoney courses
We passed by a group of riders that were mounted on their horses

No chariots of fire for us, no lightning bolts or thunder
But all the same I have to say, the thing did make me wonder
If a prophet lived among us now would he find his way all right
Any better than we do each week with GPS and satellite?

Comments:

Statistics:
Total ride: 46 kms
Total ascent: 850 meters
Actual riding time: 3:00 hrs
Avr speed: 14.9 km/hr
Fastest speed recorded on my GPS: 61.1 km/hr

Ride Blog by Max - 29 Oct - Nahal Kziv - Gilad Shalit comes home.





At long last we can say, Gilad is home. All the Gilad rides that we did, the visits to the support Tent, visiting the family....all had one focused intent....to bring Gilad home. Hundreds of thousands of Israelis from all over Israel never forgot and together with Gilad's parents, Noam and Aviva we all kept Gilad's fate from going somewhere that nobody wanted.
Ted and Dina phoned me during the last week and suggested we do one more ride to close the Gilad saga and have a symbolic "removal of the yellow ribbon" ceremony. We immediately adopted the idea and the result was this ride.
We started at Manot, Spokes and Cyclenix together and were glad to meet Megan, Freddie and Jeff, all newcomers to Spokes. The first part of the ride up to Hila while asphalted is still a good healthy uphill and was certainly a good way to begin the morning.....for some. Everyone seemed to be very concerned for Megan but she turned out to be a little powerhorse on a very strange steed...(change it quickly before it ruins your rides....). Freddie powered up the ascents as if on an afternoon stroll. Hylton....I take my helmet off to......he rose from the dead (at least on our last Kziv ride) to ride like a lion. Ted and Dina....well what can I tell you.......Ted, stop pushing Dina off her bike !!!!!!!. David .......well he'll be riding till 120 bless his heart and Ingride......just plods on and gets to the top of every mountain and finds time to lead us in song....this time......I'll tie a yellow ribbon round an old Oak tree.......!!!!!
And now a special word of appeciation to Nurit who led and organised us on all the Gilad Shalit endevours and who stayed focused on helping to get him home in her very special way.....WELL DONE
And Yoram, Moni and Shimon (who still remembers his last fall here) and Uri...remembering a broken finger.
To all of you out there who supported our Gilad Shalit rides we say thank you for joining us and in the words of the Bard..........All's well that ends well.....
And the ride........It's still one of our favourites, plenty of everything, uphills galore, water crossings with pebbles to put fear into your hearts, Picnic areas full of beauty, greens of all colours and fish that swim backwards.....
A great ride and thanks for joining us. One more thing.......We all wish Jonathan's mother health and that she should have a speedy and full recovery.

Comments:

Statistics:
Total ride: 28 kms
Total ascent: 630 meters
Actual riding time: 2.26 hrs
Avr speed: 11.7 km/hr
Fastest speed recorded on my GPS: 51.2 km/hr

Ride Blog by Jonathan - 15th Oct 2011 - Nachshonim





The hagim and holidays had clearly taken their toll: only three showed up for a ride around Nachal Shilo and Nachshonim: Max, Nurit and Jonathan. It's a ride we've done a couple of times before and I think one of our most enjoyable and challenging at the same time.

The first part is easy - along the Kane and Yarkon rivers, across a new bridge (so we don't get our feet wet), past Antipatrous and Kibbutz Einat and then in to the Nachshonim forest. We had a somewhat stoney climb there - taking a different path to usual that was probably a little easier, up to the quarry that lies before El-Ad, past El-Ad and to a single that takes us down in to the wadi below. We've done it before - it's never an easy one, but the condition of the path is now somewhat worse (motor-cycles, I guess) and there are loose stones, slippery earth and menacing boulders all over the place. Easy it isn't!
Riding nearly all of the way, we made it down unscathed and then along to our regular tree for our break. No chair any more, plenty of prickles!

Then a hard climb (the first part is very hard) - very stoney again, but on the whole, most was manageable. Atop the soaring heights of the hills, the air was magnificent and a panoramic view of Rosh Ha'Ayin and Petach-Tikva was ample reward for our efforts. Another stoney descent followed: generally easier than the previous, but with some difficult parts and we were back down near Rosh Ha'Ayin for a quick ride up a new trail towards Oranit, through Horashim and Sde Hemed and back home.

Quite a long distance (see stats below) and an average ascent but the effort spent was greater than the figures show due to the never-ending stones (on ascents as well as descents) that required a lot of energy and concentration. It was a hard ride and we all got back exhausted, though very pleased. Definitely one of our most interesting and rewarding routes!

The days are shorter, somewhat colder
And we ourselves are growing older
But with each of us lending a shoulder
We set out to scale just every boulder

And boulders did we ever find
The number would just blow your mind
The trails would forever wind
But boulders were of every kind

We slipped and bounced along our trail
But not one of us would ever wail
And best of all - though she looks frail Was Nurit - the only rider not a male

All tuckered out, with aching bones
We made it back to all our homes
And drifting off to sleep-filled zones
I dreamed of lots of rocks and stones

Comments:

The first pic is max overhauling a freewheel hub...........successfully!!!

Statistics:
Total ride: 52 kms
Total ascent: 580 meters
Actual riding time: 4:10 hrs
Avr speed: 12.7 km/hr
Fastest speed recorded on my GPS: 34.1 km/hr

Ride Blog by max - 1st Oct - Latrun to Bet Meir





Welcome Shimon, a sleepy phone call at 06.30 told me that "Shimon" would be joining us. A Jerusalemite saw the ride advertised in groopy and decided to come along.
We left Latrun after a quick cable replacement for the back derailleur on Gidi's bike. There is a bike shop, known to all the latruners and it was open and ready for all even at such early hours.
20 shekels later, Gidi was back with us and raring to go.
Hats off to the repair man in the shop who totally undecharged him. From now on we will do all of our repairs here.........

So a quick climb to the Monastery and then round the back of it for a technical downhill to begin the morning. Climbing up again we rode past Neveh Shalem and passed the memorial stone to Abi Nathan.......

"the voice of Peace........"

From here we rode the wide trails till the Serpentine and Nurit surprised herself this time by riding down it all the way.........yeahh
met a bunch of riders here, all in good cheer and looking for singles........ride on !!
Then through the Burma trail with the 2D silluettes to remind us of the 1948 convoys......
and crossing road 38 and then the climb up to Bet Meir.

Made it....!!!! and so we climbed a bit more and found our rest stop in Ramat HaConvoys

After the break, another few climbs to visit the 2 "mishlatim" 16 and 21 and then a cruel downhill which has been driven into oblivion by numerous 4 x 4's so we walked a bit here.
Then a stony technical downhill back to road 38, a climb up "Givat haCat" and none too soon we found ourselves back at the cars.

great weather for riding, the pace was good for all and the climbs were enough to loose that extra weight we had all put ton over the "Hag". See you in 2 weeks time.........for the Biriya single.

Comments:

Statistics:
Total ride: 28 kms
Total ascent: 600 meters
Actual riding time: 2:30 hrs
Avr speed: 10.5 km/hr
Fastest speed recorded on my GPS: 35 km/hr

Ride Blog by Max - 24 Sep - Tal Shahar





Well, he wrote 41 kms and we rode 49 kms.
823 meters ascent.........too much!!!
Rain.......well he never mentioned rain at all...........

I told him again and again........35 kms is a good distance and 550 meters ascent is a good height.........he never listens.......

So complaints out of the way........how was the ride????
Well didn't you hear me??????? It was too long and and too hard....and to cap it all we had to repair 3 punctures....all on Dudi's bike.
Well I didn't hear him complaining as we fixed his bike...........

So about the ride.........

OK......, we rode around the Canaf....(for a brief explanation....go to your local security officer). We started in Tal Shahar, a delightful Moshav and probably a very nice place to live. Rode down to the railway crossing (we'd passed this point on our "numerous" rides from Hod Hasharon to Jerusalem) . Up to this point the ride was still good......

Then a single,.........code named "Yeshi" . Smooth flowing with some technical items, a place to practice climbing rocks and a sofa for the weary. Seems to be other singles here, so a place to explore in the future.

I told you before....I don't want any rain..........

Ok, .........so now we had ominous black clouds over us (in the car, on the way down we were drenched in a 2 minute down pour)........and indeed the drops began to pour as we explored an ancient watering hole........but we pressed on.......we had a long way in front of us.....
We rode through the trails around Zachariah, Sdot Micha and up to Tirosh for a water refresh. We asked a kind soul for some water and we were given a bottle and while we were drinking and refilling our packs he brought out 2 ripe water melons and said take...take. Unfortunately they were too heavy to take so we had to politely refuse.
But thanks anyway......a very kind soul....
On our way again, North this time, how much more.........how much more do we have to suffer...........
I told you....35 km is perfect............where are you getting 45 km plus, rides from........
You said we would take it easier now as you rode off into the distance.........
Ok,.......this time we will ride slower........so slow that the punctures just kept coming.....

Don't you know that the faster you ride....the less punctures you get????? I mean, obvious isn't it????

The last 6 kms were torture, silence rained (but not rain drops) ...all we could hear was Dudi's laboured breathing....get well soon.......but as always all good things must come to an end, and so did this ride.

I had a great ride, the area is very beautiful and will be much more so when the rains come and I will definitely be doing this one again.

By the way, we passed a pomegranate orchid and apart from the colours making an amazing contrast with the surrounding scenery, it was just a great sight to see. So Happy New Year to one and all and the next ride will be much much mucho!!!!!

And now a missive from Jonno the famous bunny-hopper

There was dissention in the ranks as the distance kept increasing
Dudi wasn't feeling well and Max wasn't Nurit pleasing
With Yoram tardy for his lunch and Amos always smiling
The ride kept going on and on and the complaints just keep on piling

We crossed a mighty fallen bough that Jonno bunny-hopped
And then a spate of punctures hit so in our tracks we stopped
We rode through loosely gravelled hills - we slipped and we would slide
But on our bikes we all would stay - no falls on our back-side

Eventually our journey ends, we were thinking of our homes
We dismounted from our dusty bikes and stretched our weary bones
To all the group and families, we send a wish of A
Happy New Year to one and all - Shana Tova umetuka!

P.S. I enjoyed the ride too!


Comments:

Statistics:
Total ride: 49 kms
Total ascent: 560 meters
Actual riding time: 3:50 hrs
Avr speed: 12.5 km/hr
Fastest speed recorded on my GPS: 48.1 km/hr

Ride Blog by Jonathan - 10 Sep - Yarden Hahariri





The ride this week left from Karkum, in the hills above the Kinneret, riding through the Galilee and eventually joining the Jordan River and back to our starting point. Just 5 of us this time - we left together in the very early morning in Amos' car and made it up to Karkum in very fast time.

The first part of the ride was quite hard - a long, fairly gradual climb with a few steep parts in the middle. The air was very heavy, no breeze and although temperatures weren't yet high, it was a very hot and sweaty start to the day.

A few stops, photo-ops, early morning banter and we eventually found ourselves in Tuba Zangariya, a delightful Arab town that roughly translates as the "Florence of the Galil". Fortunately this time, the route took us there directly and not via the sewered fields of Kfar Hanassi. A short debate ensured - was the village Druz, Bedouin, etc - but whatever it is, it is quite a jewel. We rode around homes for a while looking for our way out and marveled that you just can't see views like that in Switzerland.
From "Tuba", we rode through hills - up and down - Stas had the first of two punctures and we eventually made it to the banks of the Jordan River, after passing through the tow of Elifelet that had miraculously relocated itself from just south of Hadera. A perfect site for a rest: no noisy crowds this time - we had the place to ourselves. Water was fantastically refreshing and we all had a swim.

We then climbed a little and basically followed a path overlooking the Jordan back to our starting point. The last 4-5 Km's were a slow, gradual climb that we did in fast time, making an excellent workout. Puffing and panting we reached the car and Amos faithfully drove us all back home.

A great work-out and terrific scenery. Not the hardest ride we've ever done (being a smaller group, it was much faster than the previous time round) but hard enough to to tire us out - especially after starting at 4:30!

We rode through an area that was visited by Jesus
The sun was quite hot and there weren't any breezes
We swam in the Jordan
Ate our food we were hoardin'
And rode back to the car just as fast as you pleases

Comments:

Statistics:
Total ride: 39 kms
Total ascent: 550 meters
Actual riding time: 2:39 hrs
Avr speed: 14.5 km/hr
Fastest speed recorded on my GPS: 49.7 km/hr

Ride Blog by Max - 3 Sep - Bet Guvrin





Grapes of Lachish We rode on gradual uphills, wide paths and dust tracks, through newly ploughed fields, looking for old trails, now gone under a farmers tractor. From Tel Borna to Tel Lachish we rode, passing through Yar haMalachim for a break. Not enough ascents so added one more just for me and lo and behold I was followed by all.

Grapes of Lachish, green, red, round and elongated, not the stuff you buy in the super. Sweet juicy, succulent and tasty. Tuscany ....our very own.

Grapes of Lachish...a good work out ...deceptive undulating climbs.

Good to be back with our friends

Next week .....The Jordan river....swimming and riding.......see you then.

Comments:

Statistics:
Total ride: 36 kms
Total ascent: 550 meters
Actual riding time: 2:40 hrs
Avr speed: 13.9 km/hr
Fastest speed recorded on my GPS: 49.4 km/hr

Ride Blog by Max - 20 Aug - Shoeva to Maale Hahamisha





36 minutes from home, and parked in Shoeva, the start of another wonderful riding experience.
The beginning was a breathtaking ascent, breathtaking in the sense that no breath was available
The end was a breathtaking ascent........same as above
In the middle.....well there was a bit of everything, from wonderful views overlooking Palestine, seeing Abu Gosh from above, long sweeping descents allowing a good speed build up, climbs that caused heart rate to fly out of the window, and generally 37 kms of great riding. The Garmin GPS says we climbed 832 meters but using various correctional programs , the actual climb was probably nearer 650 meters. None the less, it still was quite a hard ride.

The ride took us from Shoeva up to Ein Limon, which in previous rides was our watering hole, then through Ein Rafah and Ein Nequba , two seperate towns, formerly one but now seperated.
We passed alongside Ein Tamar, now a national park in which there are 2 natural pools but now requires payment to enter.
Then over Highway 1 and into Abu Gosh climbing towards Mount Adar and Mount Haruach. We passed on the way very near one of our more difficult routes (the Itlah ride).

From a distance, overlooking Abu Gosh we saw the statue of the Madonna with Child, standing by the Arc of the covenant, in the Church of Holy Mary, built in 1924 over a 5th century Byzantine basilica..........memories of Argentina.....

From here we traversed the hills above Maale Hahamisha overlooking the Seperation Fence, in one way a very beautiful place but sadly a seperation line from our neighbours.
We continued uphill and downhill through shady forests towards Nahal Kisalon and then to Mevaserret.
Back over highway 1, not actually climbing the Castel, through Motsa, passed the apple orchids and down to Ein Tsuva, locked as usual. Continuing, from here we rode around Givat Yaarim to our last climb back to the cars.

All in all a well paced ride, plenty of wonderful views and surprisingly enough the early morning was coolish, dryish and very comfortable to ride in, later on it got quite hot.

Next week we will be riding in the Swiss Alps (anyone who want to join us is welcome), so no organised ride. We will be posting pics and a blog so keep reading.

AND now from the Maizel pen:

It was a smaller group this time
We rode just four of us
Amos, Max and Jonathan
Joined by Mr Gadget - Stas

With new machines for tracking routes
By GPS along the way
We'd stop and hear the progress as
Stas took out his toys to play

We reached our highest point five times,
Each said with great compassion
Stas showed the proof of it upon
The screen of his contraption

When Max said "left" and Stas said "right"
We took the route that Stas had found
But then he stopped and said "Oh oops"
So we had to turn around

We finally finished, 3 of us
Along with our urologist
But with all we sit on hard bike seats
We really need a team proctologist

Next time we go out on our rides
With equipment new and old
Let's hope our human GPS
Will have recovered from her cold!

Comments:

Statistics:
Total ride: 37 kms
Total ascent: 832 meters,
Actual riding time: 3.00 hrs
Avr speed: 12.3 km/hr
Fastest speed recorded on my GPS: 47.8 km/hr

Ride Blog by Max - 13 August - Nahal Maarot and singles around Ofer





Amos came and fetched us, the time was 05.15 a.m.
We drove to Ein Carmel, 3 guys and one petit femme,
Arranged the bikes, attached the gps's
Crossed the road and started our excesses.

Along the river Maarot, we rode quite a lot
Pictures we took, finding the right spot
A winter's morning in August, cool and dry
Views of high caves as we ride by

Through Emek Maharal we rode, along trails simply plateaued
Passing Kerem Maharal, and to Makura in downhill mode
Then ascend and ascend we flew
A long stony trail we rode...phew !!

Through myriad trails, brambles, bushes and rocks
we clambered, swore and took stock
Towards Ofer we climbed
On non trails and non tracks
that our leader had found...dear max !!!

Picnic we needed and picnic we took
After sitting on four chairs, the pictures will show
Then singles we looked for and singles we found
Technical all mountain with drops we rode round

Towards the end, the sun beating down
Giraffes in the distance, Nurit saw it, greyish brown
We all belived her, she's always right
GPS is her name, a leader's delight

Then the end, and brambles again
pushing us down, a mad scramble began
Bikes on our shoulders feet slipping down
A four by four track, what rubbish...we frown

Found a single, thank KKL for their work
100 meters, height difference to decend
We made it with a smile
38 kms if not a mile
and 730 meters we manged to climb

Sorry Jono, you couldn't be here
but your rhymes carry on
by a poet, not named ..lear , here, here !!



Comments:

From the pen of Jonathan...........
"chapeau!"

בעיון רב קראתי
The rhymes from your ride
ודי התרשמתי
From the effort applied

It helps if you count
את מספר התנועות
So that lines sound the same
לא ארוכות, לא קצרות

בשבת אז אולי
I hope to be back
עם אופן, נעליי
And a pack on my back


Nurit wrote:
יונתן יש לך מתחרה רציני אבל אהבתי את השילוב בין העברית והאנגלית .....
Statistics:
Total ride: 37 kms
Total ascent: 730 meters

Ride Blog by Max - 6 August - Nahal Gahar and singles





Thanks, Amos, you picked us up at 05.15 with a nice cheery smile, even though we know you had a hard week. We are with you and all the family.
Arrived at designated meeting place at 06.00. Yoram already there, seemed he slept there all night !!! Welcome back from Lita...........next biking holiday ????
Stas arrived, welcome back from biking in Switzerland ..........
So...we set off, GPS primed, maps ready, to find singles and uphills!!
We rode over paths travelled in the past, through forests, my favourite, and all the time trying to understand the trail I had mapped out. Missed the first bit so found a single not on the trail, did that and began to climb......very very humid, very very sweaty. Wind not woken up yet....but neither had the sun.
Sunrise very beautiful but the heating elements were on medium.

got to the summit of the first part then freewheeled downhill basically to start of ride. Deliberated with Stas and decided to climb again back to summit and continue from there.
Then found a sharp uphill single.....short but breath taking.......well no breath left at the top.
Then it was up a bit and down a long smooth flowing single, then up a bit more and then another smooth flowing single, a bit like snakes and ladders really........

Our break was in Ein Faror on the banks of the River Hashofet and it is a very special oasis.....all that was missing was a lake to swim in and some good black coffee......!!!

Gradually we made our way over to Yokneam (we missed you by the way.......) and into the last single.........aptly names the "Hann" as the start was an abandoned way point.

In all the singles only one drop (about 40 cms) and Amos balked at the thought.
Well i said........"no way are you NOT going to do this" .....so we walked him through it and then like an experienced jockey, he whipped his steed and came done that drop like as if there had been no drop.

By 10.00 we were back at the cars and as one they all said "perfect"........well...apart from Amos, Max and maybe Stas.
A great ride, some confusion but good fun.

Comments:

Statistics:
Total ride: 25 kms
Total ascent: 510 meters
Actual riding time: 2:21
Avr speed: 10.5 km/hr
Fastest speed recorded on my GPS: 31.6 km/hr

Ride Blog by Max - 30 July - Springs and Singles





Parked in Ein Karem, Amos, Jonathan, Gideon,Rami, Nurit and myself.
Bikes readied and off we jolly well went.
First single from Ein Karem up to Bet Holim Hadassa....called the Hadassa Trail
Mostly rideable, two or three places a bit less rideable
Stole ourselves under the locked gate (do they think someone will steal Hadassa??)
Up the road a piece and into the Springs single. A delightful trail mostly shaded with Ein Tamar and Ein Uzi as the main attractions.
Then a sharp ascent to visit the Kennedy memorial and to open our lungs (and throats as we drank from the coffeened thermos of Rami) on this decidedly warm to boiling day. (actually not too bad...........for some!!).
A discussion about bikes, All mountain versus XC........carbon versus whatever........
Amos found himself on the ground after petting Jonathan's wheel..........no bruises incurrred.
Down towards Saadim and into the IMBA single. A fast flowing well laid out single.......then onto the wide path to begin our ascents.........
One more DH single to do............very inhospitable.......even walking down the harsh gradient was difficult...........................we did it!!
Up and up we climbed and then more up and more..........good exercise.....hey what?

Ein Levan beckoned.......what a let down............50% water and 50% empty.....another reason to pitch a tent..............
Up we climbed to Ora..........then down on the road to Hadassa and back through the Hadassa single (again) and ice cream..................wonderful wonderful ice cream.
At 20 shekels for 2 scoops....it was a shame to eat it........tourist trap..beware.
Another reason to put up a tent!!
Down the road a piece in Ein Kerem proper, a better place (electrical batteries???) and better prices.

Certificate of outstanding chivalry given to Jonathan for injuies sustained while helping Nurit over wide chasms.
Award given to Amos for most improved bike owner......
Critisism levelled at Max for skimping on Nurit's back tyre......

Certificate of balance given to Gideon for showing us all how to track stand a bike with no hands.


Comments:

Statistics:
Total ride: 28 kms
Total ascent: 790 meters

An ode to the Tour De France - by Jonathan





Kicked off my shoes and raised my legs
Then sat in front of telly
I poured a beer and salted chips
For the Tour de France I'm ready

I watched the men ride up the hills
That only Herucles could climb
Then catapult themselves back down
At speeds quite death-defying

With crashes, pile ups and bad weather
The torture was incessant
The winner kissed by two blonde girls
Was the one thing they found pleasant

What makes these men compete like this?
Of what are they all made?
They must be strong and muscly
Full of courage and so brave

And after all was said and done
With the yellow worn by Evans
It was a shock to hear his voice
Just like a kid, by heavens

This man who'd beaten all the field
And done what only few can do
Sounds like he'd be much more at home
Playing footy in his school

It goes to prove the age old truth
That whether north or south
You must be careful not to judge
A ride by his mouth

Ride Blog by Max - 23 July - Adolam





Amos picked us up at 05:15 and 45 mins later we were preparing the bikes for the ride.
Climbed the first ascent to the beginning of the Adolam single and then a fast ride all the way to the junction with the Kanim single.
Amos is riding his super smooth IBIS carbon and it is a cool ride.
The weather was perfect, cloudy and a nice breeze all the way. At the break on top of Atari Amos was cold.......

We rode on the continuation of the Adolam single and arrived at the junction with Bourgin on our left.

Amos saw a hill, so did I, and there was a downhill trail straight up. I said we could'nt do it. So i said let's do it.....
4 breaks later to catch our breaths and we were at the summit. Well done Amos.....well done Max and Nurit, well she had more sense and went round the more convential paths and we met at the top after she sustained a wee fall.

From here we found another single, less well looked after and a bit more technical and came down to the same place again. Then on asphalt through kibbutzim, under gates, through vineyards, over bridges and finally a timed sprint back to the cars.

We started at 06:15, we finished at 10:00, in between we managed to do 25 kms and had a great time.... and summer heat stress.......no sign of it.
Next week Saadim and a dip in Ein Levan........

Comments:

Statistics:
Total ride: 25 kms

Ride Blog by Max - 16 July - Tour de Tivon





The Tour de France is well into the big climbs and todays stage was very tactical and very demanding. Over the last 16 kms the average gradient was 8% and the speed that they climbed at was incredible.
Not to be outdone, we rode our own Tour de Tivon, through myriad trails and singles, carved out of the rolling hills of our Alpine Tivon with many twists and turns, some quite unexpected and therefore technically confusing. Knowing the route would definitely allow us more control on these surprises.
Our speeds, somehow did not equate with those of the Tour de France riders.

We met early at 06:15 and managed to finish at 10:00. The ride was good, not overly demanding and the singles were fast flowing smooth with no technical parts. A lot of the ride is in the shade and now that we know the area we will surely return for more fun.

For all you lazy riders, or sun scared or heat stress factor feared, this ride is realy good for the deep summer time.



Comments:

Ride Blog by Jonathan - 2nd July - Gilboa and Singles





This week's ride took us along a newly formed single courtesy of Keren Kayemet. We met at the ski resort – (an artificial ski covering on one of the slopes of the Gilboa overlooking the Jezreel valley) and set up out on a circular route that took us along the top of the Gilboa, down and then gradually back up again.
We were quite a large group this week - 12 in all.

The first part of the ride was fairly technical - narrow twisting paths with plenty of sharp bends. Not too many stones and medium technical difficulty. But the overall trend was climbing - we were basically climbing (albeit gradually) for most of the day. The magnificent views below would come in to sight between the trees - fields, kibbutzim and fishing ponds.
After a while, 3 left us: Moni with a stomach virus, Shimon with a stuck front brake and Amit (apparently he used to ride with Spoke a few years ago) felt an upcoming reunion with his breakfast. We met them back at the starting point when we'd finished - apparently they enjoyed some great downhills on the way back.

The remaining 9 continued. Itzik (back after many absent shabatot) proudly displaying his intimate knowledge of the area after having lived there for 5 years). If you count the number of times he said he'd done each ride, I think we could have accounted for most of his 70+ years, but the arithmetic paled in to insignificance alongside his youthful stamina (amazing!) and enthusiasm.

We had a break after a short and steep uphill during which Nurit gleefully reminded us all that this is the site were Jonathan (as in King David's friend) was killed hence our side of the hill is so barren. We digested that and then set off on a very steep descent down to the kibbutzim (Bet Alpha, Heftziba, Bet Hashita or Yokneam, depending on whose version you're going by...). It wasn't fast - stones and deep ditches were scattered around and it took slow and careful going.
From there, there was only one way back - up. A very slow, gradual single along the thorny paths at the bottom were quite hard going. The wind was against us and by this time the sun was quite hot. Still, we all made it and scaled the last climb up to the "ski" slopes to our cars.

A fantastic trail - only a couple of short steep uphills, but a lot of gradual climbing made it quite a demanding path. The trail was well prepared and the scenery fantastic.
Company was good too.
Highly recommended.

To all those that put pennies in the blue JNF boxes many years ago - making this possible - thanks!

Amos came at ten to 6
To drive me to the ride
But as he pulled up next to me
I saw 3 more inside

We all squashed in, the bikes in back
Some lying and the rest on rack
And we set off in good time
To the hills we were to climb

With Itzik on the left of me
And on the right Shimon Lavie
My knees were bent up to my chin
And I said "that's fine" and tried to grin

We made it there and did our ride
Then we all piled back inside
We hadn't left our place-of-break
When Itzik's legs began to ache

With clothes that sweat had made all damp
He developed a bad case of cramp
Some shouts and curses were in Spanish
But his leg pains could not be banished

He stretched his leg under my nose
On Moni's shoulder placed his toes
And soon he was half standing-up
In the back of Amos' truck

It wasn't until we reached Tzofit
That Itzik could get out and stretch his feet
"Next time" he said as he arched his back
"I'll be sure to bring my Cadillac"

Comments:

Max wrote:
Next time, we climb the Serpentine.........any takers????
Our compliments to KKL who prepared the singles. The trails from Bet Alpha could possible be cleaned up a bit better.




Statistics:
Total ride: 30 kms
Total ascent: 724 meters
Actual riding time: 4:46 hrs
Avr speed: 6.3 km/hr
Fastest speed recorded on my GPS: 38.3 km/hr

Ride Blog by Max - 25 June - A ride for Gilad Shalit



5 years on and unfortunately we are still riding for Gilad Shalit.
Todays ride took us from Binyanei Hauma through Gan Sacher past the Botanical gardens and upto Ramat Rahel.
A photo op on the Olive tree columns is a must and a must it was as Nurit shepherded us around till we were all in place on the steps. Thanks to Bob Marin, the Israeli sculptor for allowing us to "add" to his interesting piece of art.
The first part of our ride was abley led by Professor Ray an amazingly fit rider. We were also joined by lots of new faces and as a group of 21 riders we were able to make our presence felt wherever we rode.
From Ramat Rahel we fast forwarded down hill to the beginning of East Talpiot and then had to climb up through the neighbourhood and eventually arriving at the lookout over Zur Baher and then a quick off road up to the Tolerance sculptor by the Polish sculptor.
Then through the winding paths of Armon Hanatziv to the main lookout over South Jerusalem for a welcome break.
Food eaten and Hylton's bike put back together, we were treated to a message from Nurit reminding us of why we were riding today. Well done Nurit.

Onwards after the break and through the Peace valley to Abu Tor, a visit to an interesting doorway (can doorways be interesting??) and past an Old railway station, past a theatre into the Lion's den past a windmill and then Mamilla. A ride through one of the most expensive shopping malls in Israel. (Nobody stopped to buy anything). Down a serpentine (another one) path and into the old city through the Jaffa gate.

A stop for a photo op and then shouts of.."Where's Ingride..??"
Indeed a good question.......
But she appeared soon after and off we went through the Armenian quarter, past the "Armenian Tavern" and out through the Zion gate where we were heartily clpped by a group of American tourists who realised what we were riding for (after I had told them).
Then to the Kidron valley, a quick view from the top down to Absalom and friends and then upwards, yet again. this time a serpentine with feeling.
Thank G-d we got to the top only to be told ...there's more as we climbed to the top of the Mount of Olives.

Then the lookout over Midabar Yehuda, the Judean desert, and down we went from here through Jarrah and to the support Tent of Gilad Shalit and family.
We were greeted with water, courtesy of "Shoresh" and all of us in our own ways expressed our support for Noam and Aviva Shalit and for Gilad their son.

And now back to yaffa street, renamed Gilad Shalit street, and over the Chords bridge, through the back of Bituach Leumi and into the parking lot for the end of a 36 km ride.

Thanks to everyone who joined us. Hopefully this will be the last of our rides for Gilad Shalit and we all pray for his speedy return to Israel to his family and to normality,

Comments:

Ride Blog by Max - 18th June - From the Kinneret to Zefat



Happy Birthday, dear Jonathan.........and so say all of us.....
What a way to spend your birthday, get up at 04.30 am Saturday morning, drive 1 hour and 30 minutes to the Kinneret and then do an abominable ride climbing up to Tzefat and then in the Spokes honourable tradition, ...climbing up to the Kinneret.
Or so it seemed.
Jonathan, Amos, Nurit and myself rode a very beautiful route, climbing up from Hukuk Petrol station above the Kinneret, passing Har Koor and continuing up to Ramat Razim.
Another 50 meters or so we would have arrived at the Ziv hospital in Tzefat but we turned South parallel to the Razim cliffs and rode through Kfar Achbara with a very new Mosque with a very efficient water cooler.........thanks.

From here we continued downhill on quite a technical trail overlooking Nahal Amud, and rode towards Hukuk
On our left we saw 1000 steps going down into the Nahal. These were built adjacent to the water pipes of Mekorot, which using the physical properties of water always finding it's own level, bring water from one side of Nahal Amud to the other.
These steps are very steep and I do not recommend anyone doing them with a bike.
Did i say... uphill??

So then passed Hukuk and deciding that asphalt is faster than off road trails back down, and then up and then down to the cars.
By the way, if we had finished the route with the planned trail, we would not have had the extra and last uphill!!!
I think that this was one of our hardest climbs.............


Comments:
Jonathan wrote:
Thanks for the birthday wishes. A great ride yesterday - challenging climbing but very rewarding.

Statistics:
Total ride: 32 kms
Total ascent: 925 meters
Actual riding time:
Avr speed: km/hr
Fastest speed recorded on my GPS: 60.4 km/hr

Ride Blog by Jonathan - 28th May 2011 - Burma



The day after a scorcher, forecasts of breaking weather and possible rain - the path this week took us along the Burma Road which was immortalized in the movie Cast a Giant Shadow. Not many shadows this time, though, the sky was very overcast and we had some rain (even some thunder) in the morning. Unfortunately I only had sun-glasses and found visibility extremely hampered.
Max and Nurit are in the pre-wedding (their son's) precautionary period: so no daredevil descents or tricky climbs; no thorny paths or improvised shortcuts to keep arms scratch-free. Given the rendezvous point of Kfar-Uria, Stas's participation was a given (our pedaling urologist) and Yoram, Gidi and Jonathan rounded out the group. No Shimon G, no Amos - so no coffee and cakes in our break. Tough times indeed!

The ride took us round and round, going up and down the beautiful hills of the area. Some were quite steep, but not too long - overall it wasn't one of the hardest rides we've done, though there were some challenging parts. We passed many historical sights and lookouts along the way and even more "mangalim" being set up. We managed to charm the picnickers with our regular sparkling humor and were invited to join many of the bar-be-ques but our eyes were on the trails ahead, so we blazed on through our path.
Our break was in the hills on benches that were reserved for a birthday party. We eyed the couple setting up, closely examined their "Poyke Pot" (it said so on the lid) and proceeded to engage in an engrossing conversation. All stories were of course monitored and carefully censored for minimum interest level (mine clearly didn't make the grade
- ask Nurit for details).

By that point, the skies had cleared and the temperature had started to rise. We rode on quickly through the remainder of the trail and back to our cars just as the day started to really warm up. Back home in good time - with plenty of hours to rest, eat and watch Barcelona. A good workout, no falls, scratches or injuries.

Plans are all in place for the wedding: we're fully informed of the status of the deck, the choice of the dress, guests, seating arrangements and overseas visitors.
On behalf of all Spokers - good luck with the remaining preparations and we look forward to seeing you on Sunday on the Big Day. If speeches are kept to the standard of our break-time banter, it should really be a night to enjoy.
Mazaltov to all!!

Comments:

Statistics:
Total ride: 24.5 kms
Total ascent: 606 meters
Actual riding time: 3 hrs and 28 mins
Avr speed: 7 km/hr
Fastest speed recorded on my GPS: 44.9 km/hr

Ride Blog by Max - 21 May - Nofit & Shimshit



It started as a ride from Nofit down to the Tzippori river, then over to Alonei Abba for a couple of singles and then back via various trails in the area.
But then Shimshit reared it's head again and not ever having been there, I decided to combine the two.
Thanks to Google Earth, a plan was made, paths were drawn and an approximate route was born from Nofit via the Tzippori single into the Alonei Abba single and then into the Shimshit single. All in all 45 kms of great riding, not too technical and not too many steep ascents and we all managed to do it in good humour and with only one broken chain.

Stas with his new Garmin copied the route from me and was quite happy to lead the way and correct me where I deviated from my plan.
Gideon and Rami joined us again and apart from being great riders, they also supplied good black coffee.........always welcome........
Amos and Moni are preparing themselves for their Georgian trip.......keep fit.....
Yoram brought along his brother Dudi.......another very fit rider....who battled the Tzippori river and lost. (Only a broken chain).
And of course Itzik who is still amazing us with his fitness and manages to ride with 35 supermarket bags in one form or the other to carry his food, toiletries and other Itzik required necessities.
Lastly, my GPS'it who managed every hard climb, better than most of us and who is now 99% wedding orientated.
All in all 10 good strong riders, a great route and great weather (for the mid/end of May).
No poem from Jonathan, he stayed in bed....some excuse about returning from abroad in the wee hours of the morning!!!!!!!!

Comments:

Gideon wrote:
Hi Nurit and Max,
I would like to thank you once again for the exciting bike trip today, Nofit & Shimshit and the wonderful pictures. It's our second trip with you, not easy but challenging.
Looking forward for the next trip


Jonathan wrote:
I noticed on your web site
A disparaging remark
About not writing poetry
The day I disembarked

We got back home at 4am
Lacking sleep and feeling hazy
I thought of going for a ride
But Joanne said I'd be crazy

We had a week in Italy
Of ice creams, wine and pasta
I have to lose some weight now so
My riding can get faster

We saw many riders on their bikes
Along the scenic plains
Green hills, clear skies and deep blue seas
Though next to Horsashim it all seems tame

Back at home and back to norm,
The trip's a distant past
The same old news and Sunday blues:
How a week can go so fast!

Ride Blog by Jonathan - 7th May - Machtesh Ramon and Sahronim



The alarm bells rang at half past four
The sun had not yet risen
We drove down south near Mizpe Ramon
Passing by the Nafha prison

We reached a site among the hills
In the deep south Arava
At Ein Saharonim we stopped:
We'd really driven far

The sky was dark with looming clouds
A desert breeze was blowing
Nurit served coffee and cake
While we unpacked the bikes the cars were towing

The paths were sandy and multi-coloured
Which lead Shimon to expound
Upon the etymology of "red"
- to do with Esau, so he found

We had a break beneath a tree
And Nurit found a stone
Just like the Koh-i-Nor, she thought
We all marveled at its tone

Then I undug a smooth round pebble
I thought it quite a catch
But Nurit said it looked as smooth
As the top of my bald patch

We then set off and scaled more hills
Some were very high and steep
The new guy Vladi did the best
While us others struggled up to keep

The grande finale was left to
Up to Mizpe, all the way
We got up top and had ice-creams
A great end to another great day

P.S.

There was no room for dog and me
In Max and Nurit's jeep
So once again I wedged myself
Between Shimons L and G

With cramped up legs and aching back
They had to peal me from the seat
It took an hour and a half
Till I could stand up straight upon my feet



Comments:

Statistics:
Total ride: 29 km
total ascent: 760 meters (300 meters ascent in 4.5 kms from the Machtesh up to Mitzpe Ramon).

I (max) just have to mention one item. Vladi, weighing in at 55 kg has promised me personally to put on weight before he joins us again for another ride. Amazing rider.......

Ride Blog by Max - 6th May 2011 - Ein Akev



Ein Akev.
One of the most beautiful natural, all the year round, springs that we have discovered in Israel and it is in the Negev.
We've been here before, but always with the 4x4 and this was the first time we visited on the bikes.

We started in Sde Boker in the University grounds, and we rode East towards Maale Zin. Basically a long downhill section full of little stones but still rideable (for some).
Having got down the bottom the ride became very enjoyable. The scenery is unbelievable, the colours are amazing and the weather was perfect for this time of the year.
The spring itself feeds an open pond, always clear water and always full.
A must for swimmers but breath takingly cold.
The ride back follows the winding river beds until the internal road is reached between Avdat and Sde Boker. A wicked climb but asphalt saved the day and we managed to return safely to the top......the Sde Boker Midreshet.
Anyone in the area who fails to visit this pond is loosing out on one of the prettiest spots in the South.


Comments:

Ride Blog by Max - 30 April - Gezer and Carme Yosef



The Rains in israel do not stop until at least the 30th April.
We can attest to this fact and we have pictures to prove the same.
The Yarkon mud is world famous for its excellent "sticking" properties. Now we will soon be marketing a new brand, aptly named for its Biblical reference. We will be calling it the "Joseph Carrot" mud. A mud which surpasses its Yarkon brother, both in specific gravity and it's "attachment" qualities.
Added to this excellent quality mud, we mixed a type of wheat and produced a bike stopping formula of unknown dimensions.
And now the rain.
Buckets of it, but in short time zones. Just enough to thoroughly drench us.
BUT, did we falter??
NO sir. Onwards we pushed, through bramble and prickle, paths which were are no longer, but using our steeds as scythes, we ploughed our way through and managed to stay on the GPS route, carefully planned by the bearded one!!!
All in all a great day out, full of laughter, fun and total satisfaction....... well nearly!!!!!.

Comments: Statistics:
Total ridden: 23 kilmetres.
Total ascent: 450 meters.
Total weight accumulated: 41 kilo per person
Total laughter factor: 8.6 (especially when Nurit saw my bike).


Ride Blog by Jonathan - 23 April - Nahal Shilo



We met at our new gathering spot in Kfar-Saba, next to the newly-discovered Sde Hemed on a very cloudy and quite dark morning. The sky was quite threatening, but as it turned out, the weather could not have been better. It got sunnier as the ride progressed, with enough cloud cover and a cool breeze that kept us somewhat warm despite the strenuous ride.

The first part of the ride took us along the Kane river and to Antipatrus, where our path was block by a locked gate. Yoram spotted a trail (of sorts) to the left, which we took - it was barely rideable, overgrown thorns, weeds and brush, but we made it through eventually.
Max stopped for some field surgery to extract a thorn from his hand, Amos was stung by something and we decided to get out of there quickly. We then made our way by the the Baptists Village and then to Nahshomin, where the hard work started.

A stony climb up in to the forest of Park Nahshon got us panting, we continued to climb around El-Ad and then entered a long and very stony descent with plenty of bumps and steps. That took us to Nahal Shiloh, where we had a well-earned break next to "the tree" (just about the only one in the park). No sign of the chair that was prepared for Nurit with great chivalry last time so we just sat on the trail.

We then started a very hard climb - some very steep and very stony parts that were almost impassable but we managed (with occasional walking) to make it through unscathed. Then came another stony descent (you may notice the word "stony" appears many times - not without reason!) that eventually left us near Rosh HaAyin in more familiar territory. I had a fall along the way - one big bruise and many (still un-extracted) prickles, but other than that no damage was done. From there, we rode our regular ride in reverse, as we climbed out of the Rosh HaAyin park, passed by Kfar Kasem, through a single in Horeshim to the kibbutz and back home through Sde Hemed.

It was a long ride (Max will provide stats below) - with very few easy kilometers. Even the descents were tricky and demanded a lot of concentration and there were plenty of climbs in between them.
It's great riding area - despite the physical effort. Technical riding, countryside that is still green and more beautiful than Tuscany. And of course plenty of good exercise.

We made it back home for lunch with weary legs (and some sore shoulders for some reason) with plenty of time to get out the tweasers and pluck thorns from our hands.

A short poem this time, in the spirit of Ogden Nash.
It's titled: Stones.
"Nahshonim has millions of 'em"

Stats from the GPS of Max:
Distance ridden: 52 km...(Amos about 60 km)
Total Ascent: 588 meters
Av Speed:13.6 km/hr (which is bloody good). actual Riding time: 3hrs 51 mins.

Ride Blog by Max - 16th April - Amatzia Lachish בלוג רכיבה על ידי שם?? – תאריך – מקום??



Statistics first
14 of us climbed a total of 579 meters, in actual riding time of 2 hours and 23 minutes and covered 33 kms (as promised) with the fastest speed recorded (on my GPS) of 50.3 km/h.
The Lachish area is most famous for the ancient city of "Lachish" first built in about 800 B.C. (probably before) and then subsequently abandoned and rebuilt through the ages . One of the first mentions of this once great city is in Mic 1:13
"Bind the chariot to the swift steed, O inhabitant of Lachish"
It is obvious from this reference that they knew then of the coming of "spokes" and so we did, as we rode through the "O so green" valleys, climbed the hills and sped through singles made passable by ancient ways.

Greetings to those who joined us for the first time, and hopefully we all behaved well enough for you to join us again.
Amazingly enough, no punctures or other faults were reported and apart from a couple of scratches no injuries to body or steed.
We deviated from the actual planned route quite a lot but still managed to return to the cars within the allotted kilometrage and time. The Gad hill will have to wait for next time. All in all a great ride in a great area and we managed to see one jackal, 4 or 6 gazelles, one buzz (or something similar), 2 "Myriapoda" (many footed) and 2,567 ants.
By the way another name for many footed animals is "POLYPEDAL", with the POLY part meaning "many" and the PEDAL standing for Performance, Energetics, Dynamics of Animal Movement.........surely another way of describing what the "spokers" do !!!

And then the heat........we are coming into the Summer months and water will again become a major issue.
Everyone must bring with them at least 3 litres of water (most backpacks carry a 3 liter water bag). It as also important to maintain some sort of water discipline so that not all the water is consumed within the first hour. On very hot days an extra bottle in the bike frame is also a good idea.



Comments:

Ride Blog by Max - 2 April 2011 - Narbata



Was it 05.45 or 04.45 or 06.45 when we got up?
What with the moving and all, it was beginning to get confusing.......
Still we got there on tome and surprise surprise ...Itzik was there......great!!
Six of us rode, uphill, downhill, through the fields of Narbata and along the Wadi of the same name.
Green was the dominating colour and plenty different shades too.
Flowering while less than the majestic sights of the last month still enabled us to enjoy all that Israel has to offer. Soon all will turn to brown and will whither and die.......but only to welcome us once again next year about the same time.

The trails were great, nearly no mud so Amos was smiling all the way.
Nurit who for the past week complained of being so out of Kosher (fitness) was behind me on every uphill......(behind every good man, there's a good woman.!!!!!)
Moni zoomed down every good hill we could find and I seem to remember him "coming" on one of the faster downhills.......Amos recorded 61 km/h.
Itzik while quiet still managed to ride back and forth ...but this was to retrieve certain goodies that had fallen from his saddle bag.
And Yoram......a week of being sick in bed with a bad cold seemed to have had no effect on his stamina and he rode like a lion.....
....... which brings us back to the Lion's Canyon.....a magnificent area and the Winter colours made it so much more enticing. Racefot still manged to peek out of every rock and here and there bunches of Calaniot reddened our horizons considerably.
All in all a great days riding and the promised Sharav never did quite appear.

Comments:

Ride Blog by Max - 26 Mar 2011 - Ein Gev & Ramat HaGolan



All I wanted to say was........"start without me!!! as I totally overslept.
The last 2 weeks had been pretty hectic as we moved from our house in Hod Hasharon to our garden flat in Kfar Saba.
2 weeks of building, of extensions, of packing and then unpacking, takes all your energy and then not too much is left for the ride
Still Saturday came and and Amos fetched me and Jonathan and Shimon G and off we went to the North to Ein Gev.
Bikes all prepared, we started our climb up to the Rama, up the serpentine path from Ein Gev. A climb which caused all of us to sweat profusely, but cetainly a good challenge.
Shimon G amazes us all with his built in fitness level even though he has not ridden for 4 weeks.
The climb took us to the back entrance of Susita, which was a great place for coffee and a little chat with 2 German visitors. Then down the other side of the hill to join the asphalt and another long climb to join the off road path up to Tel Soreg. Then through various trails ,passing Afik and Neot Golan, then through the cow sheds of Bnei Yehuda and out the front entrance for a long ride towards El Ad.
From here the plan was to walk/ride through the single path down to the White waterfall but after about an hour of shlepping the bikes, the majority decided to forego on the waterfall and to continue the ride.
The next part of the trip was a walking climbing down experience through Nettles, brambles, over rocks which could not been seen and generally wading through waist high foliage down a 45 degree slope to get to the El Al stream.
Again an hour's struggle thrrough the very deep river bed foliage, and then a wet walk through the Nahal eventually brought us to the next part of the trail.
In the meantime my inner thigh muscles had seized but braving all, we started our climb up from the Nahal and after passing throu, round and over enormous puddles we eventually found ourselves, wet, muddied and very very tired at the final stretch of the ride, on asphalt down to Ein Gev.
The flowering was amazing. The plethora of flowers and colours was wonderful and the greens of the Rama were well worth the effort of this ride.
For all those Nature lovers, out there.....this is the time to take advantage of the weather and to see all the beauty that Israel is able to offer us.
980 meters climbed.
38 kms ridden
and riding time of 7 hours.....I am tired!!!!!

AND NOW for our resident poet......

We climbed the mighty hill
That goes up to Susita
The view up there was really grand
There's nothing that could beat her

Once up on top we climbed some more
Our pace dropped to a crawl
We took a break side a lake
Above the El-Al waterfall

From there we turned to go back down
A descent that was precipitous
We blazed through bushes, brush and thorns
That never ceased to scratch-all-us

We'd ford the river down below
And nearly sank in mud
Our legs were itching from the thistles
And our arms were dripping blood

But finally we made it through
We saw our long-lost path
With legs in cramp and shoes all damp, With spirits high (I do not lie),
Lungs out of air, we're worse for ware, With muddy knees and muscles
seized, And filthy bikes after our hikes
We made it home by dark

A GREAT RIDE!!

Comments:

Hi,
Hope you've recovered - I thought it was a great ride yesterday! Really enjoyed it.
Jonathan

Ride Blog by Jonathan - 5th March 2011 - Tulips in Horshim



With Max and Nurit moving house
We chose a local ride
Out to Horeshim and back
By 12 we'll be inside

We started out through Elishema
We knew the way - no doubts
Under the bridge and up again
Then we sought our whereabouts

Was Sde Hemed where it always was
Ahead and to the right
Or had some bandits come again
And moved it in the night?

Outvoted all to one it was
(Including passers-by)
I'll have to check on Google Maps
Or see a doctor of the eye

We scaled the hills at Horeshim
And Amos served coffee
With lush green hills and rakefot
It looked like Tuscanny

Then to our great excitement
Amos saw some tulips, red
The first ones Nurit's ever seen
Growing wild and not bred

We continued up the hill
It felt the wrong way round
We were climbing up and up with
All the young kids going down

We reach a point along the way
Where Max turned then said "Oh!
Let's go down here along the banks
Of a river called Shiloh"

Some long and winding single tracks
Up and down all sort of stones
We emerged near Rosh Ha'Ayain then
We turned our bikes for home


Comments:
The only riders doing all the singles in Horshim ....uphill
Were those of the Spokes..doing their ride...untill
they came across those bright red ....Tulip flowers
So bold, so strong ...like bright mini towers
Why go so far when nearby is such an adrenaline "frill"

Brilliant ride, brilliant difficult technical climbing paths, great singles and flowers and greenery that are truly amazing.

Ride Blog by Jonathan - 26 Jan 2011 - Horshim and Racafot



The rain came down in buckets
And the wind blew hard and gusted
We met with great resolve and grit
Five riders - keen as mustard

We did the ride through Horashim
And saw lots of rakafot
We braved the mud and fought the wind
Just like old Lancelot

At every stop along the way
Gidi shed some clothes
His bag was bursting at the seams
How it fit in no-one knows

We had a break atop a hill
With flowers all around
Two hikers briskly strolled nearby
And we were bothered by their hound

Nurit graphically described
Her bruises from last week
She told us that the black and blue
Spread through her whole left cheek

A small detour around the park
Then for our homes we set
The sun was peeping through the clouds
And we hadn't got too wet



Comments:
Max:
Wot rain? One tenth of a bucket......you call that rain!!
Well it probably is ..if you compare it to Bahrain
Wind ? Gust? Maybe a wee breeze
But not enough to cause a good sneeze
Flowers aplenty Racafot and Calanyot
But not so colourful as Nurit's right Bot.

Well rhymed dear Jono!!!!

and Jonathan continues:

The written line
Becomes a rhyme
With every ride we take
A witty report,
A scratchy retort
What's next - for goodness sake?

But just one thought
To ask I ought
While writing this tonight:
From her recent fall
On rocks and all
Is Nurit's bruise on left or right?

Ride Blog by Jonathan - 19th Feb - The Red Camel (Arad to Massada)



We met in the town of Arad to ride through the desert along a trail called the Red Camel finishing up next to Massada.
There were 11 in the group - some regulars and some that we haven't seen for a while: Beni (proudly atop a new Giant), Avraham, Shimon L and Uri - who together with Yoram looked a little like Optimus Prime in their protective gear.

Anyway it was a beautiful spring day (though we're still in winter) - sun was shining and blue skies. We started with a rapid descent on road down to the start of the trail and then turned in to the Negev.
The familiar Negev landscape - hills and rivers, all comprised almost completely of stones. There were stones, rocks and boulders of all shapes and sizes: Max had given instructions (warning?) about how to navigate them, which was mainly keep up speed and not to try to avoid them all. Some of the path was rideable, some not and we rode, walked and climbed along our trail. Technical riding prize of the day went to Avraham (Stas was a close runner-up) who showed us how steep, slippery descents can be handled (having a center of gravity only 2'6" above the ground is also an advantage).

The views along the way were sometimes really spectacular, with some fantastic panoramic views overlooking the Dead Sea and the moon-like hills of the desert. We didn't see any red camels, but did pass plenty of their brown relatives, goats and donkeys in the Bedouin villages along the way. The highlight was of course Mt Yonatan: souring to its majestic heights above the landscape, with its snow-capped peak surrounded by clouds (well, almost).

The first 2/3 of the trail was not too hard physically, but a few hard climbs towards the end had us all breathing heavily. Still, the going was quite slow: plenty of punctures (3 or 4) and a broken chain meant that it was about 14:00 by the time we reached the end of the trail near Massada. A minibus was summoned which drove us up the long climb back to Arad (a few of us did a little extra-curricula climbing until the bus showed up). We probably finished just in time: on the way back to Arad, the wind picked up, the air became dusty and visibility dropped. But by that time, we were already thinking of our coffee in Lehavim.

All in all a great day (desert routes typically are, I think), good exercise and good company.

Comments:

Max: Just a couple of statistics.
We rode 24 kms
We climbed 375 meters and descended 995 meters.

Ride Blog by Max - 12 Feb - Ashkelon to Gvaram



A nice day but a previously wet week = mud.
But deliberations aside we decided to go for the ride.
Mud we got. Brown gooey and sticky.
Buy Fox shocks and the front space between the shocks and the tyres is good, meaning a possibility to ride even with sticky mud.
We started in Kfar Silver and started riding to Brechia where we managed to say Shabat Shalom to half of the Moshav.We rode East through pleasant fields with nearly rideable paths, muddy but not tooooo bad, eventually arriving at the botanical Gardens built in memory of Tom and Tomer, two of the 73 boys killed in the Helicopter crash of Feb 4th 1997.
A quick ride around and we all listened in rapt attention to the recorded story of this terrible incident. The garden was thought up and planted with the aid of various organisations by the fathers of Tom and Tomer.

From here we rode South past the old quarry which is now being filled in using rubbish from the surrounding areas, then through a short single and then we hit the nasty brown stuff which caused a lot of evil sounds to emanate from the riders . We continued on, stopping often to clean off the mud to enable our bikes to keep rolling but it became obvious that the white trails of crushed stone were very much needed.
I changed the plan and tried to find a different way to get to Gvaram but still to go pass the oil fields and pumps.
Well most of the way became a mess and at one point Amos's trusty Mondraker broke it's Ear (as in rear derailleur hanger).
Well when the bike is totally encrusted with thick gooey mud, then this simple operation becomes more complicated. However we managed to fix it, even though the hanger supplied to Amos was not the correct one, and the chain connector was not the right size. Apart from these minor problems, all ended happily.

At this point we decided to cut short the ride as it was taking us much longer than planned but still we had to fight our way through more mud and big swimming pool size puddles, eventually coming out at Bet Shikma where a welcome hose pipe allowed us to wash off most of the mud from the bikes and then a ride parallel to the railway tracks to the Ashkelon station brought us back to Kfar Silver.
Time was 14.00 when we finished a 33 km ride but we were all still able to raise a smile at the end.
XC riding is full of surprises.

Comments:

Ride Blog by Max - 22 Jan 2011- Luzit & Lachish



Third time lucky. We've tried to finish this route twice in the last 2 years and each time we never quite made it to the end. Either we shortened it or it shortened us.
Chains got stuck in the cogs, punctures galore but that was .........now we are attempting to do it again.
First of all let me tell you how green it is. Everywhere we look it is green. It only takes a couple of days of rain and all of a sudden the Summer brownness has evaporated and we are blessed with many shades of green green and green.

AND blue ....did I tell you about the blue sky........so so beautiful........
All in all a perfect day out.
We rode singles, we climbed mountains, downhills we sped and air seeped out of Yoram at every place (in every place?...from every place???). Eventually requiring an inner to be inserted in a tubeless wheel.
We managed to climb up to 2 look out points both filled with Tu B'Shvat visitors enjoying the wonderful weather and taking in the very beautiful scenery that surrounded us on all sides.

We rode past the Luzit caves, up to the massua (?) down a great single to Hirbet Zora. then another single, steep and technical in the beginning but fast flowing further down. Then through the free roaming singles in the fields around Bet Nir and then crossing the road and riding up Tel Zofit...the hard way...of course.....then South and through the back entrance to Luzit and the cars.

Comments:
693 meters climbed
36 kms ridden
5 hours of total riding, breaks and punctures
3 hours actual riding
max speed I recorded was 39 km/hr.
A good day's exercise...I think....don't you???

Ride Blog by Max - 15 Jan - Haifa



The weather forecast is a very confusing thing. Rain expected, floods in the South Rain at night in the Sharon area. So what do we do....cancel??
No we, sms a friend in the North at 24.30 who tells us that no rain has fallen North of Natanya.
Ok at 05.15, dark outside.......do we ride. looked at the forecast .....no rain received in the North so we go.......a quick affirmative sms to all the riders on the list and its time to get ready......

The drive to Haifa was pretty quick and allowed us time to buy some coffee before the ride. We all arrived on time and Yoram in his splendid outfit with crocs to match has to be the photo of today.

Our ride starts with the 2010 European championships trail, basically single track and a track for everyone to enjoy. A good warm up and a great way to start the day.
Clouds overhead and as Yoram said....." we are here so lets do it".....

So, along the sea front we rode (thanks to Haifa for a new bike trail) and met along the way with early birds out for exercise or out to feed the plethora of fat cats waiting to be fed. A couple of photo ops and very soon we arrived at the Haifa port area passing through on our way at Shikmona, Ein HaYam, Bat Galim promenade, Bat Galim and Kiriat Eliezer. Then the climb up to Stella Maris, Stella Maris (our break), Hanassi street, Yafo Nof street, The Carmel center, Keller street, Shimshon street, Yotam street, Kiriat Sefer, the Horev center, the Abba Hooshi boulevard, Dania and the University of Haifa.

Then down through the Carmel, through Nahal Galim and back to the cars.
The perfect combination of Urban riding, technical XC and easy XC.
Something for everyone.........

Haifa is a very beautiful city, reminding some of us of parts of Jerusalem....well worth a visit.

Comments:

The climb to Stella Maris is a 300 meter ascent spread over 5 kms and the continuation to the University to a height of 460 meters spread over another 7 kms.

The downhill through the Carmel is 400 meters spread over about 8 kms along wide stony paths some fast some technical and care is needed to arrive at the bottom in one piece.
All in all we ascended 800 meters at an average pace of 12.5 km/hr for a total ride of 41 kms in 5 hours including breaks.

I am now very tired and my legs are complaining but the ride was fantastic.

Thanks from all of us to Shimon and Amos for the coffee and cakes, thanks to Jonathan who promised us a surprise and we got peach "leather"
and thanks to Nurit who is my undying support in all our rides.........!!

Ride Blog by Max - 1 Jan 2011 - Midbar Yehuda - The Sugar Route


Rain, flash floods, clouds, cold......should we cancel....NO. A last minute decision, Friday night at about 21.30 we decided to take the chance and we said we GO.
So we met at 07.30 perfectly on time at the designated spot in Maale Adumim, freezing cold, windy and some cloud cover. A quick coffee......thanks Nurit and a Jonathan reminder to me ..not to forget my keys..........
Amos, Raymond and I drove down to Almog to leave two cars there. Back at 08.15 just in time to greet Stas and by 08.30 we were just about ready to roll.

At about 500 meters above sea level (ASL) we had a quick warm up in the parking lot with plenty of jokes about finishing the ride there and then etc and off we jolly well went.
A quick asphalted downhill led us to the beginning of the ride and the beginning of the walk. We rode up, walked up circumnavigating all the stones and rocks which had been placed in strategic places causing us not to ride, and managed to climb back up to about 460 meters ASL and from here on it was all downhill (well nearly).
By the time we had got there we were ready to remove the first of our layers of clothing.
Behind us we could still see Maale Adumim and further back we could make out the outlines of Jerusalem. South of us we looked down into the Abu Hendi Wadi spotted with Bedouin villages.
Continuing we rode down past the watering holes and down to Bir-E-Zara junction (about 300 meters ASL and a quick break for coffee ...thanks Shimon.....cakes....thanks Sharona....and more cakes....thanks Amos.

Here we made a strategic decision based on clouds as to which way to continue the ride.
Then along Wadi El-Medvara (my spelling) where we looked for singles on both sides of the Wadi but still managed to ride over 3 million annoying stones.
The scenery was magnificent, the weather was perfect (a slight doubt about rain or not) and the riding was cooooool.
At 125 meters ASL we joined up with Nahal Og, one of the most beautiful Nahals in the area with rock formations caused by millions of years of water and desert erosion and then onto the singles used hundreds of years ago to bring sugar up from the grinding mills of Jericho to Jerusalem.

We rode up hills and down hills, along the sides of mountains on narrow singles, defying our better judgements, concentrating on getting to the other side and managing to do so and eventually arriving to the plains overlooking Nebi Mousa at about 40 meters Under Sea Level (USL).

A welcome break, with tea made by our Bedouin friends, a quick look around for those who had never been there before and a rest. While parking our bikes Amos was nearly drowned by a sudden outpouring of water (clean????) from an overflow pipe high up in the wall by the side of him.

And now a single all the way down to Almog -230 meters (USL) , criss crossing the Wadi and enabling us to ride at breakneck speed back to our cars.

The finale was a LeHaim to the New Year with champagne, courtesy of Nurit and yours truly and a sigh of relief of knowing that we had all made it with no falls, punctures or any other mishaps. Thanks go to Dennis, who about a year ago helped us to prepare this ride. Get better soon Prof.

Comments:
Statistics: 24 kms ridden in 2hrs and 44mins actual riding time with a total descent of about 1000 meters.

Ride Blog by Max - 25 Dec - Little Switzerland



Chrismas cheer..once a year. 9 men, 2 lady riders and one guest, met in our usual starting point, opposite the Univerity of Haifa. 07.30 and this time not too windy and not too cold. We sped off at a furious pace down to the Hai Bar, so far not too much evidence of anything amiss. David and Ingride decided to do their own thing and ride at a more leisurely pace, however the majority were not having any of this and we all decided as one to ride together.
Amos amazed us again with his bike improvements and showed off his new XT brakes and XT 10 gear rear cassette giving him 30 gears, a distinct advantage over the rest of us. Then with his new XTR pedals he began to show us all how to ride.

From our vantage point after the first single, we could see the great damage caused by the fire, all the way towards the sea, but nothing could prepare us for the devasting sights we were to see. Whole swathes of forest areas totally burned to cinders. Nothing remaining but withered stumps of what were beautiful trees. An unhuman destruction, nature's way of showing us that it is still very much in control.
Here and there a bit of green colour to remind us of what was and what will be and amazingly amidst all this stark burnt, acrid smelling fire remains, one could see green shoots pushing themselves above the ash covered earth telling us that there is still life in this forest.

The pictures tell it all and sadly to say these sights will be with us for a long time to come.
Bet Oren and it's first row of houses was very badly damaged but fortunately the horse ranch was saved and the prancing of the horses was a welcome sight in this very unwelcome landscape. Amazingly enough, just a bit further on on the "red" path, our picnic tables were still there in un unburnt area and allowed us to enjoy a green break.

After the break we rode down to Nahal Kelach and fortunately that area was basically untouched by the fire. Going up from the Nahal required a bit of pushing and carrying the bikes but we all managed it in good humour and then a good ride back to the "TREE", our favourite view point overlooking the Northern part of the Haifa Bay. Not a totally clear view and we wondered if the haze was from the fire or from the pollution from all the Haifa Bay factories and plants.
From here it was just a short dash over the road, braving the hundreds of cars bringing visitors to see what we had seen, and back to the cars.

the drive down to Atlit was a slow process but the road up, from Atlit to Bet Oren was even slower, as hundreds of visitors wanting to see the cruel and sad sights, managed to create traffic jams all the way in both directions.

A sad day, a sad sight with many sad thoughts. Our little trip gave us an insight into the total devastation and we all mourned with those who lost their loved ones.
Next time we come we hope to see cleaner and greener vistas.

Comments:

Total riding was 20 kms and 520 meters ascending. (My fastest downhill speed was 43.6 km). The Av speed was 9.7 km/hr and actual riding time was 2 hrs exactly.

Dennis, we all hugged a tree for you......get well soon...we all miss you!!

Ride Blog by Jonathan - 18 Dec - Desert Challenge Sedom


We set off south this week to ride the "Veloia Desert Challenge" - an organized ride (meaning that you have to pay to go and some of the people there haven't necessarily heard of "Spokes") that took place near the Dead Sea. Each participant needed to pair with another and pass certain check points at the same time. The route was a circular route of 23-24Kms - you had a choice of 1, 2 or 3 times around.

Six of us entered: Nurit and Max, Stas, Amos, Yoram and Jonathan. Part of the adventure was going down on Friday afternoon and "sleeping" in a tent as the start was early (registration at 5:30, departure around 7am). More of that below.

Weather was perfect - sunny and although there was a bit of a headwind for some legs, not really windy. No rain (though some forecasts had threatened) and not tool cold (everyone had threatened). And it seemed well attended - not sure what the official participation count was - but there were several hundred riders.

The ride departed from our base up towards Nahal Sedom in a long, gradual and winding climb (the hardest part of the ride) and then through the canyons of the river itself (no water of course!). The scene there is beautiful - typically lunar as is much of the area, with winding paths through the narrow passes of the river bed. Riding was not technical - the greatest challenge was usually the younger riders (in other words virtually everyone) who would zip past us with consummate ease and great speed. We exited the canyon and after a short uphill were soon at the first resting place (some did, some continued).

From there the route went back east and north, returning to the base camp via Nahal Pratzim (after some annoying gradual uphills). This time, the canyon took us down to the end. Similar views - with several Mt Rushmore-type shapes carved on out of rock.

Back to base and off again for another circuit (and then yet another for those who opted for the 69Km version). Excellent exercise, quite well organized (not too crowded, though some parking was MILES away from the tent site - thankfully not ours) and a thoroughly enjoyable day. With aching legs we packed our bags, tents and food and set off back home around noon.

The desert night was calm and cold
As we settled down to sleep
There was no sound for miles around
You couldn't hear a peep

And as I closed my eyes in rest
In hope to sleep till morning
Our tent started to reverberate
With sounds of Stas's snoring

With changing pitch and varied rhyme
His one-man show resumed
The flaps of all our tents did shake
As Stas snored out all his tunes

The leopards ran, the lizards crawled
To hide from his concert
The army launched a hot balloon
And troops were on alert

The morning came, our eyes were red
As a new day had now dawned
Stas beamed a smile and turned to us
"Sleep well?" he asked and yawned.



Comments:

Max says:
Couple of statistics. Total ride (mine and Jonathan's) was 71 km. Total ascent was 650 meters.
Total ride for Stas, Amos, Yoram and Nurit was 47 km and 433 meters ascent.

According to the organisers lists we reached the following:
Nurit and Yoram: Average speed 13.28 km/hr in 3.27 hrs.
Amos and Stas: Average speed 15.45 km/hr in 2.58 hrs.
Jonathan and Max: Average speed 15.67 km/hr in 4.25 hrs.

The fastest average speed recorded for the 69 km race was 37.64 km/hr ......over twice as fast as J & M....hmmmmmmm

Well done to all ...it was a great weekend and one which we shall repeat.



Ride Blog by Max - 11th Dec - To Einat via Horshim, a single, park Rosh HaAyin West, Shilo......



Woke up, got out of bed, put kettle on, looked out of window, riding shorts on, shirt, drank tea, got bikes, put shoes on, got back pack, sunglasses and rain jacket.

Rode down to Gershwin, said good morning to Nurit, Stas and Amos. Windy, grey, storms approaching....

Yalla and we rode, Eli Shema, Kaneh, under bridge and rain.
Continue??
Yeah......come on.......
Neveh Yamin, East, Jaljuliya....disgusting rubbish.......under bridge.......Bottom of Matan....into Horshim.
Ah ha, ....a new up single........flowing and not too difficult.
ascend Horshim to Oranit.......then down, down...to Kfar Kasem....disgusting rubbish......
Cross Shaar Shomron junction....under bridge........asphalt road to Park Rosh HaAyin....wind resistance very high ..(60 kmh) .......into the park.

Ah ha....a new path and the first racefet.........wow.
Up and up ...we climb........then down....technical, slippery...but rideable.
Onwards and East.......newish trail.......earth flattened by rain....good surface, stones and rocks....panting...we climbed.
Playground for Stas and Max........Stas is good !!!!
Down.......down.......down past Migdal Tzedek, Einat but no coffee....might rain....
Hurry hurry, into the Yarkon trails, fast riding ...push push might rain........
Over the road in to the Kaneh paths and RAIN......WIND and RAIN.......not too much....
faster faster ..........Eli Shema and RAIN RAIN RAIN still not too much.
Back home ....hot shower and all's well that end's well.

44 kms........ nearly no breaks..............great riding.
Nurit is dead tired.......blames me!!

Amos is dead happy ....says next week we ride the 69 er

Stas ....we made it without really getting wet....

. and I.........I loved it......perfect conditions and a perfect ride.

see you next week in the Desert Challenge........69 kms.

Comments:

Ride Blog by Jonathan - 4th Dec - Carmila



With minds partly on the fires in the Carmel (scenes of many of our rides), partly on Dennis (due for his operation as I write) and only partly on the ride, we set off near Eshta'ol to ride Har Carmelia and Har Ha'Kedoshim.
We'd only just started riding, after bemoaning the state of under-preparedness of our fire-fighting units when a few short, sharp uphills caught us by surprise. They weren't there last time were they?
Puffing and panting we scaled the hills only to reach higher and longer climbs up the Carmila. A couple of short stops along the way - judiciously kept brief by Yoram who continually aired concerns about plummeting body temperatures (in the 30 degree heat!).
The air was extremely dry and dusty - breathing was relatively difficult - and the trails more crowded with riders than I think we've ever seen (perhaps because the Carmel was out of bounds). Still, the views were magnificent in all directions - Jerusalem forests, valleys and towards the sea.
Eventually, we made it up the top (or what we thought was top) for our break next to a small pool of freezing water (no-one swam!).

After the break, we ascended a very hard climb - steep, long and slippery - up to (somewhere near) Kibbutz Tzuba. We made it up (lungs were really burning) and then most of the way back was downhill. It's a great area for riding - up and down all day with beautiful scenery. The ride was quite fast and we were back in our cars by around 11:30 (I think the distance was 30Kms). A thoroughly enjoyable morning!

Mid December
I can't remember
The weather as hot as this
A severe drought
Of that no doubt
Has winter gone amiss?

We rode around
Until we found
A site to stop and eat
Where we discussed
Our nation's trust
In fighting fires with planes from Crete

One final push
On through the bush
We made it up to Tzova
And then descend
Down to the end
Our ride was now all over

At Latrun we stopped
On chairs we flopped
To rest our aching legs
We hit the road
And washed our clothes
And hung it up with pegs

Comments:
Max says: Statistically speaking.......we climbed 600 meters and rode 30 kms.
נורית אומרת
יקנעם השירה שלך מדהימה כישרון מבוזבז......

Ride Blog by Max - 27th Nov - Bet Shean plus



It is now 20.30 Saturday evening and the excitement is dying down.
The morning began OK at 05.00 (What the f-k can be OK at 05.00.......?)
We got to Bet Shean in just under one and a quarter hours and bikes set , we started the ride perfectly on time.

The way out South from Bet Shean to Tzomet HaNatzeeb and then North through the Shmura is a great way to bypass bet Shean from the East. We got to Nahal Harod and then rode along it and climbed Tel Bet Shean which afforded us a brilliant viewpoint overlooking the amazing ruins of Roman Bet Shean.

A couple of stories later,a few photo opportunities some air in a tyre and off we set again in the direction of the quantara bridge.
Just befor the bridge we saw the amazing work done by KKl since our last visit to this area. There is now a pool and and the landscaping has been done very well.
Crossing the bridge is always good fun trying to keep riding but not quite managing to do so because the poles holding the wire cables are set just a bit too close together and my handlebars are too wide.
Nahal Harod brings us into Nahal Hakibbutzim and then Nir David, where I could explain about my namesake Max Heller (my Uncle) who was killed here along with two others, in 1939 in an Arab ambush while guarding the Kibbutz workers. The guard tower where they were killed is still standing proud and lofty on the top of Tel Hashlosha (formally known as Tel Shok).

After Nir David things began to unravel. The plan was to find the trail from Heftziba up to Har Barkan. Well somewhere along the line (around the quarry) I went left instead of right and we ended up on a long climb, on asphalt up towards the Gilboa.
In the end we decided together to carry on as we did two years ago and ride down to Ein Muda for a welcome break and a wee dip in the waters.

Well. sometimes things just don't work out as you plan 'em.

Dennis took a fall and his left leg did not quite work as it had been doing for the last 60 or so years.
Ok 4 x 4 time, Amos and I sped off on our emergency bikes and in no time we reached the cars. A quick change of shirts and shoes and we were driving with lights flashing at breakneck speed back to the rescue..(maybe a bit of exaggeration here...)

We placed the wounded soldier gently into the arms of the blue max (D) and very gently drove back to Bet Shean through the fields.

To cut a long stםry short, Dennis has now been examined and has been found guilty of moving with a torn ligament.

More details in the next episode.

Sorry ....got carried away here. The actual ending is that Dennis was taken to Tel Hashomer and when I spoke to him last, the Doctors were still discussing whether or not surgery would be required.

So we all wish יim a very speedy recovery and look forward to seeing him back on the trails as soon as ligamentally possible.

Leave Dennis a message here and he will see our good wishes on the site.

and now an ode to the injured one

Poor Dennis rode up the Gilboa
And with only a short way to go A
fall he befell
and he didn't land well
His knee was as bent as a boa

Amos and Max got their cars
While Dennis remained on his a*se
They carried him back
With the rest of the pack
And Dennis had started to see stars

He's laid up in Tel Hashomer
With all of the medicos there
They'll give him a test
T&C and some rest
And sit him back up on his chair

Now inactive but showing persistence
Musing on Schroedinger's feline's existence
Hoping you fix up your knee
Making full recovery
And to riding you don't show resistance



Comments:

Ride Blog by Max - 20 Nov - Tzippori to Har Atzmon



In the beginning....it was Tzippori, the Kibbutz, then down to Rabbi Yehuda Hanassi's grave.
Ok so who is Rabbi Yehuda Hanassi????
Well you may well ask and the answer is no less than the editor of the Mishna. Without him, our paths may have been very different, both spiritually and on the bikes !!

We rode adjacent to the Movil Artzi, the National Water carrier, until we came to Hirbet Roma. One of those man made Tels with a whole underground system built in. A must for those intrepid explorers who like a good crawl (or those intrepid crawlers who like ..............).

Then East towards Genossar (remember the sea to Sea ride??), but we turned North towards Har Atzmon and began the long tortuous stony climb up to the summit. Bikat Bet Netufa is about 150 meters above sea level. The summit of Har Atzmon is 555 meters above sea level. Add to this 450 million stones and it seemed like we climbed for ever.

But wait, a thank you to Shimon G who brought the steamy black stuff and this time a freshly baked cake from Sharona.......great. AND thanks to Jonathan, who nearly brought coffee as well. AND thanks to Amos who nearly brought beers.........

Technically this ride should be classed as difficult , just for the amount of concentration required to get down those steep stony paths, filled with small drops onto gravel like surfaces. The breaks on the way down were just to relax our hands, aching with holding on to the bars which were vibrators good for any .........

Arriving finally at Kfar Manda was a relief, flat paths, smooth paths, ashphalt.........ahh a machaya!!

But t'was not yet over as we rode along the road towards Har Hanaton, with the remains of old ruins from the Marmelikes or Crusaders and in amazingly good repair. A good place for a bike repair shop!!!

The way up was a killer, some of us made it, others not, but even walking up was difficult.

From here on it was smooth riding just until we reached kibbutz Tzippori, where we had a little climb to finish the day, but this must have been the hardest climb of the day , we were all just about finished by then.

Back at the cars, stretching and loading the bikes, we all agreed it was a great ride. Well at least, I did !!.

See you next week. Statistics: 500 meters up, 36km ride, 3 hrs actual riding, average speed 12.4 km/hr and 450 million stones, oh...and one puncture.



Comments:

Ride Blog by Dennis - 13 Nov - 360 deg around Jerusalem



6 Today's ride saw the hardy guys and gals of Spokes circumnavigating Jerusalem. Eight of them started from the Motza exit on Rt.1, exactly on time as always.

Down by the Beit Zayit reservoir they went for a little downhill cross-country warmup. There was not a drop of water anywhere, unlike their last visit where it resembled the lakes of cooler regions. Then along the road to the lowest point of the trip at 530 m. Pleasant sunny weather, despite the promise of a hot day which never really came.

Now warmed up, they started to climb, through Tsomet Kerem and Ein Kerem, all the way up to the entrance of Har Hertzl. Here they were at 820 m, the first of several times such heights were reached, after a 7.1% climb over 4.1 km. A pause to breath a little fresh air and, for those who take their pulse rates seriously, to get back below the red line.

Having earned the right to zoom down Hertzl, they did. After turning right into Rabin, it was past government edifices and the university, through Neveh Shaanan, and along Hertzog and Pat. A special request to deviate from the planned route saw them undertake an extra 2 km, 5.6% climb up Dov Yosef to Gilo, followed by some more breath catching since they were again above 800 m.

A left turn on Harozmarin, and left again down Derech Hebron, then right onto Asher Wiener for a really, really fast downhill ending in East Talpiot. Then up again, through assorted back streets and short but steep slopes and steps to a great panoramic view, at 800 m again, with some architectural curiosities that defy description. Then to the Cherover promenade overlooking the Old City where it was time for all hard-working Spokesfolk to have a food break under the one shady tree not occupied by tourists.

Refreshed, it was down the serpentine path and eventually back to Derech Hebron. Following the south wall of the Old City they travelled, with a stop to behold Absalom's tomb, and against the prevailing traffic flow, through the permanent chaos where Derech Haofel meets Derech Yericho in an area packed full of tourist buses. Bravely up the first part of Al Mansouriah they pushed, possibly the steepest street in town, then along the serpentine ascent up the Mount of Olives, to that magical 800 m altitude where a magnificent view of the Old City below awaited them.

The route continued past Augusta Victoria to the next lookout point, where the view opened to the east, the Judean desert and the maze of cycling routes hidden therein (not to mention all the other, better known attractions). Yitzhak Hanadiv generously provided yet another fast downhill, with a jammed chain to be fixed at one end, and a puncture at the other (on different bikes fortunately).

It was past Mount Scopus and along Barlev, then offroad on the newly laid path by Nahal Tsofim (well it would be a nahal if there had been any water) at the foot of Ramat Eshkol. This was a work in progress on the previous visit, but now if offers a fast downhill, which, inexplicably, ends abruptly and requires some scrambling to get back to road level. Finally, against the flow along Begin, down to Golda and back under Begin, then a descent of the paths beside Nahal Soreq in Emek Haarazim, twice crossing beneath Rt.1, and there they were, back where it all began.

And now for the official ride statistics: a distance of 46.7 km in 3.5 hours, at an average speed of 13.4 km/hour, total climb 940 m (there were also two 100 m climbs with 4.3% and 4.8% gradients), total elapsed time 5.5 hours. All that makes for a stimulating ride.

And while it must be noted that no mermaids were seen anywhere, one did get to appreciate how hilly Jerusalem really is (apparently there are some more hills the Spokies will have to ride next time). Most important of all, everybody went home smiling.

Comments:
Max: There must be more hills.....I was told that Jerusalem was built on seven hills........

Ride Blog by Max - 6th Nov - H"H to Horshim, Shilo, Einat and home



Well with everyone being away, or riding around the Kinneret we only decided to post a ride on Friday.
Well Yoram, Nurit and yours truly met on this wonderful Saturday morning and we set off on a short cut to Horshim, up to Oranit but from the South side of the Kibbutz, down to Kfar Kasem and over to Rosh Haayin.
Well so far all the same, slightly different stones..... Well from this point we decided to go into Nahal Shilo and climbed. Stones of all sizes and shaped and everywhere. Rocky steps to bump over or jump over. One puncture, one half fall (mine), one nearly fall (Yoram's) and one who walked a bit.........
Technical riding at it's best, the weather while warm was good to us and we had a cool wind most of the ride.
40 km in 4 hours incl 2 punctures repaired.
GPS data: 41.68km, 3.05 hrs (riding), 505 mtrs ascent.

Next week's ride is In and Around Jerusalem with some new trails to explore in side Jerusalem.

Ride blog 30 Oct by Max - HH to Einat via Horshim


No pictures this time but a great ride.
At 05.00 the rain began...a full 10 minutes to install terror into those afraid of the big bad RAIN. Sure enough the SMS's began flowing . Jonathan......rain stopped play, others....we might get wet.....still others.......mud.......dirty dirty stuff........
Oy Veh......Oh Vey......
Still, 5 braves from the ancient Indian Tribe........."Boo Hoo Rain don boder me" met on this cloudy but dry morning and having decided unanimously to take the "wet" decision, we rode off to Horshim.
We searched for mud and could not for the lives of our Indian forefathers, find any. We rode the usual trail until Horshim and then climbed the asphalt road towards Nirit, turning right just before the gate into a 22% (according to my GPS) partly asphalt and partly stony ascent into the hills above Nirit.
The "BOO HOO's climbed and climbed and eventually we reached to second look out of Horshim. Then down a short, not altogether rideable single to the beginning of the last ascent to the Hezi look out. We turned right at this point and descended fast to the bottom of Horshim only to begin the long climb up to Oranit. The BOO Hoo's being a well prepared tribe, whipped out our super heated thermos and Shimon G as has become his habit (a wonderful one..I think) provided all with a welcome early morning black coffee.

Our break was in a clearing next to the ping pong table (for those who know). Then a quick dash to the back gate of Oranit and a fast single climb up to the water tower. From here on it was the usual trail and I have found a very easy bypass over that nasty muddy water crossing that we all do NOT like.
Ah yes ....MUD. well we found it.....going into the field just after Kfar Kasem, to begin our single (ish) track to the top of the hillock. MUD to block our bike, MUD to clog the pedals, MUD MUD MUD. BUT we of the BOO HOO's cleaned up, carried on and continued.

The end of the ride came too quickly but we all agreed that it was a good work out and should not have been missed.

See ya next week.

Comments:

Ride blog 23 October by Shimon G - Nahal Taninim




After months of hot sweltering days we got a break, a beautiful day which was perfect for a bike ride. Well, bike ride was a very loose term as having a bike had a minor benefit.

The ride took place in Ramot Menashe. We met at the foot of Givaat Harakafot and started at a nice pace. We were right on course and our goal was to get to a 360 degrees observation point. But soon after both Max's GPSs stopped working (the electronic one and Nurit). I cannot tell you much on our where abouts as I lost track. The ride took us to hills that even Max had to walk up and through fields of dried prickly shrubs. We went down hills where no human had ever traded before; as a matter of fact the "goats association" sent us a thank you note for plowing through new paths.

The coffee break was next to a "לשביה‎" (if you don't know what it is ask your kids who were in the army) where we stopped to pull out all the thorns stuck to our cloths during the downhill walk.

Over all it was a very nice ride scenery was beautiful even without the 360 degree observation we never got to, and with great company and great weather you couldn't ask for more.

See you all at the next ride.



Our resident poet Jonathan, whose hand is now recovered from a fall,
has poetically proven that his prolific poem production is profluent and punctilious !

It was one of those idyllic days
The sun caressed us with its rays
The morning clouds had all dispersed
And all the plans went as rehearsed

Like antelopes we rode our course
Scaling mountains, crossing fjords
There were no hills too hard to climb
The scenery was quite sublime
No jagged rocks, no treacherous gravel
On which our plans could all unravel

Nahal taninim had crocks
We had a break beside some rocks
We took a bath in ice cool waters
With seven mermaids as our porters
And while laying on its grassy banks
Consent was clear among the ranks -
The place had not a single thorn
Just butterflies and unicorns

When going home we stopped at "Si"
To get some cake and ice coffee
No legs cramped up, no cries of "ouch"
No laughter was heard from the spouse
Our perfect day was now all through
You don't believe? I swear it's true!

Comments:

Dennis:
Young Jonathan Coleridge is clearly hallucinating. Must be that Georgian booze...

Max added:
This ride started on Tuesday of this week. We planned the route (based on an Eli Seth one) and added to it several paths and trails from Google Earth. Bright and early Tuesday morning we drove to Givat HaRacafot and started our pre ride, ride. After 3 and half kms we were stopped by the army and were told to remove ourselves from the middle of a firing exercise....which we promptly did.
So no pre ride.
The result is history.........

Ride blog 16th Oct by Max - Park Britania


We knew it was going to be hot, but this hot???
Have we not finished with the Summer?? Fortunately the ride was short....ish.....and not too many meters to climb.....ish.

The singles were good but the downhill technical one from Tel Azaka was too downhill and too technical. Amos is a face-on witness to this (see the pics).

The area is very beautiful and like most of Israel, really comes to life only after the first rains leave their footprints in the very very dry soil.
Next time we do the ride we will add on the 8 km single near Luzit which we partly enjoyed this time but only the end of it.

All in all a great ride with one actual puncture requiring Dennis's skills in tyre on, tyre off techniques and then a "low-air" syndrome...again requiring Dennis's skills with a pump.
Amos we all hope will manage to sell his wares this week while trying to explain (to those who will believe him !!) how he had so many scratches on his face..........hmm.....
Yoram, with your new high rise....we hope you are sitting comfortably!!!!
Nurit...as usual remembers the route perfectly........who needs a GPS??

See you next ride...........

Comments:

Ride blog 30th Sep by Max - Einat


8 we met, at 06.30 for our HaKafot. This time it was from the end to the beginning.
Itzik surprised us again, I know it's a terrible process to register for each ride...........
Itai our "downhiller" neighbour made the effort to join us although his normal ride is never more than 10 kms. !!!!!
Yuval needed another ride just before his trip to South Korea.....Good luck !!!!!
Dennis back from Croatia and Slovenia full of water stories.......
Amos managed to find another part of his bike to change....this time a 45 deg stem was added....
Yoram ...well darling we'll talk later.....!!
and Nurit...not enough praise can be showered on her for putting up with all of our rubbish......but she does make a good minyan ???
and yours truly.........find me those hills...........

So off we rode, a breeze behind us and a smoking hot sun above us. The ride definitely easier this new way round......I think we counted 10 stones less..!!
I think we rode at a fast pace and at some stage I told Yuval to release his brake.
Breakfast was under the "SPOKES" tree and the humour was flying around as ever.
Amos told us where to buy good meat for the bar-b-ques and we reminded all that energy products can be bought at Teva Castel with a SPOKES discount card arrangement.

Itai showed us some of his downhill skills and hopefully this will not happen again.........??
All in all another fun ride, 39 kms of good XC riding and this time we managed a good cadence.........see you on Saturday in Park Britannia.

Comments:

Ride blog 25 Sep by Max - Yarden HaHariri


9 clean riders set out from Karkum, from Mitzpe Segev, weather a bit grey, but expecting the heat to be oppresive. Our first part of the ride was uphill, a climb of about 150 meters, most of it we managed to do in one stretch without stopping until we got to the Kare Deshe look out, where we waited for everyone to catch up. Then through the yellow gate ? and continuing uphill, crossing over Nahal Or and Nahal Keleh and then continuing till the purification pool of Kfar Hanassi. This was the only part of the trip that I had not managed to see a route and the route that I did plan unfortunately crossed over 3 sewage swamps. Shit!!!

Well the pictures say it all and although it was pretty disgusting we all managed to wade through while keeping our good humours.
The first stop was in Tuba Sangria where we met a very special Beduin lady who very kindly allowed us to use her front driveway to wash off our mud/shit from shoes, socks and legs. I asked if I could wash down the driveway but she refused the offer and so we left her with all our dirt and with a smile on her face. A very nice lady. (May your children study well...). Then a quick stop at a new supermarket in the local petrol station to top up with water and to dirty their clean floor.........

Our next event was going down to the Nahal Rosh Pina crossing which is a steep, slippery dirt track (I fell) and then a steep climb up the other side which most of us did (nearly). Then over the Machanayim to Gadot road (many good memories here, I lived on Machanayim for 30 months.....), and passed Mishmar Hayarden and on to Hann Yarda, a well preserved hann of yesteryear. After a quick break we sped down to Nahal Machanayim and rode alongside it all the way down till the Yarden (just North of Gadot).
Well what could be more inviting that a dip in the Ganges , alias the Yarden, a place to do our washing, feet, shoes and socks, a place to swim and a place to have fun while watching the Kayaks of Gadot being fast rolled down into the water.
Refreshed, cleansed and cooled, we sat down on the banks of the river Yarden and ate our energy filled foods and enjoyed 27 rain drops between us. (They promised us rain......we got rain!!!).

Ok time to go so we dressed and prepared for the last part of today's trip. The Yarden HaHariri trail.
The first part was particularly beautiful until the Bnot Yakov bridge, and then we settled down to a fast cadence filled ride all the way back (and up) to Karkum.

All in all 38 kms of great riding (about 500 meters total ascent) and as Amos said....."This was one of the best rides we have ever done".........Hmmm.....how many times has he said that????
I personally think it was a great ride, the weather was Ok, hot but bearable, the route had everything....great uphills and great downhills, including a boulder strewn one which caused a few vibrations......so maybe it was one of the best.......

Comments:

Ride blog 23 Sep by Max - HH to Einat via Horshim


Time factor: way too long.
Heat factor: way too hot
Group: Fantastic...as ever









Comments:

Ride blog 11th September by Max - Bet Keshet Single


Go to bed late, 4 hours in bed, sleep some, then get up in the dark dark morning. Oh Veh!! Drive an hour and a quarter, park. So bright outside....and hot...and humid......pray for winter.... Wait for the others and then ride.....uphill....gradual annoying uphill......till beginning of single. Now concentrate, stones, rocks, switchbacks, heat, sweat.......up and up.
Now warmed up and starting to enjoy,........ scenery hazy by beautiful ....Mount Tavor rising in the distance....welcoming....climb me.........later later.
Riding through the Savannah........reminds me of Hampstead Heath........not really.

Time to stop...take pictures from afar....through the bushes...of Stas, slow to warm up, of Amos firing up his hydraulic seat, of Jonathan, concentrating so much, of Nurit, showing just how good she really is in singles.
Then a technical downhill part, a time for a quick "how to..." and they all rode down a rocky rock garden like pros.....

The rest was just great fun. Stas bombing off as fast as his legs could turn their cadence, yours truly following on behind. All of us trying to ride through every obstacle and every metal cow deflector. Yea we did it.
Finally a group picture...all five of us.....
A great morning ride........hot ...sweaty but really cooooool.

Next time we do this we include Mount Tavor...all the way to the top!!!

On a more sombre note...we remember today all those who perished in the Twin towers massacre....9/11.........



Comments:

Ride report DATE by Max - Tel Aviv Yafo - LeHaim le Shana Tova


Well another year has gone and we are all still riding and gaining in Kosher (stamina) so much so that rides that once were medium to hard are now easy.
This will cause me problems as now I have to plan harder and longer rides......so be prepared.
The ride tonight was a quick run down to the border between Bat Yam and Rishon and then back via the streets of Bat Yam and Yaffo. Yaffo was alive with the late night sounds of the end of Ramadan and Bat Yam gave us a plethora of smells and colours , flowers and fish, being prepared for the Hag.
Altogether a delight for the eyes and other senses.
On the way down we found our park bench, we spread our sparkling Caba and we toasted a LeHaim to the New Year.

May we all have a healthy, peaceful and wonderful New Year with all our families. friends and riding partners.

Shana Tova to us all.

Comments:

Ride report 3rd Sept by Dina Sternberg- Night Ride - "Sea to Sea"


Thursday night at 9:30pm, 16 of us gathered in Hod Hosharon and packed onto our bus along with our bikes, snacks, spare parts and good cheer. 2 hours later we arrived at Kiryat Yam, returned our bikes to upright, single unit positions and were off. We took a quick glimpse at the Mediterranean, made a weak attempt at assigning everyone safety numbers, and began our eastward ride. The ride began on the road, but it wasn’t much later before we hit the dirt! Lots of dirt, lots of rocks and lots of wildlife. The air was fresh with the scent of roasted animals – both pre and post roast. The sounds were of dogs barking, cows lowing, and eventually roosters crowing. We made a point of stopping and turning off our bike lights to enjoy the stars. It was a fairly clear night, albeit not quite a full moon and Orion’s belt was in plain view for us to enjoy.

The roads were fairly flat- the ups and downs had just the right amount of in/decline (I speak for myself, you may disagree if you wish,) when dealing with such a long ride in the dark. And I must mention the fabulous lighting that Max provided us with – turning night into traversable night, allowing the pace to be comparable to a daytime pace.

There were not too many signs along the way, so I cannot list all the villages we passed through. However, I do recall nice banana fields, a quiet Arab village and a Bedouin encampment.

At the approach of dawn, we made our descent to the Kinneret at Ginossar. What a beautiful site! A dip in the Kinneret was in order – the feeling of heaven on tired muscles!

Breakfast was feasted upon in Ginossar and than a snooze on the bus ride back.

The newcomers to the group greatly appreciated the friendliness and concern exhibited by the veterans in the group all along the way and beyond.

thanks for a great trip,
Dina

Comments:

Ride report 14th August by Max - Burma


SHE told me to plan a short ride.
SHE told me to take into account the HOT weather.
SHE said everyone would like an easier ride during the Summer months.
SHE, SHE .SHE.................

BUT I being the MAN planned the route MY way.
It just so happened to be a short ride
It just so happened to be an easier ride.

So we met 11 early risers, in Kfar Uriah at the top of a long hill into the Moshav. Bikes prepared we started even before 06.45 which is truly a miracle and began our "short easier' ride.
We climbed and climbed and here and there managed a short technical downhill and then climbed some more. All the climbs were short and there were plenty of them. We basically followed the Burma road but on the paths parellel to it. We went past Harel, and Taoz, we rode down the Serpentine which is always an adrenaline run, we rode uphill and looked down on Mesilat Zion and on Eshtaol and then following one bit of trail which was new to all, we climbed a wall which some of us managed to do and then hit a fast running trail straight into our previously prepared dining table.

After an energy break we joined the Sculptures route and rode some long fast downhills passing Mitzpe Tzara, Tel Tzara and into the forest of Yar Tzara, passed Har Tnufa and back to the cars.

We got to the cars at 10.15, and praised by all for a great "short smooth flowing" ride which I had decided on my own (with direct interference from SHE) we finished a really good ride.
The area is great to ride in, a lot of the paths are covered by the high trees and fortunately we also had good cloud cover.
All in all a great morning and thanks go to SHE for making the right decision again.

Comments:

Ride report 5 Aug by Max - 100 kms from Hod Hasharon to Jerusalem


Cool.
That people, is the best way to describe our 100 km ride.........."coooooool". 22.00 Gidi, Jonathan and I met and began riding. We all expected temperatures about 26 deg C and high humidity. In fact we had a nice refreshing breeze just about all the way and we managed to remain cooooool nearly all the way up to the Golden City.

The way to Ramle past the airport city was fast paced and all the trails we used were easy to traverse.
Only one annoying item was the gates installed on Shvil Israel just past Einat which caused us to climb over barbed wire fences (see the pics) like thieves of the night.
To any farmer reading this missive......we did not steal any of your fruits !!!!
Lod is always an experience to go through and the sights and sweet!! smells coming out of various nooks and crannies were quite uplifting...!!!

Just before 24.00 we arrived at our designated meeting point....the Sonol petrol station..in Ramle and sat on the steps of "The Burning Meeting Place" (a very literal translation) . Orly was there to greet us and Stas arrives sometime later.

We started the 2nd part of the ride from Ramle to Bet Shemesh at about 00.45 through the fields running parallel to Highway 6 for some time until turning East towards Bet Shemesh.

We ride past the New Mekorot Pumping Station which is built next to the original one built in the 1940's (I think). Every time we ride past here, we stop and we look at the building.
The construction reminds me very much of the pictures and of the grim imagery of Auschwitz. I wonder if the construction Engineer was incarcerated there.
This is part of the 2nd water pipe system from Rosh HaAyin to the North Negev.

After this we rode along what was our sweet supply of oranges, but now just a memory as all has been torn down. Now only the fields remain ready to be replanted with some more financially profitable growth.
The trail runs adjacent to the railway lines and led us all the way to Bet Shemesh where our next break was in the all night kiosk on Road 38.... the time now was about 03.15.. The break was good, we topped up on energy supplements, water,coke and good hot black coffee, courtesy of the kiosk. Here Stas fixed the first of his 2 or three punctures and here Jonathan was met, on his visit to the OO, with the distressing sight of a young girl, zonked out of her brain after sniffing lighter gas.

At about 04.00 we set off again for the third and last part of our ride. From Bet Shemesh to Jerusalem. From now on it would be all uphill. Although it was still dark, we all managed to feel the hills around us, to see the night sky (when we turned off our P7's) and to hear the night sounds surrounding us. The water crossing proved a little slippery and we all walked through it holding very tightly onto our bikes as the flow was quite fast and wanted to pull us downstream.
Crossing the 386 road, we began the ride through Nahal HaRefaim, again aware of the beauty all around us. We raced through the forests and reached Gesher Kobi out of breath and ready for our next short break.
Unfortunately Stas had more problems with his bike and we ended up staying at least 30 minutes here. While we waited we were visited by various other mountain bikers, runners, illegal transport vans (we think), and managed to finish our plentiful supply of food.
Then the BBC which as we all now know is a phrase coined by Jonathan and refers to the "Big Bad Climb". Jonathan and Gidi raced up the 3 km climb and we all followed them from afar.
From the summit of the BBC it was a downhill free wheeling adrenaline shooting run to the fork in the trails.......we took the left and climbed higher onto the final part of the trail into Jerusalem.

As is our norm, we waited for all to gather and then triumphantly entered Jerusalem together, the five proud Spokes riders having been on the trail for a total of 10 hours with 6 and a half hours actual riding time. The total climb was 1100 meters which after barometric adjustment was reduced to a more accurate 850 meters.
A ride well ridden, in perfect conditions and with perfect company.

OOPS I forgot..............to my partner in life, in riding and in everything we do so well together, thank you for getting up at 04.00 in the morning. Thank you for being at the Gan Tanachi at 06.00 ( I had aspirations that we might get htere by then). Thank you for patiently waiting there till 08.00 and for welcoming us with cold refreshing choco and cake and your lovely smile and THANK you for coming to fetch us all.
By the way, you missed a great ride !!!!!


See you next time.............

Gidi added:

To Max,
It was a great experience! Thanks for your superb leadership!

To Nurit,
Thanks for the warm (and tasty) welcome and for the quick ride back.




Comments:

Ride report 31 July by Max - Yagur Muchraka and singles


04.30 Alarm set....rings......we get up..........
05.30 Bikes packed on car.......New neighbour.....Eitan ready and waiting.........
06.25 Arrive Yagur...parking lot........
06.30 - 06.45 Dennis, Stas, Jonathan and Amos arrive........a party of 7.
Ride begins...along the Kishon...Tyelet.....warming up...waking up.......
Past the Turkish railway system and the mock up of the carriages.......
Riding South to get to the beginning of the long climb to the Muchraka.....(BBC)
Water crossing...see pictures........Tel Kashish..........
Jonathan takes the plunge.....we all follow....not his way!!!!!
Over the pipework area....under the bridge.....start the climb.
No one told us that all the paths had been dug up....we rode in stone dust.......10 cms deep.....
Onwards and Upwards!!!! we rode. ....impossible ascent .......we walked......
Eitan ........my foot..he cried....and turned back......
. We continued.........climbed.......had a break......climbed.....had a break....climbed........
The Muchraka to our left..........we said hallo in passing........and continued on the scenic route "Nof HaCarmel" .
The path ...less severe.....but still punishing........onwards we pushed......had a break....climbed... Reached the beginning of the final single........do it....or not????
Do it.....bad decision. What once might have been a rideable single is now a hikers joy...but not a rider's delight........we walked.........had a break.......walked......had a break.......and so it continued all the way down to Yagur....
Thanks to the good Lord....we made it..... Jonathan, Nurit and I and then Stas and Amos and then Dennis..........
16.00 we finished........dead......fried to a crisp.........bloated with 7 litres of water in our inners.....
17.00 after drinks...beers....water...we loaded the cars
18.00 Home...........

Sometimes plans do not work out as one wanted.........!!
Statistics: 750 meters ascent, 42 kms ridden. Not bad !!

Next week an easier ride..........110 kms to Jerusalem !!!!

and now from our resident poet........Jonathan.........

One oppressive, humid Saturday, with heat that was just searing
We climbed up to the Muhraka with some walking and some wheeling
We all worked up our sweat so much our fingers turned to wrinkles
Then rather than a paved descent, Max opted for the singles

We're all dead beat by then, legs shaking from the strain
With narrow paths and hairpin bends, sharp rocks - real treacherous terrain
Oh come on guys Max said to us, just give a little effort
We looked again and turned our eyes and answered him "Oh 'f' it"

The remaining miles back to our cars we walked in riding gear
With cleated shoes we'd slip and slide - most uncomfortable, my dear
And as I shed my clothes that night I found with great chagrin
A heart-shaped sore from padded shorts burned to my rear end

A deep night's sleep and thorough rest - I'll soon feel superior
I'll rest my legs and rub ointments to my posterior
Next ride I have it all worked out - for pedaling and for pushing
I shall be riding high and tall, upon a padded cushion

and now an ode to sun cream!!!

There was once a man from Tzofit
Who was not too bothered by the heat
His knee in pain, he sprayed in vain
Using Stas's sun cream treat.

It is truly amazing what sun cream will do against pain.

and now from Dennis.....in answer to "Can Peacocks fly"???????

Yes they can. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xzMk_pErVzo



Comments:

Ride report 24 July by Jonathan - Springs and Singles - Aminadav-Ein Karem


The ride was in familiar territory in the hills of Jerusalem - Ein Karem, Aminadav, Yad Kennedy, Sa'adim, Even Sapir and more. Always beautiful countryside and panoramic scenery. Also lots of shade, which at this time of the year is always a good thing.
It started off unusually humid (for Jerusalem) and it took a while until we'd climbed the first of our healthy climbs (up a road leading to Yad Kennedy) that we got to appreciate fresh high altitude air and a nice cooling breeze. We had a quick stop at Yad Kennedy (which is in a terrible state of repairs), munching a few carobs for refreshment and were treated to a short lesson in Arabic by Yoram who pointed out that "harufim" is lamb. Who would have guessed?
After sharing a few jokes, we headed off down the hill that we'd just climbed up - much quicker going down. We passed lots of fountains (ma'ayanot) - Uzi, Abuzi, Itamar - I don't remember all their names. Most were either empty or green, though the green water was reportedly clean all the same - just rather uninviting.
There were plenty of forest trails too, through the forests of Aminadav (which sounds like a place in Lord of the Rings) - no dwarfs, elves, or gnomes - and then to Ein Lavan for a dip. Not sure why it's called "lavan" - the water there was very green too, though very refreshing.
Dennis offered some material for a rhyme but (a) I don't do requests and (b) I don't remember what it was.

Then we began a long gradual climb taking us back in the general direction of Jerusalem. Along the way, Nurit managed to break her front "naba" and two spokes were freed. This resulted in some quick field surgery - initial diagnosis was that the bike was unfit for riding, but some determined work by the teacher of Bike Mechanics 1 got her going again - slowly and gingerly at first, but good enough to get back to Jerusalem.
Along the way, we did a touch of a technical downhill single (mostly on foot), a final, pretty trying climb, in to the city of Jerusalem where we headed back downhill to a pit stop and our cars.
We got back fairly tired, lots of scratches (some from falls - particularly by those who normally don't, some from riding next to prickly plants) but no real injuries.
All in all, about 3 hours of actual motion, spread over nearly six hours of the trip. Some good climbs, practice for technical bits, magnificent views and mostly shielded from the heat and a short swim. All in all, a highly enjoyable ride.

In response to the overwhelming demand for another rhyme (take care with the changing rhythm in each verse):

Nurit rides with us blokes
And suffers our bad jokes
This shabat she had bad luck
And broke two of her spokes

Max was delighted
Our bikes we alighted
To see what could be done
We improvised, a plan devised
While standing in the sun

We're back up and running
The results were quite stunning
Her bike was looking like new
What magic was done
Will be taught for your fun
In Max's Mechanics Course 2

Max added:
Just a thank you to KKL and to IMBA and others who work so hard to give us these very beautiful singles, parks and forest paths.
We all really appreciate the tremendous effort that goes into preparing a good single.
Ein HaLavan gets it's name from the white coloured rocks found in the ridges in the area.

Gidi sent me a news report of a fire which broke out in Yar Aminadav the day after we had left the area. Read it in the Hebrew page.


Comments:

Ride report 17th July by Max - Nahal HaShnaim


In the beginning...........we (Nurit & I) used to pour over topographical maps, read 4 x 4 volumes, study reports from other riders, read books on trails in Israel and then map our route using Naviguide (an old topographical map version of Amud Anan) together with maps of the Israel trails. We would then set out during the week using an old hand held GPS with maps and spend hours working out where to go before doing the actual ride on each Saturday. We also had a distinct advantage that Nurit has a built in GPS somewhere in her brain and it never seems to need charging. Then we progressed. We bought a Garmin 305 Edge which turned out to be a wonderful mapping GPS instrument (with no maps). What this did give us, was the possibility to draw routes on both Amud Anan and Google Earth (both on line on the Internet). Having drawn these routes we could then upload them to the Garmin Edge and then go out into the countryside and "follow" a moving line on the screen of the GPS . While we could see on line, the elevation difference, it is impossible to know the gradient or the technical difficulties that comprise each path. Sometimes we did the route before the Saturday rides and sometimes not but mostly our previously planned route would work out fine. OK but what happens when you get to the "start off" point at 06.30 in the early early morning and turn on the GPS and oops by mistake you press the "DELETE" button instead of the "START" button. (stupid huh???). Well shit happens...... My "start off" chat was.......We remember the beginning and we remember the end but in between those two points may well be a lot of improvisations. So off we went........ .... and we could not remember the beginning........ After a bit of tooing and froing we started the ride and managed to find the whole route apart from missing the hardest climb........now where was that?? Nahal HaShofet is a very beautiful area, with clean, clear water running all the year round. A place to immerse our hot bodies........in the cold refreshing waters...... Nahal Gahar, equally beautiful and finally Nahal Hashnaim which was dry. The naturally planted "natural" forests are truly exotic and the myriad paths allowed us to complete a really great ride. We managed some good healthy climbs, some brilliant technical downhills and if you managed to cope with the heat which seemed to hit us here and there, it was a great ride with a great crowd. To finish....yes...we did find the way back.......then a cold sweet watermelon........courtesy of Nurit and yours truly. See you on the next ride.

Comments:

Ride report 10 July by Jonathan - HH to Nachshonim


It was a "getting back in to riding" sort of ride.
There were just four of us (Max, Nurit, Yoram and Jonathan) and with recent marches for Gilad Shalit, trips to Hungary, a suspected slight cold - the ride was a local and not-too-hard one.
We did show our rust at times - Jonathan and Max nearly crashed into each other, Yoram and Max nearly crashed in to each other, mistaken turns and some quick thinking to overcome unexpected obstacles - especially getting through part of the Israel Trail that has been fenced off.

The ride was mostly pretty - trailing the Kane river through winding trails, which we crossed at our regular spot - then past Einat to Nachshonim where a nice and very stony climb waited us. We got through that, then down the hill to Einat and back. Nearly 50Kms in all - done in quite quick time (the coffee shop in Einat was virtually empty when we got there).
Good exercise and enjoyment all round.

We rode 'cross a river with stones
Then through places where Baptists still roam
Some fences were scaled
Great hills were assailed
And then we rode back to our homes


Comments:

Walking with Aviva and Noam Shalit..for Gilad....more photos....by Max


We added more photos .....see the thousands of people who walked with Noam and Aviva. It is truly an amazing outpouring of people's support for the family.









Comments:

Ride report 3 July by Max - Tzipori singles.


The idea was for a 55 km ride comprising singles and doubles (not tennis) but time lost in finding unridden trails and hidden singles and then some fierce heat caused a correct decision to be taken and we finished a good ride of 31 kms with some smooth flowing singles. The fact that we did most of the singles the wrong way round, according to riders we met on the ride did not cause us to do too much additional technical riding.

Tzipori is a great area to ride in and this time we covered the Northern side of the river. We ended our single trail in a bike shop/ ice cream parlour in the middle of no where and while we did not buy anything, the prices here were quite good and the shop was well plenished with many a good spare part. repairs and service are done on the spot and it seems this is a well frequented watering spot for lovers of non technical singles.

Next time we do this ride we will add on a few kms and attempt to do it the "correct" way round. The start of the ride is in Nofit and anyone who knows this idealistic spot, knows that the settlement sits on the top of a good "healthy" hill. So the start was all dowhill, but the end.........

Comments:

Walking with Aviva and Noam Shalit..for Gilad....July....by Max


We walked with Aviva and Noam as parents of our Children, alive and well and with us at home. We understand very simply, that Aviva and Noam want Gilad, their son, home with them, healthy and able to enjoy his life as he should instead of being held captive, with no rights, for 4 years in terrible conditions somewhere in Gaza, by the Hamas. We know this has no easy solution. We know there is a high price to be paid, but he is our son, your son and we need him home. There is no price for this only the correct decision to be made. One that will bring Gilad home and quickly. See some of the pictures during the walks we were on. Join us and thousands of others as we give those in power, the power that they need to make some very difficult decisions.

Comments:

Ride report 26 June by Nurit - Nahal Kziv ride for Gilad Shalit


Kziv-Gilad 26 june
This weeks ride was for Gilad Shalit

Max and I chose this route in Nahal Kziv since this was where Gilad was born and was his favorite playground. And now about the ride.

A very different weather greeted us as we met, 22 of us, in Manot in the early morning. Residues of the early morning rain had left us with beautiful clear views and a very clean mountain air gave us a great feeling as we prepared our bikes for this special ride.
A brief explanation by Max about the route and then we started, or nearly started, as a call from Stas telling us he was repairing a puncture caused us a minor wait.
A quick downhill start led us to the beginning of our trail and no one thought that this was an indication of the final uphill we would be doing at the end of the ride.
The trail took us past Manot and soon turned into a long, long, long uphill climb but anyone who managed to see the surrounding scenery enjoyed brilliant landscapes very much reminiscent of Switzerland.
At this stage we said fond farewells to Hylton who needed to spend some quality time back in Manot together with Ingride. (Feel better my friend).

Continuing, we rode through Miilya and then turned North towards the beginning of the Nahal. Riding down the breathtaking trail to Nahal Koren and then to Nahal Kziv was amazing and the weather, perfect for a days riding.
In the beginning of the Nahal there is a 50 meter stretch of boulder, bike carrying and pushing but soon we were at the beginning of the second part of our ride along the Kziv river. To our surprise a flowing, clean rushing river greeted us and the sound of this gushing water would stay with us for the next couple of hours.
Our first stop was at Ein Tamir and after an energy break, some of us, led by the intrepid GPS otherwise known as Nurit, delved into a split in the rock face and stooped gingerly in the dark through the cold waters to search for the source of the waters.
Although the beauty of Ein Tamir causes you to want more, we did eventually get back on our bikes to continue our ride through the 100-200 meter high canyon, crossing the water filled Nahal many times, over boulders and river stones that caused us to put a foot down here and a fall there but finally we arrived at the gate and our ride along one of the most natural and beautiful rivers in Israel was over. We all hope that Shimon’s aches and pains will soon go and beware green cars in the future. The same for Uri who now needs a good manicure.

The final part of our ride led us up a technical steep climb and then a further short uphill brought us back to the cars.

Here we all got together again and with bikes back on the cars, we drove the long. long, long climb to the Montfort parking area (somehow it seems easier by car ???), and then a quick change of shirts, and flags tied securely onto our bikes we rode the last 2-3 kms to visit and show our support, to Noam and Aviva, whom we met on the back porch in their home.
We all stood here before this very strong woman, who has waited for 4 years while her son languishes somewhere in captivity and is fighting to bring her son home and I (Nurit) , with tears in my eyes, found it very difficult. We came to show them, Noam and my friend Aviva that we are with them and that in our own way and through our rides we will always remember Gilad and will continue until Gilad is released and returns home.

The amazing short downhill ride back to the car was full of thoughts and prayers, that Gilad would return very quickly to walk and ride, in the trails and paths that abound in this very special area of Israel.
Then from the depths of our blue car, Max pulls out the next surprise and we all savour the "Oh so sweet and cold" water mellon. A perfect way to stave off our hunger pains at the end of a great ride.

This time my thanks to all of you who rode with us, for your patience and support in what for me is a very personal issue.

And many many thanks to Max, first for the week that passed when you could hardly stand because of your back, for updating the site all the time about Gilad, for your organization in bring together all the riders, for the shirts you had printed and all this while receiving treatment for your back, all through the week. There is no doubt that your humour, your peace of mind and the scenery around us helped me on this very difficult day.

Comments:

Ride report 19 June by - Max - Horshim and Einat


HH to Horshim, Einat and Back 19 June
Not too early, but wary of the heat, we left Hod Hasharon at 07.00 for a 40 Km ride round our local hunting ground. Along the Kane we rode, toward Kfar Saba, Neveh Yamin to our left and Sde Hemed, our right. Then parallel to Kvish 6 , Jaljouliya now on our right with Yarchiv on our left.
Previously we got in a warm up climb to the top of Matan but now, alas, we are closed out, made unwelcome by a yellow metallic guard. A detour is made amidst another pile of evil garbage.
Then continue under Kvish 6, through the fields and orchids, keep out shouted the barbed wire 10 meters high and electrified....where are we????.

Now into familiar ruts, stones and trails...alias Horshim and climbing time.
Up to Horshim, up to Oranit and then a cool free wheeling downhill to the rubbish of Kfar Kassem.
Where did all the cleaners go............Long time passing........
A climb up into our very own wide single, nearly all making the highest point. And now a welcome back to Irena (blond???) and Ofer who joined us on our local ride before going off the sunny (we hope) Austria for a long long ride along the Danube........Kol HaKavod and have fun.
Then Zvika shouting Genoug........enough.......bring me my wife. And she came and took him home........be well......my friend.
Through the quarry area, fields burnt on both sides (be careful our brothers....when you burn the plastic off the electrical cables) and through the Western borders of Park Rosh HaAyin, climbing up and then down to Migdal Tzedek.
Shall we climb up to the fort I cried???
NO NO No they cried back in unison.........so we did not climb!!!!
Down we rode to Einat, filled our bottles with water and rode on into the fields of Park Afek. Passed the fortress of Afek and through the myriad trails of the Yarkon.
Shall we cross the water ... i cried ????
No No NO in unison the cried.........so we crossed the waters........

Irena took the opportunity for a quick wash down (no soap available) and others washed their shoes.....
The way back was easy riding and then into the cars and speedily we drove to Jonathan's hut.
Happy birthday to you... happy Birthday to you.......etc etc.
Kol HaKavod to Joanne who prepared a spread worthy of Spokes Kings and we indulged in our favourite past time of beer, humous and swimming.... Thanks to you both Johno and Joanne.

And thus ended a splendid 40 km ride. Not too hot, with a breeze on our side all the time to cool us down.

See you next week in Kziv - the ride is dedicated to Gilad Shalit so join us.............

Ofer Comments:
Thank you Max for leading a great ride! We enjoyed the trip, the perfect selection of garbage, and especially the enjoyable company.
Special thanks to Joanne, Jonathan and the dogs for a great hospitality!

Comments:

Ride report 12 June by Dennis - Nahal Itlah


The riders gathered together sipping cold fluids decided unanimously that today had been a hard ride. The mother of all hard rides by which all future hard rides shall be measured. 9.9 points on the hard-ride scale. That, strange though it may seem, is all that I can remember. The rest of the morning's activities are shrouded in swirls of metaphorical mist. Oy vay. Seven hours of one's life totally obliterated.

Fortunately, the wonders of modern technology come to the aid of post-traumatic mental-erasure syndrome sufferers. Through careful reconstruction from multiple GPS tracks, numerous photographic images of suffering (don't be misled by any smiles), and detailed graphs of local weather conditions (it did feel a little warm), the following tale of what befell us emerges.

Most prominent of the gradually appearing recollections are the hills. Hills going up, and hills coming down. Between these hills, rivers are supposed to flow. More precisely, streams. But at this time of year there are no streams. No bubbling brooks of cool water to quench the thirst of the weary traveller. Just stones. Rivers of rocks. There are small rocks, medium size rocks, and big rocks. The paths through the area cross these rocky beds many times. Mountain bike riders are told the best way to get through is to ignore the rocks, and indeed this method seems to work as long as the rocks are no larger than small animals or footballs (which reminds me, we had to hurry since there would soon be footy on the telly); when faced with a boulder the size of a large animal, or a small house, other techniques are suggested (see photos).

Shaar Hagai is where it began for the six happy riders. Beneath highway 1 we proceeded (few know of the many hidden passages beneath our highways) into the eastern part of Park Canada and up to Artillery Ridge with a great view over the area. Then a swift downhill to the foot of Mevo Horon. At this point we were at an altitude of 240 m; little did most of us know of the long ascent that awaited us.

k about help for a broken chain. No problem for our technicians, who, when the broken chain arrived, swiftly effected the repairs with available tools and a replacement link. The youngsters were most impressed, and departed pleased at having learned an important lesson. Through Nataf, then up to Har H Nahal Kefira provided the path for much of our climb. At Ein Nataf, with its deep well, we rested briefly and encountered some younger riders who were also braving the harsh terrain. After leaving them we continued upward, and shortly after, one of the young folk, breathless, caught up with us to asaruach. In 7 km we had climbed 420 m; that's an average 6% grade. On the mountain we rested and breathed the fresh air. Then more uphill and a Polish memorial forest to our peak of 750 m.

Time to descend, courtesy of Nahal Yitlah. And down we went. Almost 500 m down a steep stony slope, with numerous rocky stream crossings at the lower end. Plenty of work for the brakes. At some point (E204357 N637080, or thereabouts) we were forced to engage in bike portaging over very inhospitable ground (see photos). This is not a place for cycling; it is a place for scrambling on all fours or sliding on one's rear end. There was a cave in the cliff that we saw but were not inclined to explore. Getting through this mini-canyon took half an hour (think of all those km we could have ridden).


The rest was smooth sailing, relatively speaking. Another 100 m climb, back under the highway, and... The end. A total of 850 m climbed, 34 km travelled. The riders gathered together sipping cold fluids decided unanimously that today had been a hard ride.

ruminations from our resident rhymer of rural Tzofit

We'd done two climbs up trails and rocks Hearts pumping with great fury We passed Nataf atop a hill Then to a site for Polish Jewry

We looked ahead upon a road
That seemed a mile tall
"OK guys" reported Max
"We've come up to the Wall"

Nurit's lower lip was shaking
"I'll go the long way round.
I've done it once but that's enough
It will run me to the ground"

But Dennis resolutely pleaded
"We're united stand or fall"
So we all set off with great resolve
To scale the mighty Wall

Seventy meters up it goes
Just seven hundred in its length
It's pure brute force and stamina
And will sap up all your strength

We changed down gears, we took some air
Legs were pumping, backs were bent
We started riding side to side
To reduce the angle of ascent

We climbed the Wall and caught our breath Our pulses would still pound "We've done the Wall this time but next We'll go the long way round"

max added Little did we know what awaited us. Go into the Black canyon, my instincts told me.....but I expected a somewhat rideable single from Nahal Itlah through the valley to Mevo Horon.
An 8 meter canyon awaited us, no single, no paths no ............all we had to do was clamber down 2 meter tall rocks, find footholds where there were none and then pass the bikes down from one t'other.
Where were those ropes we lamented.?
Who the hell led us here, we cried?
But we laughed at the craziness. Never follow Max's instincts......always gets you into trouble.
Well we managed it and had fun doing it (see the pics) and I never heard one single complaint.....!!!!!!!
Who said anything about a hard ride?????????
see you next time......


Comments:

Ride report 9 June by Max - Hod Hasharon - Basic Mechanics course - Our Home


Mech course1 9 Jun
What started as an idea some time ago, became fact last night.
A beer evening with the guys and Nurit of course was a must.
During the evening we also managed to discuss a couple of basic mechanical ideas concerning bikes and mountain bikes in particular.
The idea was to explain the best ways to do certain tasks on our bikes, like removing wheels, especially the back one, replacing inner tubes, repairing chains and derailleur ears (otherwise known as hangers) and other items that came up during the discussion.
The most talked about task was how to clean and oil the bike chain and generally how to clean the bike. (See my article about this.....in the archive section of the site).
At the same time we sold some of Joe's, in my opinion, very good bike degreasers, oils and inners. We sell these at very good prices.

True, the forum was a bit noisy at times and true I had to threaten to remove members from the plenum...including Nurit at one point, but generally everyone was well behaved and I hope we all learned something and at the same time had fun.
A certificate of excellence will be issued to :
Jonathan, Tzvika, Dennis, Stuart, Matti, Itzik, Nathan, Yuval and of course Nurit.

See you at the next session and comments and suggestions are welcome.






Comments:

Ride report 5th June by Jonathan - Marathon Jerusalem 2010


Marathon Jerusalem
The route this time was the Jerusalem Marathon that was done about a month ago - a circular route of about 25Km starting at Hirbet Sa'adim that basically goes down, down, down and then up, up, up. The full marathon was 3 circles, the half-marathon was 2 times round and our route was one (with an option for a second). One could debate whether that counts as a third of the marathon or a quarter (half or the half).
In any case the ride was graded as medium technical and medium stamina (I believe that was for one circle, but given our calibration system, two times round would probably get the same rating).

With my mind spinning with these options, I set out and unfortunately forgot my backpack - complete with water and salted dates - at home.
Fortunately I didn't forget to pick up Tzvika along the way who most heroically volunteered to carry extra water for me. Thank you Tzvika!

We got going more or less on time, weather was perfect (fresh cool mountain air) and the scenery, as usually for that area, was really beautiful. Some punctures early on set us back but we were soon on track, descending down towards Nahal Sorek and eventually on to Gesher Kobi (where our ride to Jerusalem took us). Max fitted in a quick sales pitch along the way, showing off his Steppenwolf to two interested riders and then on to the last part which this was a rather tricky-in-places single where we sometimes walked/sometimes rode. Having been passed by three more adventurous riders that did it all without batting an eyelid, the three wise men all concurred that "we could have ridden all of it. Not this time - perhaps next".

We had a short break at Gesher Kobi where I nearly forgot my helmet and gloves (what was going on?) and started out on the BBC (the Big Bad Climb, for those that didn't read the Jerusalem ride report). We sweated and groaned and scaled the BBC and generally concurred - on top of the hill - that it wasn't really the worst climb we've done. The three wise men nodded in consent - "we could have done it faster. Not this time, probably next".

Some more climbing - including a very steep, though fairly short, part on bitumen took us back up to the cars where we did a small ride around the park to finish the ride. Lots of families picnicking, mangalim and walking tours. Another steep, but shorter climb to finish and we had reached our cars for the second and final time. All in all, a magnificent area - a ride that was quite challenging in parts, though overall not the hardest we've done. Medium/medium was a fair grading (for once). The three wise men, after solemn discussion all agreed: "we could do two laps. Not this time, definitely next".

A final passing thought on the way the rides are graded:

We gather up data on tracks
On distance, ascent and all facts
But when each of the days
Is given "medium" grades
What does it all mean? Go ask Max!



Comments:

Ride report 1st June by Max - Tel Aviv


Gilad 1 june
Thanks to all of you who showed you cared. Cared about Gilad Shalit and his family. Cared about the fact that he is still held unlawfully by the Hamas in some hell hole in Gaza and cared enough to show Tel Aviv that we want Gilad Shalit released.
The feed back that we get from those we stopped and from those who stopped us to hand out and receive the stickers and ribbons was plenty to show that so many people care and nobody has forgotton.
We know that Gilad's parents appreciate what we are doing and as far as they are concerned, every action helps.
WE MUST NOT LET ANYONE FORGET THAT GILAD IS STILL ALIVE, IS STILL HELD IN CAPTIVITY AND MUST BE RELEASED SOON.
On a lighter note, the first and oldest railway station in Tel Aviv (nr Yafo) is now open...to be visited and a good place for coffee etc, etc....

Comments:

Ride report 29th May by Max - Nahal Dalia & Har Horshan


Dalia & Horshan 29th May
A stony descent into Nahal Shalef and at our first stop in Ein Dmomit, we discovered Israel's main supply of water. As this is so secret we cannot begin to provide details but see the pictures for a better understanding.
Even now, the beginning of June, there is still water running through Nahal Shalef and the green foliage is truly beautiful.
Onwards we rode, warming up from an early morning chill....yes it was cold when we began.......under highway 6...a hideous cement monstrosity, (however, when I drive on it, I actually like it, as to get to the North of the country now is so much quicker), and then a hard climb up to Hill 186, known to the locals as Har Manara.
Here we met 2 great lads driving their Polaris Ranger buggy up the NE face of the this hill, overcoming steps of 40 cms and rocks and nonchalantly arriving at the top with comments like ..."that was an easy one compared to what we normally do". Well done to them and thanks for the great coffee they prepared for us.

We continued down to Ein Amikam an expanding community and began our climb to Har Horshan. Tzvika riding his new Stumpjumper comp felt the true advantages of a full suspension over a hard tail and rode up these climbs like a mountain lion......!! Nooo..Azoy !!!
A 100 meter climb brought us to the center of Har Horshan where we had our well deserved energy break. The discussions were very internal and we discussed the possibilities of motorized colonoscopy.
Then we continued through Har Horshan South and down to a bike park with berms and other jollies to wet our appetites. Then another short sharp climb and we began our downhill to the Western perimeter of Har Horshan.
Not being able to miss another good healthy climb, we came to a junction where we had two choices, one a smooth flat trail round Har Horshan or an abominable hard rocky climb to the summit of Har Horshan.....again. Well I democratically decided for all of us and up we climbed...and climbed...and climbed. Some rode, some pushed but eventually we made it to the summit. (In my opinion...a good "healthy" climb).
The summit achieved, we now pondered our next move, and so led by Stas (our own bulldozer), we entered a single which allegedly would take us down to the bottom of Har Horshan. the funny thing was that in the middle the single changed direction and climbed high. Stas and I climbed and the others sensibly took a white wide path to the bottom.
Eventually we all met again and rested awhile before the next stage of our ride.
Basically we were now pointing North and rode under Highway 6 again and parallel to it before turning East and back to Ein HaEmek.

A 33 km ride, but with all the additions (some unplanned) to the route we had done previously, I would say this was quite a hard ride.


Comments:

Ride report 22 May by Max - HH, Einat, Nahal Shilo, Horshim and back.


Nahal Shilo Stones 22 May
The combination of the Yarkon trails, Nahal Shilo and park Rosh HaAyin in one ride of 45 kms is hard. Add that to high temperatures and it becomes very hard. Put all that in the pot with 5 hours and you get an equation which looks like this:
(((yt+ns+ra)*45)*t)*hr=a killer. Factor into this, the number of punctures, breaks and swear words used during the ride and we begin to get the beginning of an equation which will solve the ancient question of "What constitutes a hard ride?"
More on these definitions can be found in the "Interesting Topics" section.
I will be pleased to hear from the Engineers in the group, a proposed mathematical solution for an equation which will give us the ultimate answer.

Ah yes, the ride.
Well we started off nice and sedately, being joined by Matti, a neighbour of Zvika's. Through the rideable, mud free trails of the Yarkon and to Einat. At Einat and very sensibly too, Matti decided to return and we set off on our trip around Nahal Shilo.
The area in Winter is a delight to the eyes, Green, flowery and generally very pretty. Now towards the high Summer, the area becomes very brown and barren, devoid of any trees and a magnet for high temperatures. However, the trails are tremendously exciting, combining good climbs and good adrenaline pumping stony downhills and they seem to go on for ever.
Trying to find a tree, under which we could all squeeze, for an energy break, was difficult, both as a result of the thorns and the fact that during the whole ride until Horshim we only met one tree. Maybe a letter to the right people in KKL.
So coming back was a bit easier and 5 hours later we finished at Gershwin's with a feeling of pure.........tiredness.
So......stretch those muscles and don't let them cramp up....and see you all on Thursday night for a moonlight, NON technical ride.

Statistics:

Ride (R)=45 km
Total Riding Time (TRT)=3hrs and 45 mins
Average speed (AS) = 13 Km/hr
Total Ascent (TA) = 450 meters
Total Descent (TD) = TA

Get the Engineers to factor these stats into the equation. .... Professor...where are you ????

By the way, we did actually see the camal on this ride....!!!!

Comments:

Ride report 19th May by David - The Gaaton


Gaaton 19th May
The last time I reported for the Ladies and Gentlemen of Spoke was on 08.08.2009 (Narbata) when I wrote: "....it is important to bear in mind that his [Max's] definition of the term 'medium' is somewhat subjective and may not necessarily bear any resemblance whatsoever to other definitions of that term....".

Against such a background, and on the basis of the advertised level of difficulty, for sure it was a "medium" ride: the uphills were medium (compared to riding in the foothills of the Himalayas); the stony terrain were medium, compared to riding on the Moon (any plans for a ride there Max?); and stamina was medium, compared to any 25 year old Iron Man contender. And lest one should ever dare to question the accuracy of Max's words one need look no further than his riding time estimate of 5 hours. Actual riding time was 4 hours, 58 minutes and 51 seconds (but don't be discouraged Max - an error of 1 minute 9 seconds is acceptable).

And so to the tachlis:
1. Eleven starters from the car park at Shayeret Yechiam (happily, with the same number of finishers).
2. Essentially one long uphill up to the Crusader Fortress at Yechiam, a few ups and downs at the top, then another long downhill of more or less equal length to the finish (see the elevation graph in the web link at the end of this report).
3. The uphills - a test not only of one's riding skills, but also of one's walking-a-bike-uphill skills, but more than compensated for by the magnificent views, especially from the Fortress area where "you can see forever".
4. The downhills - ranging from adrenalin-hairy, through exciting, bumpy, exhilarating, to just plain luxuriating, all amid a backdrop of the beauty of the surrounding countryside, and especially the verdant glory in the Nahal Gaaton area.
5. Navigation - as usual the Max/Nurit team did a great job, when all they asked was "a tall ship[enwolf] and a [GPS or 2] to steer her by"!
6. Great weather, great company.
7. BTW - the route almost throughout was a minefield of thorns of all shapes and sizes. Fortunately we only had two "flats" which didn't even require a tube replacement, and reminded me just how significant sealant technology has become in the enjoyment of our rides.

Thanks Max and Nurit, and all regular Spokers, for another great ride with Spokes
For my GPS details of the ride go to: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/33877807
[Note - the heart rate data is not that of a 25 year old Iron-Man Contender]


and now for some rhyme.
Jonathan (our regular Yeats)
added his own tales, and waits
for recognition from his many fans
of his skills both bike and literans

Jonathan added:

Yehiam
Gaaton
Lots of stones and rocks
Hills galore
Our legs are sore
And Nurit scratched a kotz

We'd walked up hills
And take some spills
Without making too much fuss
And then descend
Until the end
Being lead by Max and Stas

Ted and Dina
Dave and Ingride
Yoram, Tzika, Dennis
And Yonatan
We all had fun -
Though much more work than tennis!

Editors note:
We cannot accept any responsibility for the written act.
We are doing our best to have certain members certified.


Comments:

Ride report 15 May by Dennis - HH via Horshim, Park Rosh HaAyin, Einat and back


HH Horeshim Einat 15 May
It was supposed to be a hot day, so the ride down south was replaced by some meanderings to the east of Route 6. From Hod Hasharon via Elishema, Sde Chemed, and north-east over to the bridge over Route 6, all went according to plan. But then, while proceeding south to Matan we encountered the Locked Gate. It was so well locked that all our entreaties to the Powers Above failed to open it, so we backtracked reluctantly, back over Route 6, south where we were overtaken by a charging donkey cart, and then under Route 6, and onto Yarhiv. While this was a newly learned remedy for closed gates, it did deprive us of our traditional warmup climb through Matan.

All was not lost from a climbing point of view, because we immediately set off on a road climb past Nirit to Mitzpe Hezi. We know this road well, having whizzed down it many times in the dark. The only difference today was that we were whizzing up, and the sun was also starting to make its presence felt. From the road we turned onto a track, interviewed a King Charles spaniel, discussed purple flowers (a variety of hollyhock we were informed by a passing member of the Nature Protection Society who clearly had a doctorate in botany), and presumably did other things including listening to poetry of indeterminate quality and some meanderings through the forests and single-tracks of Horshim, before proceeding onward to check out the garbage at Kfar Kassem (gone, but starting to rebuild).

Onward, south and west into the hills behind Migdal Tsedek, up some rocky slopes not really designed for wheeled motion as the temperature rose, and then down from the fortress to Rosh Haayin where there was a break for puncture fixing. Finally, in violation of all that is holy to the off-road rider, a quick sprint along the road to bring us to the back routes leading to where we started five hours previously.

The finale was wine and cheese on a shady patio by a cool pool with a breeze and a view, chez Jonno and Joanne. What with the cold watermelon, not to mention big fluffy sheepdogs licking ones' salty limbs, could one have asked for more? Greatly appreciated by one and all.

Since this is a ride report, for the record, we did 41 km, with over 300 m ascended.

Max added:
Some of this ride became very technically challenging. The rocky incline is a great place to practice our techical riding skills, in jumping our bikes over small steps and in choosing the best path to take over rocks.
Take 2 spare inners from now on, as we are in the "thorn" period.

Next week on Tuesday evening 19.30 we will have our first "Basic Mechanics" course to be at our home. In this course we will cover, removal of front and back wheels, repairing punctures, repairing a broken chain, replacing a derailleur hanger and other questions which may arise.
The price is 20 shekels (for beers and cakes etc) for our regular riders.
We will have some of Joe's inners (spare tubes with sealer) for those who want.
Please make sure you register for this course as we are limited by space.


Comments:

Ride report 1 May by Jonathan - Hod Hasharon Marathon to Jerusalem


HH to Jslem 1 May
I'll start at the end: a fantastic day (my most rewarding ride so far) -
hard work for sure, but terrific. If you are contemplating suicide, there can be fewer more enjoyable options.

Six of us met at 6am at Gershwins to celebrate 1st May by riding what turned out to be 11 hours to Jerusalem: Max and Nurit, Shimon, Amos, Natan and Jonathan.
After completing our preparations we set at and set a steady, though not too fast pace through the Yarkon trails up to Einat, where our path turned south-east on past Airport City, Lod and Ramle.
Along the way, Nurit picked up a mega-puncture after riding over a nail that was longer than a derailleur hanger. A patch was tried (didn't stick), the inner was sand-papered and another patch applied - it seemed to work and enabled us to get back on our way.
We zipped through Lod and stopped in Ramle for a short pit stop. Since we were riding through Israel's glorious natural countryside, it was only fitting that we stopped in a Ramle pertol station.
We got going again - to Moshav Rintia where Nurit's patch finally gave way and the inner was replaced.
Natan was dressed resplendently for May 1 - with a bright red shirt and a glowing red helmet. He was soon puffing and his face turned so red, it was hard to know where his anatomy stopped and his gear started.
After Rintia, things started to get a little complicated - a very stony path, railway lines, sandy trials (and a fall!) - but nothing would deter our loyal comrades. We passed a field of sunflowers (females, according to Nurit) with some unmissable photo ops. Then during a long trail along the Fields of Barley (that were still a lot more than a Stone's Throw from Jerusalem), things started getting tough. The sun was beating down, Max started bleating out old English songs in what appeared to be in a state of delirium (judging by his tunes anyway) and Natan's legs started cramping.
We eventually made it to the outskirts of Bet Shemesh where Max called in the cavalry (his wife) - though fortunately Itzik was close by with his car ready to help him over the last few kilometers to the Bet Shemesh kiosk.

From there, the climbs started. Max set a cracking pace for a furious 14 Km climb ("It's great it wasn't too steep - you can really go fast!". Wow!!) and eventually was called by Nurit to halt the punishment and we stopped to gather our breath next to Nahal Sorek. Everyone was complaining - Shimon's shoulder's hurt, Nurit's leg muscles were aching, Jonathan's back was bothering him and Amos was suffering in a place where "the sun don't shine". Max seemed to think it was humorous.
A little later and we arrived at Gesher Kobi (alongside Nahal Refaim) , where the ominous Big Bad Climb was to start. After the beating we had been served out after Bet Shemesh, no-one seemed to think it was THAT bad - though everyone was definitely aching and throbbing by now. We eventually finished the BBC, still in one piece and headed downhill towards our goal. A few minor climbs (short but very steep and rather punishing in our state of exhaustion) followed and soon enough, we could see the giraffe's neck protruding above the bushes in the Biblical Zoo of Jerusalem.
We rode the last hundred yards in unison (nearly toppling each other along the way) and were heralded in to the car park of the zoo with great fanfare.

Nurit and Max had organized some food and beer - we ate, drank, congratulated ourselves on reaching our goal and with the groans and moans, set off home. 11 hours, 100Kms almost to the dot and an accumulative ascent of somewhere around 1,300-1,500 meters (my GPS died before the end) - though that is without deducting the data with the highest standard deviation.

****

It was a very special day - there was real comradery between the (first) 6 then (later) 5 of us and despite the physical effort a day thoroughly enjoyed by all. Many thanks go to Max and Nurit for organizing not only the ride, but the surrounding logistics, to their friend Amos who drove up to Jerusalem, just to drive half of us back (and he said we were crazy!) and our Amos's son/daughter for getting his car there for the other half's return ride. Yeshar Koah to all!!

Max added:
just a couple of statistics:
1. Total ride: 100 kms
2. Total trip time: 10 hrs and 35 mins
3. Total riding time (estimated): 8 hrs
4. Average speed (estimated); 12.5 km/hr
5. Total Ascent: 1151 meters
6. Total descent: 538 meters



Comments:

Ride report 28th April by Max - Ramat HaHayal to Yaffo for Gilad Shalit


Gilad 28 Apr
380,000 people wore white today, for Gilad Shalit. That in itself is amazing and well done to Ilan Spector, a 21 year old, for organising such an event.
Anything done to continue to bring the Gilad Shalit story to the fore of the Israeli news is worth doing. Our decision makers need to know that we want Gilad home and soon.
We the SPOKES, rode through Tel Aviv, our flags flowing behind us in the cool evening breeze, shouting to all....."Remember Gilad Shalit".....
It was great to see you all cared and it was also great to see the reactions of the Tel Avivians as we rode past them.
As we promised, we will hold this ride at the end of every month until Gilad is released.



Comments:

Ride report 24 Apr by Max - HaSharon


Herzlia twilight 24 Apr
Sand gliding on Mountain Bikes.
Learn how to ride your mountain bike through granulated sand.

We started out at about 17.50 through all the Moshavim and Moshavot that we know and ended up next to Arsuf, the closed down, non existant coffee shop. Then instead of riding South we rode West to the sunset and the sea.
Yes, there is sand but with the right technique and good leg power, the whole area is good riding practice.
But more important.....the sand is alive with many colourful flowers and plants....a sight to behold and enjoy.
Add to that the Israeli sunset over the Med and you probably have another one of my "most" wonderful places in Israel. Go there, ride there and do it before everything turns brown.

Comments:




Ride report 17 Apr by Max - Har Heret


Har Heret 17 Apr
Walk, Walk,and walk. Who advertised this walk as a ride?
OK, so the first part from Motza along the Bet Zait reservoir was great but then we had to go down a totally non rideable single to cross behind the dam over to the far side of the Wadi.
And then the uphills began. Hard stony uphills and steep. And then Benny's chain snapped. Brilliant. Ok so out come the tools and lo and behold a SRAM power link appears and in 7 minutes Benny was back on his bike for a long haul uphill.
We climbed, we cursed and we all said what great exercise this was.
Who the hell wanted this........we could have stayed in bed and read the bloody newspaper.
Anyway we puffed our way up to the dizzy heights of Har Heret and then continued to Sataf. Here we began the long route round Har Eiten but backwards. Some said it was easier than last time. In fact most said that.
Here we climbed to about 800 meters above sea level, our highest point and on a plateau leading to nowhere we gazed out on a 360 degree panoramic view of the area.

Just before we reached this pinnacle of success, our dear Leader (me) allowed us a 15 minute break under a very welcome tree.
To be honest, the conditions for the break were disgusting. No tables and no chairs and to cap that no toilets.
I mean. if you're going to organise something, then for goodness sake ,do it properly.

Now the weather. it was great. A slight breeze all the time and temperatures in their 25's all the way. Hamsin ??? Nada.

So who were the stars of today's ride??

1. Yoram......who stayed upright while riding his bike down the most slippery of stony descents.
2. Stas......when he fell, we called the Dr. Stas................................!!!
3. Dennis...........What is the diffence between Shabbat and to sit (in Hebrew of course)...
4. Max....who managed to jump off his bike while falling on a sony descent...and still stay upright. (the bike fell).
5. Nurit.......who forced us to climb right to the top of Har Eitan!!!!!! Bless her......
6. Yuval who walked 22 kms of a 25 km ride...........only joking.........
7. The list is endless.......but I think great fun was had by all and the ride was good fun as well.
See you next week in Yodfat.

Comments:

Ride report 10 Apr by Max - Yodefat - Lower Galillee


Yodefat Apr 10
The bad news:10 km and 450 meters of continuous ascent. The good news: all on asphalt.
That was the end of the ride and although it was hard work, it was great exercise.
In the beginning we rode from Moshav Yodefat to the top of Mount haAtzmon, a very stony technical ride but certainly rideable ..........for some!!!
Then walked a bit to the highest point of the mount for a 360 deg panoramic lookout point all over the Bet Natufa valley, Haifa and then all points North to Rosh haNikra.
On a clear day you can see for ever.........(who said that?).
From here the rest was downhill ....about 10 kms into the valley but so stony.......enough to turn any good milk into cheese.
However, the views were stupendous and with all the colours of the farming communities laid below us, we enjoyed every line, mathematically drawn, through the fields in the Bet Netufa valley.
The amazing colours of the flowers that held their heads up high for our perusal were enough to make the ride worth while.

Added to this, we stopped at Roma El Hiv, which is a Tel under which the Maccabees built a whole set of caves with hidden (and small) entrances etc. A must for those intrepid explorers who like crawling on all fours.(we do!!)
Then a long ride nearly parallel to the National Water carrier and into Kfar Mislach and the start of the the long haul back to Yodefat.
All in all a great ride and one we shall do again very soon.

Comments:

A Poem by Jonathan 4 April


In Park Eshkol we gathered
On an early Saturday
We unpacked our bikes and riding kits
And set out on our way

We climbed a mound
That Nurit found
And had a look around
And then went down
To join the trail
With daisies all abound

Some singles and some wider roads
We passed a four-by-four
Then we crossed the spansion bridge
That spans the mighty Nahal B'sor

We had our break
Where we could take
Our breath and rest a bit
We rode through gushing fords and then
A spate of punctures cruelly hit

From that point on
It all went wrong
We stopped and stopped again
With punctured tires and burning heat
And Tzika looking beat
Yuval made some silly jokes
That I shudder to repeat

We made it back
Alive and well
In to our cars we fell
And met at Tzomet Ben Kama
For ice-creams and a spell

Another week, another ride
Despite the toil and the strain
We had our fun and exercise
And look forward to going again

No need to fret about the heat
Or kasamim from Hamas
If we survive a ride of Max's then
Nothing can hurt us!

Max Added: We will be holding another collection and this time hope to be able to send Jonathan on a rhyming and stanza building course.

There was a young man named Jonathan
Who fancied himself a letter's man
When told his rhymes were bad
And his stanzas equally mad
Got fedup and turned into a spokes man

Send donations to account number 127-434356 at Bank Hospice de Brainpan.

Comments:

Ride report April 3 by Max - Nahal HaBsor


Nahal HaBsor 3 Apr
The end of the ride was in 37 deg oppressive heat and it was not nice. As long as we kept a momentum we had a very slight breeze but the minute we stopped it was hot...........
And we stopped. We stopped for punctures....one after the other and all after the energy break.
Why we couldn't have had the punctures in the early morning when the the temperature was still reasonable was anyone's guess.
But now from the beginning.
We met at 08.00 at the entrance to the park and there waited for Yuval to put his make up on, eventually starting at 08.20.
In the Park entrance we nearly had to pay....20 shekels per person but Nurit persuaded the park keeper that we were just passing through and would not be partaking of any of the park's activities.
So having saved 20 shekels each we were now at the beginning of our new start up.
the ride South was an easy 17 kms through a plethora of flowers and plants of all kinds and all colours. The rain that fell here last week allowed us to enjoy greenery that one does not normally find here in April.
So we arrived at the "Bridge Over the River HaBsor" and after being told that we were in danger of being thrown into prison for many a long year, were we to RIDE over the bridge, some walked and others, taking their lives into their own hands actually had the audacity to ride over.

The other side should have been a fun ride with a couple of good singles, but the heat took its toll as did Zvika's medication and as did Merrill's puncture, Amos's double puncture, Zvika's puncture and Yuval's general lack of air. So we stayed on the wide paths and gradually rode the meandering paths back to the cars.
Now Itzik is another story. I am taking a collection to buy Itzik a compass as his North seems to be confused with his South. I am taking a second collection to buy Itzik a course on how to read the aforesaid compass.
All in all 36 kms of heat. See you next ride...........Midbar Yehuda... a riding, walking experience through the most beautiful vistas.

Comments:

Ride report 30 Mar by Max - Tel Aviv for Gilad


Gilad Shalit 30 Mar
Thanks everyone who rode with us through Tel Aviv. The idea was to remind everyone that Gilad Shalit is alive, still in captivity and must be released immediately. Pessach is the festival of freedom and Gilad has been in captivity since June 2006. That is 1, 376 days of not being free. We ask whoever it is out there, responsible for bring our boys back home, to make sure that this will happen very soon to Gilad. We in our own very small way will dedicate the last night ride on the last Tuesday of every month to Gilad Shalit until he is brought home. We will ride through Tel Aviv with flags and stickers and will make people aware that Gilad has still not been returned. Make sure to join us and make your voice heard.

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Ride report 20 Mar by Max - Horshim and Einat


Horshim&Einat
Ok, so when I write 07.00 I expect riders to be at the meeting point on time. But what happens when i don't arrive. Now that's another story.
This morning the ride was advertised to start at 07.00 but for some reason I had in my mind 07.30. At 07.15 Jonathan phones and says "well....where are you??"
"Oops" I said as I realised my mistake and we rode heler skelter to reach the meeting point ....only 25 minutes late.
So apologies to all.
The ride today took us up to Matan and further up to Oranit, then down to the end of Kfar Kasem where unfortunately the garbage is beginning to pile up again. By the way, the garbage at the back of Eli Shema along Nahal Kane is also disgusting. It seems that we in Israel still have a long way to go before we reach standards commomplace in other parts of the World.
How can we cause those irresposible citizens to understand the damage they are causing.
Anyway from Kfar Kasem we rode the single parellel to the road conneting Oranit to Highway 5. From there into the fields next to Rosh HaAyin and then through some new tracks into Park Shilo and around to the back of the quarries, around Migdal Afek and thence to Einat for coffee.
Here we had the pleasure of bumping into the Cyclenix crowd and it was a pleasant surprise to see all the old/young faces.
So, we ended the ride after 45 kms of good x country riding including my muscles seizing up and one puncture. Otherwise just plain good fun was had by all.
Next week we ride in the South part of Nahal NaBsor.
See you there.

Comments:

Ride report 21 Feb by Max - Antofagasta Chile


Antofagasta Sights and sounds
Just a few pics to show what Antofagasta is all about. Certainly not a tourist attraction but is has its charm.
A town of 200,000 made up of a large percentage of transient workers who stay the week here and then return to their wives, husbands and whatever for the week ends, to Santiago and other places.

Apparantly this town is one of the most expensive areas of Chile because of the high salaries paid to the engineers working for the mining and mineral Companies.
You can see a very big difference between the closed areas where the engineers live and to the very poor areas of the normal Antofagastan dwellers.

Having said that, it seems that there is plenty to do here with big European style malls, the normal fast food outlets and various activities like Tennis, bowling and football being the ones I saw.

there are a number of good and expensive fresh fish and sea food restuarants and many Hotels ranging upto a 4 star experience (well perhaps 3).

The ride I did was long but great, mostly on a bike path from one end of the long town to the other. Once outside the town the OFF road is very sandy (desert) so difficult to ride in.
Most of my riding was therefore road.

See the pics and enjoy......

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Ride report 13 Feb by Max - Hod Hasharon to Einat via Matan and Horshim


HH to Einat 13 Feb
7.00 we began and all because I had to fly off to Chile in the afternoon. Jonathan, Yuval, Nurit and I decided to make short work of a 40km ride climbing to Matan, climbing further to Oranit and then climbing again to the outskirts of Rosh HaAyin.
This ride has become my weekly staple and is really great for building stamina and muscle.
It takes between 2-3 hours depending on the stops and at this time of the year when the flowering is so rich it is well worth the ride just for the thousands of red and white Calaniot and the lovely clusters of Racafot.
From January when the first real rains begin, this normally barren area is turned into a million shades of green and add that to the flowering, then this becomes a not to be missed area, especially so as the riding here, including the many singles is really a cross country dream.
Anyway it was a great ride to do early morning before I left and apart from the many 4 x 4's that used our paths to get to an improvised organised race track in the back of the Rosh HaAyin Railway station, we were not bothered by anything.
Just a quick word to Jonathan's wife......Jonathan is not a member of an S & M club. All his blue marks, cuts and bruises are really the result of trying to keep aboard a bicycle !!!! Another quick word, this time to Itzik. Bikes sometimes need repairing......and I will repair with pleasure.

And finally on a more sombre note.....We wish Amos and all his family, a long life. We were very sorry to hear that his brother, after a long illness has passed away.

See you in 2 weeks.

Comments:

Ride report 6th Feb by Max - Tel Aviv and back


HH to TA and back
Saturday morning loomed, The Sugar road ride was cancelled again and we'd arranged at the last moment to ride with friends down to Tel Aviv.
Got up at 07.00, not 06.00, not 05.00 but 07.00......Amechaya!!!!
At 08.00 met at Gershwins in -20 deg C (or at least that's how it felt), with Tatiana, Jonathan.......good luck with the cleats, Zvika on a different bike....stummmmmm and Benny who brought us coffee and cake for his birthday treat.
Off we rode into the wilds of Raanana, meeting Itzik on the way with a partially crippled bike, who took us through a "I hope its not too muddy" back path from Tzomet Raanana down to Givat Chen.
from Givat Chen we rode through all the back streets of Raanana, Herzlia and via the Taas base through every back street in Ramat Hasharon, riding through the only single that it can offer and eventually coming out on the bridge to the Ramat Hasharon Tennis courts.
Then crossing the bridge we went behind the Tennis courts and into the Mashtala and from there down to the Yarkon.
Break time was outside Max Brenner and there we were joined by Harriet and Baruch, on their Tandem "made for 2" and a bit later by Rafi on his carbon Santa Cruz lite.
After the break we rode to the Marina Herzlia for coffee, whereupon we were abandoned by Jonathan, Itzik and Benny, but joined with Dennis to finish our 45 km ride.
All in all a great morning out with no mud and in fact we actually rode 60 kms and from freezing cold we became comfortaby warm.


Comments:

Ride report by Dennis - Little Switzerland 30 Jan 2010


Little Switzerland
This is the third annual ride through what is surely one of the most beautiful areas in all of Israel.

Our start was a little discouraging as we were met with a howling gale at 7.30 in the morning when we got to the parking lot opposite Haifa University.
Off we headed north to the beginning of the promenade parallel to the university road. This was just the warm up, nice slopes and some uphills all on asphalt which were made very difficult by strong head and cross winds. Then through the first short single across to the fire track where we made a left turn uphill to a long and difficult stony ride to the top. Most of us ended up pushing and pulling bikes.

From here a very nice scenic forest single adjacent to road 672, all the way down to Tsomet Damon. Then west into Shmurat Har HaCarmel on the ridges of Har Alon and down some really adrenaline-pumping stony rocky tracks with an elevation drop of nearly 200 metres.
It was uphill on quite a hard climb and through another single to Bet Oren where lots of frisky horses, some even younger than us (in horse years), were on display. Then a great downhill ride towards Nahal Kelach, a bit rocky but fun (everyone has his/her own definition of "fun").
The ascent is tough and a lot is unrideable, so we walked, while enjoying some unbelievable scenery and eventually got to the last stage of the journey. This was a series of singles, again all good fun, and the finale was a fast ride back to the parking lot on asphalt. Then across the road to the wonderful lookout where, on a clear day, which today was not, you can see forever.
All in all 20 kms of good strenuous riding under cloudy skies. If an earlier report sounds familiar (especially the fun bits) it is because a little plagiarism goes a long way.


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Ride report by - Max - In and Around Jerusalem - 23rd Jan


Jerusalem In and around
From past experience, we know that Motza in the early morning is cold.
BUT 5 deg C......that's really overdoing it.
My hands were ice blocks, my eyes were streaming, my toes died a sudden death.......and all to go and ride uphill to Jerusalem.
And uphill we did.
But first we went past the Bet Zait Reservoir and what a picture it was. Tranquility, clarity and water. The reservoir was a mirror (see the pics), it was impossible to know where the mirror ended and where the land began. .... beautiful.
Then we carried on to the Ein Karem road. The climb to Ein Karem was long and arduous and our quick break there was very welcome. Too early for coffee but good spirits we had. Then onwards and upwards and we pushed ourselves all the way up to mount Herzl past Yad Vashem and into sleepy and quiet Jerusalem.
All of us climbed this hill amazingly well, a tribute to the standard of fitness we have all attained.

Now we rode down the Herzl Boulevard all the way to the Chords Bridge and with fanfare and pomp we first of all photo'ed ourselves and second of all we rode across it.
The other side led us past the central bus station and into Nachlaot and then down to Yemin Moshe for more photo ops and a welcome break.
The view was stupendous, overlooking the Old city of David and the Hinon valley. We were even able to see the Dead Sea in the far distance. After the break, into the old city we rode, along with 14,567 tourists of all sizes and colours. The ride through the old city was filled with plenty of colour, smells and sounds, enough to arouse all our senses and although the riding was very slow, it was an opportunity to practice our balancing act at 2 kph.
Well eventually the Lions gate loomed and then it was down to the bottom of the Kidron valley and past the Churches, All nations, Gethsemane's and the Russian Orthodox, and then up the serpentine to the top of the Mount of Olives where we continued uphill to the Midbar Yehuda look out overlooking Maale Adumim.
Then a great fast downhill canter to Sderot Bar lev and search for an unknown, yet to be found, path. Well we found it and with a couple of fro'ings and to'ings in Nahal Tzofim and then Shmurat Lifta, eventually found the way back to Motza nearly all OFF road.
To conclude.

Today we had it all, good healthy climbs, OFF road and Urban, downhills, and of course a ride around and through the most interesting city in Israel.........Jerusalem.
And now a wee word to the wee lass amongst us. Well done Nurit who took the plunge and went clipless. (I had nothing to do with this).
Tatiana....we missed you (and love you). Don't give up......next time we'll chain you to Nurit's back wheel.

Tatiana added:
Sorry, sorry, sorry!!!
אני מתנצלת לפני כל החברה עבור בריחתי!
תאמינו לי-זה היה לטובת כולנו.
"סליחה על ההמתנה, תודה על הסבלנות"...
אני אוהבת את כולם ביחד ואת כל אחד ואחת בניפרד!
Maaaaaax!
אל תכעס עלי. בבקשה!


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Ride report by - Jonathan - Einat & Nahal Shilo - 16th Jan


Einat & Shilo
We met at Kibbutz Einat in the morning - rather cold on the morning of a day that was forecast to be unseasonably hot.
Max had promised two "healthy" hills - which was enough to persuade Shimon's son to stay in bed, but otherwise turnout was good.
Riding started - we passed through the Nahshonim forest via some short singles and some fairly mild climbing with occasional short, very steep and stony ascents. Along the way we passed a Roman (Yoram pondered whether it was Romanian) ruin near El'Ad, calaniot (anemone) and rakefot (cyclamens).
As we arrived at the first of the healthy climbs, Nurit's "ozen" got bent (could you say it was a cauliflower ozen?) which was quickly and efficiently remedied by Max accompanied by at least six onlookers.
(Max added: The Ozen stayed well and healthy, ….it was the chain itself that managed to get twisted and required a replacement link)…
The others of us that had already scaled most of the climb sat back and relaxed, took in the beautiful scenery along with the dubious sight of Stas covering every inch of his upper torso with sunburn spray.
We made it to the top and started a long downhill single into Nahal Shilo. A few stones and small drops, but overall very enjoyable. Then came the second climb. Long and fairly steep but apart from the initial part that was very rocky, most made it up in reasonable time.

We stopped to break and noticed that Itzik was missing. Just as Moni and Shimon were about to set off in search, he appeared over the crest of the hill and arrived, as always, full of smiles, jokes and explanations. He gave us a full encounter of his sartorial changes, Barcelona's loss and his biological rhythms, explaining his tardiness.
After a short break, we rode a second downhill single and then on to the car park for the end of our ride. A good 30Km workout, beautiful scenery and although it eventually did heat up, perfect weather.
Very enjoyable.

Mazaltov to Dennis on the birth of his grandaughter!

Max added: For all those who made “pishen” into a profession………. We are selling a new line of disposable catheters……… order yours now !!!!!

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Ride report by - Max - 9th Jan 2010 Bet Kama, Ruhama to Bror Hayil


Ruhama to Bror hayil
41 kms from car to car.
Got up at 05.00. Darkness prevailed. Quick tea (English ...of course). Coffee for Nurit. Food, energy bars, water bottles, shoes (next time bring the right ones...AMOS), gloves, helmets.........YES HELMETS...don't forget (Tatiana)......Bikes......have we forgotten anything........GPS, cameras.....sun glasses.....the list is endless.......spare shirt to change after the ride......sun lotion....tools ......first aid....oils......Its easier to fly a Jumbo !!!!!!
Arrived Bet Kama at 07.00........Zvika and Jonathan already consuming a European breakfast.
Dennis arrives listening to Ave Maria.....or something......
Amos arrives with his communa........
3 cars ride off in the sunrise to Bror Hayil.......we wait for all to come.....
Anyone seen Benny....???
Yuval nonchalantly arrives.
My early morning briefing is about ears.....(derailleur hangers)......fast chain connectors and oils...... Remember...... support us and buy your oils and tubes from us....((thanks to Joe).
The Ride.......30 kms of meandering smooth singles in one of the more beautiful areas of Israel and then another 10 on wider paths.
Through the badlands of Ruhama past Dorot and on to Bror Hayil.
The scent of a good steak at the end of the ride.
A Company of Deer standing and then running up the hill.
Itzik asked ....did you see the fox.......?? What fox..........
Yuval on his new bike.....Enjoy !!
Dennis muddies his nearly new bike.......Mazal Tov..
Nurit..... flying up sand hills on her Nobby nic tyres..............what a difference and then she fell.......13 guys.....are u Ok.... rest.... don't get up......Talk about mother hens.........
lastly........thanks to all those guys who built and mapped the singles... a great ride.
Home

Comments:

Ride report by - Dennis - Park Canada - 2 Jan 2010


Park Canada
There is an old Spokes tradition that the first hilly ride of the year takes place along and near the K21 route in Park Ayalon (the fact that serious wetness further south forced a change of plans is irrelevant). We were welcomed by a blindingly bright sun, blue skies, and clear views in all directions - a typical summer day in other parts of the world. And, as the photos show, green was the dominant color - so refreshing.

We followed a similar route to last year. There were a couple of new singles added, and a tough little rocky climb (somebody remembers) was omitted. There were also plenty of moist, freshly dropped cow patties to make the paths more organic. A few steep climbs (this is very subjective and controversial since Spokes' policy excludes steep climbs) could not be avoided, but these were gateways to some fast long descents; it is unclear why ascending still occupies more of the time than descending. And for those hoping to see the goldfish again - disappointment - the fish were gone and their little pool empty.

Finally, even though we saw no sunflowers, we must remember van Gogh. He had problems keeping his ears intact. In Hebrew, derailleur hanger and mammalian ear both translate to 'ozen', with bikes having one and mammals two. One of our leading riders managed to break hers (the hanger), luckily in the last km of the ride, and not a rock in sight when it happened.
Light refreshment at Latrun brought a magnificent and not too strenuous morning to a close.

Comments:

Ride report by - Max - Happy New Year


New years eve
5 friends, we rode from RAmat Gan to Tel Aviv and continued along the Bat Yam Tayelet to the border with Rishon.
Our aim was to get to Rothschild by 23.55
We totally missed our target and arrived at 23.55.
10 minutes remained to have a hot chocolate, to prepare for the New Year and to try and finish everything we had not managed to do during the whole year. Moni decided that we should stop outside the PAULAN? restaurant on Bench no. 45 and I don't know how but his decision was amazing.
Exactly at 23.59.59 we were treated to a massive firework display......see the pics.

All that is left is to wish you all a Happy New Year and many more interesting and fun rides.....

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Ride report by - Max - Adolam - 26th Dec


Adolam Dec
Thanks go to KKL and various mountain bike riders who were involved in the project of building a great set of singles in park Adolam. It is now possible to ride on singles from The "HaEla" petrol station all the way pass "Etri" and "Bourgin" and down to road 35 near Bet Guvrin.
We added another part to this great ride and went further East towards Aderet along some great wide paths and in some beautiful scenic up hills and ....downhills.
Altogether 35 kms of concentrated, tiring and adrenaline pumping riding which we ended with a fast 10 km asphalt ride along Road 38 and back to the cars.
The morning started freezing cold and all of us dressed with 3 layers to keep warm. We began with a good warm up climb to the "Zuk farm" to get to the beginning of our first single followed by a break to remove layers 3 and 2, and here we all enjoyed the green green grass of Israel. Its amazing what a few days of good rain does to the Israeli landscape.
We stopped a couple of times for a breather and for photos and at some point we left the single and rode uphill and down dale in the direction of Aderet.
Here we placed our order for 10 houses and all enjoyed the wonderful clean air feeling that this area gives you.
We went passed a drilling rig, and Zvika (I think established the point, that they seemed to be injecting diesel fuel into the ground in order to find Neft.) Maybe it was just a water drilling site. Then back to the singles and on to Hirbat Bourgin for an energy break.
During the break Shimon read some of the explanatory stuff i had prepared and in so doing, managed to put Gidi to sleep, Zvika to close his eyes and generally to put us all in an interesting state of relaxation...........
The break over we rejoined the single and bombed all the way down to the Bet Guvrin junction. Now what......
Ok so asphalt it was and 10K later we were back at the cars, tired, but satisfied.
See you next ride............

Comments:

Ride report by - Max - sea2 - 19 Dec


sea2
No ride, yes ride, phone max, phone Zvika, Zvika phone max....by mistake. Rain yes, rain no... phone max.....OK decision.
We ride but not Switzerland the small........so where ??? OK lets play it safe... The sea route with a dip in, by Tatiana (of course) and this time by Jonatan as well.
OK guys.......dont get too fit. I am not doing too much riding, But this week I found a neighbour with an old/new mtb bike that he was not riding, an old Cannondale with all different body parts and I found a 15 km hill (belongs to Tocopilla) that knackered me and have now done this hill 3 times with........the wrong shoes, a pair of cut down trousers which I am using as shorts.......altogether great.
So keep riding and Dennis, Mazal tov on your super new Trek....looks really cool from the pics.
See you soon
Max

Comments:




Ride report by - A Chilean Engineer - 12 Dec


Moshavim & sea
This is a translation of the Hebrew.
They started off ....DRY.
They got to Kfar Saba.....DRY
They passed some statues......DRY
They got to the sea...DRY.....well that is until Tatiana showed us what a real girl does........
Then to Arcafe...DRY
Back to base and still ......DRY.
45 kms of DRY riding.
No more mud.......No more wetness.
The next ride will be in Switzerland....see you then.

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Ride report by - Max - Ben Shemen 60th - 5 Dec


Ben Shemen 60th
Nurit spent the last week whispering, holding private conversations, covert meetings and altogether being totally undercover. From time to time she actually found time to talk to me as well.
Am I going to Chile, when am I going, is is postponed again?? These were all questions that drove her nuts. Funnily enough she never asked when am I returning...or indeed if I am returning?????
But all her plans came to fruition in 2 gatherings, one of our familly and non bike friends and today the biking crazies.
Ben Shemen was the chosen spot, one of our favorites, and I was told to lead a not too difficult ride for reasons I would understand. I never did understand that one, coz all who joined us were good strong riders.
22 riders took their bikes off their cars and got prepared for the trails and singles of Ben Shemen where the meanderings never dissapoint.
Baruch and Harriot joined the SPOKES for the first time on their tandem and Yasmin lowered the age average a good few notches.
The ride was on white paths, singles and of course we managed to do a couple of good uphills. Just a wee word to David .......BUY A NEW BIKE ........and maybe I should add that, I , completely by chance, will be importing the Steppenwolf range of mountain bikes...........say no more.
Today was divided into two parts. Before and after.
Before the feast and after the ride.
So now the feast....and feast it was. Nurit excelled herself again !! , with her thoughtfullness, her kindness and her love, she brought us all a spread fit for Kings and made us all feel like Kings (and Queens).
AND now to you, the riders of Spokes. To all of you , a very special thank you. The present was (is) amazing. I was totally amazed when Nurit told me what I was getting. Again I thank you.
AND to Zvika who decided (with others) to make this 60th a very special thing and for the moving words you wrote at 05.00 o'clock in the morning.
To Tatiana who helped Nurit and also prepared a great cake.
And to all of you who came along and gave me such a great birthday gift.
Thank you

And to Itzik who was not well........Get well soon from all the Spokes..........

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Ride report by - Max - Kerem Mahral - 28th November


Kerem Mahral
We started from the same point, outside the Meir Shfaya Village but then an early morning climb seemed to be calling, so up we climbed onto the heights over looking the plains of Kvish 70. Great views and a glorious morning.
We came to a fork, decision time, either left or straight on. The consensus suggested straight on so when the path finished another 30 meters along, it was obvious that left had been the better option.
So a quick "parsa" and down the slopes we rode until we reached our familiar safe white path again. From here up to the quarries but now decisions were in the hands of others, KKL had been busy (or someone had) and had changed the topography, so be flexible and climb, and we did.
We found ourselves above the quarry but way off course. Still not to worry. We let the directional senses have their way and so did we as we rode through forests in the general direction as planned. Again we managed to return to our route riding sweet uphills and even sweeter downhills and eventually reached the Offer lookout for a welcome break.

Nourished and raring to go, we rode the singles (as many as could find) in the wrong direction but Oh what fun.......
Then a climb to crest the hill above Bat Shlomo and down along an Oh so good descent into Bat Shlomo itself. That was cool.
Through Bat Shlomo, over Highway 6 and into the old part, then along the lowest ridges of Har Horshan and back to the last climb of the day......up to the Meir Shfaya village.
A great ride, great scenery, great weather and some tough climbs. What more could a guy want? (or a doll want??)

My Steppenwolf Tundra 100 is proving to be a great ride, taking me up hills at speeds I never thought possible and down hills full of gravel and stones with stability and ease.
We will soon be receiving the first batch of the 2010 models so be prepared.

Comments:

Birthday greetings from Jonathan


We set out bright and early as the sun began to rise
We yawned and stretched and packed our bikes then washed our weary eyes
Then to deserted highways we turned our fateful gaze
And wondered if our ride today would be like other days
For our small and dedicated bunch of friends the feeling was all shared
Is it really worth the sweat and toil to leave a nice warm bed?
But push aside those thoughts I say as we turn to Esthaol
For we are Max's special band of riders young and old

We unpack our gear and gather thoughts as all the troops arrive
We pray that all can make it through these next six hours alive
Our gear is ready, all is working, the pedals wait their cleats
And we begin to ponder 'bout our upcoming wondrous feats
The ride begins, the pace is slow but we know what waits in store
For up ahead we see the hill, climbing climbing evermore
Again I think about the bed I left not long behind
Just to join Max up here on trails that rise and wind

The gradient increases as the climb begins to soar
We puff and pant and look ahead – but only can see more
A distant curve – is that the end of this tortuous ascent?
Or does it simply mean there's more of uphill effort and lament?
With bursting lungs and legs afire we continue our ordeal
And soon begin to fantasize of our Energy-bar meal
It can't go on we tell ourselves, the worst must be behind us
For we're the most optimistic group of Max's courageous climbers

I raise my eyes and look again – perhaps I'm nearing the plateau
As Nurit smoothly sails by, saying “Not much more to go”
For up ahead atop the hill, our leader's now in sight
With his faithful, weightless Steppenwolf leaning on his side
Just one more push I tell myself in my fitful, dreamy state
And then I'll watch the others climb and I can smile and wait
And gradually they scale the peak, arriving bit by bit
Each proud to be considered one of Max's bike elite

We made it home and all was well – despite the bruise and scratches
We turned our thoughts to eating lunch and watching soccer matches
But for Max and Nurit getting home is just another start
More rides to plan, more hills to scale, more lungs to tear apart.
Perhaps it's all the crumpets, kippers, scones and cream and tea
But Max seems ever-full of youthful energy
So let us take a moment now while he's lapping up our praise
And wish him Happy Birthday on his most sixtieth of days

And one last word I'd like to add from all us riders-daring
To thank you for your effort, thought and paternal caring
Thank you for the countless days of trails and of tracks
Wishing lots and lots of more – Happy Birthday Max



Comments:

Ride report by - Max - Horshim & Einat - 21 Nov


Horshim & Einat
We decided on a local ride coz i was supposed to be going to Chile on the afternoon flight, but in the end the job was postponed so i had all the time in the world.
Moni was sick so called off at the last minute, Yuval had family obligations, Amos.......well whtever happened to Amos..he just never showed up.
So off we went along the Cane, filled with water, water that i am told is reasonable clean, and over the fields past Neve Yamin, in the direction of Yarchiv.
We tried a different path in order not to catch the mud under the bridge there and found a good route taking us to the bridge over Kvish 6. From there plain sailing through Yarchiv, up to Matan and there doing stupid things I came flying off my bike. Luckily both rider and steed were OK and we continued.
In Horshim we did a cool single and were treated to Narcisim and the beginning of Racafot. Then up to Oranit and down the keffy trail to the outskirts of Kfar Kasem. (Cleaner but still not clean).
Then over Kvish 5 and along the Southern boundaries of Rosh HaAyin, round the Eastern side of Migdal Tzedek and through trails, paths and non paths, until we met road 444. We found a trail/path alongside it until we rode in a water channel (empty), and along to Einat for coffee.

Martin (of the dislocated elbow fame) and Michelle (of the " I look after Martin" fame) were there to greet us and a very pleasant morning coffee was had by all.
The way back was along the railway lines to Elishema and the fond farewells over with we rode home.
See you on Wednesday... we ride toYafo.

Comments:

Ride report by - Jonathan - Lehavim - 14th Nov


Lahavim
We met bright and early (and uncharacteristically punctually) at Lehavim. That was one of the few things today that worked out as planned.
After initial preparations, we set out towards the Lehavim forest on a beautiful, bright Negev morning. In the car park, while reviewing Martin's plight after his recent fall, Mony took pains to give all of us invaluable lessons in how to fall safely (little did he realize how prophetic his works were to be). As we got going, Yuval displayed nimbleness and speed belying his age and turned back to the car for a quick mechanical fix without being noticed by any of the group. After a short chase, phone calls and search expeditions, we set off once again.

Most found the riding harder than expected - the ground was soft and wet in places, stones were everywhere. Climbs were mostly short, but rather steep and very slippery (i.e. hard). Max managed to fall and sustained some grazes on his knee as we approached the first historical site: the only columbarium in Israel (pigeon breeding place) not in a cave.
More riding - first flat through a quagmire/field and then a treacherous uphill path that most (wisely) avoided - and plenty more stones. We eventually found our way to a site of an ancient synagogue (Rimon, I think) where we noted several rosetta symbols on the floor. A heated rabbinical debate followed about whether or not one was actually a Menorah or not (well, maybe in Golder's Green they are round).
Plenty of complaining atop the hill (Tzika's legs weren't working, Benny hadn't slept, Itzik only wanted more climbs) and then after a short break, off we set again.

The scenery and the weather were quite magnificent. Some debates about which way the path should take us - we eventually found ourselves crossing fields and climbing more hills (Tzika's complaining became more frequent and louder). Max then warned us all that a steep and dangerous descent was approaching. Having fallen the previous week, I was keen to put in to practice the words of wisdom imparted to me by Max. I can confirm that he is right - I fell again by making the same mistakes (sore shoulder but nothing broken). I did, though, manage to practice Mony's technique - I can't say I really recommend it highly.
More minor mishaps - Amos broke his chain, causing some delicate but lengthy field-surgery on his bike. Tzvika's complaints continued but he battled on courageously. Amos was now effectively in single-speed mode.

Eventually, several hours later than expected (despite skipping some of the planned route) we hobbled, battered and bruised, back to the car park.
We had a short coffee break on the way back and Tzvika finally perked up with an unrepeatable comment about what can or cannot be done with a bionic arm and then we headed back home. Overall, we survived - though despite the great route, many of us were the worse for wear. Not all news was bad, though - Max is off to Chile again soon, so we will have a few weeks to lick our wounds. If you are interested in donating to a fund aimed at prolonging his stay, you can mail me checks made out to my wife, Joanne.

Comments:

Ride report by - Max - Night ride to Einat 11 Nov


Cycling
What a ride.............................
Me.......and Zvika............and Martin.
So far nothing special........................
Riding along the railway tracks from Elishema.......trying to avoid all the puddles...some big, wet and muddy.
So far so good...........
Antipatrous looming up ahead of us..........Martin says "we don't seem to be getting any closer".......
so far no incidents............
Now we get to that tricky very short, but steep downhill just before we ride through the bridge under the railway lines.
I walk/slide down.......
All OK until now....................
Zvika walks down............................
No problem.............................................
Martin, now good ole Martin, well he decided to ride it down..................
Ouch.........
The next thing we know is Martin over the top of the bike, slow motion........pushes his hands out to stop the fall.............Ouch.........
Fuck!!! he says.........I think I've broken my arm...........
I take a look............ Fuck I say..........YES you have......
OK don't panic.......We made sure that Martin was otherwise OK and I called my sons, both medics and both not available..... Then I phoned one of my closest friends Amos and he came to take Martin to Meir Hospital.
To cut the rest of this sad tale short.......Martin has a dislocated elbow...now back in place and a fracture somewhere..........(his brain ?????).
Seriously we all wish you a speedy recovery and get back on your bike soon.
By the way the only thing that happened to Martin's bike was that his seat rails got a bit bent........(I think that has to do with Martin's weight and nothing to do with the accident !!!!!!!).
Who needs friends when I'm around???????
Get well soon Martin...........


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Ride report by - Max - Yar Kedoshim Nov 2009


Yar Kedoshim Nov 2009
Last year at this time I was a year younger, with a birthday party in the forests coming down from Carmila.
This year no luck....but still we did the same route but with an additional trail to add to the fun. The way up, a long 12 km stretch from Eshtaol up to the top above Ein Rafa was a good warm up to the winter season. The weather was perfect (who said 31 degrees????), and we had a good breeze to help us climb. We were 6 good riders and the breaks were well stretched and the timing was very good.
Ein Rafa was a sweet technical downhill requiring good control and a good eye to find the best way down.
Ein limon offered us a break for energy sources and a time to learn from Jonathan what a weasel, badger, otter, mongoose were in Hebrew.

From Ein limon we crested down and then up towards Har Carmila and Stas said he'd never been up there. I had anyway planned a little diversion and this took us along a new trail, including a very technical uphill with big boulders and a short distance which required us to walk our bikes.
We tried to persuade Itzik that we were in Har Carmillia but he went and found a sign showing Har Carmila........... The same trail gave us a technical downhill, again requiring good balancing skills and confidence in the bike's abilities to overcome most obstacles. (Jonathan proved us wrong!!).
From here on it was all downhill and too quickly we got back to the cars and finished a great quality ride with good riders and as usual great fun was had by all.
We rode about 30 kms, climbing about 650 meters, with a total ride time of about 2.5 hours
Not bad.............
Your comments are all welcome and are good fun for all to read.
Hebrew or English ........all are good.

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Ride report by - Max - Moshavim & Moshavot - 31 Oct


No camera no pics..........
6.00am alarm ringing, should I get up, no it's raining and thunder in the distant wake up zone. Surely no one will want to ride. back to sleep.
Phone rings......Itzik MaYenim.........no I don't think we ride........
Yoram...SMS riding......No I say.
07.15 Jonathan..... NOOO where are you ???
I sleepily say ...wait 15 minutes and I will be there........
07.30 I meet jonathan, Amos and Zvika and off we go.
Yoram meets us at packer Plada Kfar Saba.
Itzik meets us at Sde Warburg,
Moni meets us also in Sde Warburg.
Great................welcome back........
A dry ride through to R Cafe.
We sit swap stories and then the rain....BOOM. then the Hail...double boom. Thunder Booooom Booom.
We wait a bit and then decide to ride.
10 minutes later rain stops and we carry on home.
Satisfied and well ridden.

Comments:

Ride report by - Max - Saadim 2009 - 26 September


Saadim 2009
Bloody freezing. 06.30 Saturday morning and coooold. Icycles (!!) hanging down from bicycles.
Took the next 2 hours to get warmed up, passing on the way via the Bet Zait reservoir, devoid of water but full of trails to ride and have fun.
Then down to Ein Hendek where we met 4 intrepid hikers doing the Israel paths route (Kol Hakavod). Tried to persuade myself and the others to go in the water but didn't succeed. Nurit showed us all how to get our feet wet.
From here the hills began. Up to Even Sapir and down to see Jonathan's (of the Midbar of course) monastery. Then back up and through Even Sapir and a short break to bring down the heart beat to 150 !!!!
From Even Sapir a short (but sweet ) climb up towards Hadassah.......get the machines ready...... and then into the paths of Aminadav and continue climbimg towards Saadim.
Well we got to Saadim and expected Sharona to be there with a great breafast spread.......but to no avail....just sweet dreams. BUT she did send us a cake which we all devoured and thanks to Sharona. By the way just make sure you kick Shimon out of bed on time....today he actually was not the last one to arrive.

After the break we rode up dale and down dale parallel to the railway lines and Emek Rafaim and eventually arrived at Ein Levan.
Only a couple of others there (I hope we didn't disturb them too much), and OH so gooood refreshing cold water.
I managed to persuade Shimon G to come into the pool but I think he may not be talking to me any more. Well done Amos who took the plunge and to Jonathan who showed us what Aussies are all about.
No bar b que here so we got dried and returned to our route....up to Moshav Ora with a single just before the road and I took a tumble trying to ride a 45 degree slope with a step at the end. Even Steppenwolf didn't make this one.

By the way just a wee word about my amazing weightless Steppenwolf bike. it is a dream. It climbs hills on it's own and I found myself running after it. Sweet !!

From Ora we slithered, slid, walked, climbed, and partly rode down a very aggressive technical trail down to Moscova and then onward to Ein Kerem for ice cream. The place is always full so no sit down today.
A 20 minute break and then along some easy trails next to the reservoir and back to the cars. 34 kms of an invigorating ride and well done all those who made it !!!!.

Hatima Tova and well over the fast and see you soon.

Comments:

Ride report by - Max - Erev Rosh Hashana - 18 September


Erev Rosh Hashana
To all you great spokers, 19 in total, that turned out for this ride. We promised you a LeHaim, you got it ...all laid out on a park bench near the Dolphinarium....courtesy of my daughter Maya and her boyfriend Kfir.
Didn't they do well!!!!

Then we arranged a fireworks display...well not really......but it just so happened and about the right time as well.
Then down to Yaffo and around the Shuk HaPishPishim and back up to Rothchild and to Kikar Rabin where a one dunam carpet of all different coloured flowers...this time courtesy of Belgium, (Maya had nothing to do with this one) awaited us.
This was very special and on behalf of spokes I wish to thank the Government of Belgium.

After the flowers we managed to squeeze into Aroma for a light refreshment and then a fast ride back to the cars.
The evening was great, the age span from 13 to 68 and a very warm welcome to all the newcomers, the not so new comers and the old...comers.

Hag Sameach to all and to all your famillies and keep on riding in good health. See you on Sunday.



Comments:

Ride report by - Dennis - Elishema +51 kms.


Elishema toTA
Really, there is nothing to report.
There were no hills, no bunnyhopping, no riding by moonlight, no mechanical catastrophes, and nobody went astray.
Ten set out from Elishema along Nahal Cana (where's the water?), then along the winding, sometimes sandy path by the Yarqon where there is water (even if some of it is bright green!), down to the sea, up to Herzliya, inland to Raanana for some refreshment, and then back to the beginning.

That's the whole story; perhaps next time it will be longer. Good healthy exercise and 51 km.

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Ride report by - Max - Sea to Sea - 27 Aug 2009


Sea to Sea 2009
I went out last night with a couple of the guys. Got a bus and ended up in Haifa. In Kiriat Yam. The med sea looked very inviting, salty but still.........
Oh yeh, took our bikes with us, 15 of us, 2 women 13 guys.
Did a bit of town riding till Afek, then off road. GPS showed us the way. Mechanical and human.

Took a coupla falls, some of us,.... none too serious. Amos scraped a leg.....his. Shimon scraped another leg....his. Moni caught in a rut.....scraped hands.....his. Benny....... sand got in the way.......
Zero mechanical faults, one cemetary....no punctures.
Timing...impeccable.

Itzik turn left............the others....right!!
Dina..........she came, she rode, she conquered..........
Ted.......I'll be behind Dina.........and was always in front of her.

Met the bus in Iblin......food, sandwiches...refreshments galore.............
Met the bus in Eliabun...well done Chen...our driver....
Benny.......the only rider in israel with 4 center chain rings......................
Itay ........my tyres never swell up.........
Ah yes....the kinneret............Oh so cool and refreshing.........had to walk 2 miles to find the "cool and refeshing"......but once in .........amechaya!!!!!!!!

And breakfast..........fit for Kings... and princes.........and SPOKERS.
60 or so Kms...who's counting......uphils...not toooooo many.........,
downhills........wonderful, just wonderful........Amechaya!!!!!
23.30 - 07.30 - timing impeccable.

A truly wonderfull night with a bunch of really cool riders.
When a plan works out like this,..........it's worth all the effort.
thanks for a great night guys........and Dina and GPS (Nurit).


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Ride report by - Dennis - Gezer & Carme Yosef - 22 August


Summer is still here, so we wisely hit the trail early. Apart from some chain suck, the odd puncture (only one this time), an interesting case of a tire deciding to develop a bulge, and various detours due to a bunch of fast moving road bikers doing laps (rather dangerous as one young lady discovered after a blowout required her removal by ambulance, hopefully with only surface damage), the morning was replete with familiar pleasurable masochism.
Climbing (300m), descending, scrambling, jumping, winding along singles, dropping in on sun drenched archaeological sites, great views of the coastal plane from on high (but only at the end of the ascent), all contributed to 23 km of fun.

Where did we go today? Starting from Mishmar Ayalon, we followed an easy route around the fields in the direction of Nachshon, then it was up, up, to Mitspeh Bekoa.
This seems to be a popular area for downhillers, on their massive steeds with full-body armor. Then, after a little jumping practice, it was time for the singles, some smoothly flowing, others rocky, some up, others down, and as the temperature rose the shady paths were welcome.
Up to Karmei Yosef, where every house seems to have several dogs, and they were all out barking in our honor. Then down, and up again to Tel Gezer, which must have been an exciting place way back in the mists of history; the mighty megaliths provided background for some group photos.
Down again, past the well at Ein Vered, and back to be refreshed with a surprise of chilled watermelon. By this time it was undeniably hot, so we brunched in airconditioned comfort at Latrun.

Thanks once again to N&M for planning another fun outing.

Comments:

Ride report by - Frances - Round Gush Dan - 15 August


Gush Dan
And then there were eight...
12 of us gathered at the Ramat Gan stadium to pedal in a circle – a wide one – that took us along the Yarkon, past Reading, along the Tayelet to Jaffa, along the Ayalon River to Park Hasharon, past the airport and Moshav Atarot, through Einat and back to Ramat Gan.
Simple, you think. Well, if all went according to plan, life would be dull indeed. It all started off well, with clouds in the sky keeping the sun away, us cyclists dodging the early walkers on the Taylet and a few uphills thrown in to keep our muscles in trim (and to spur a few complaints from the resident Complaints Department ). And then … the first of four punctures. With the puncture fixed and a pit stop, we set off again with vigour. Uh-oh! Another mishap! A backpack left at the puncture site. So, back to the Tayelet we went – admiring Tel Aviv architecture along the way. We were just in time – a trusty fisherman had already alerted the police and we managed to prevent the area being cordoned off.

Decision time: to continue or go back to Ramat Gan. The majority decided to continue and 2 left for home. So back we went, enjoying the sights of Newe Tzeddek and eventually going off-road along the Ayalon River. The sun kept behind the clouds and we pedaled along a flat route, enjoying a relatively easy ride. A few more punctures halted us, and showed us the pleasant side of strangers. Near to Einat, we fixed the puncture next to one of the houses and we were brought ice-cold water and made to feel most welcome. After that, refueling at Einat, where we lost 2 more to a short route home, and then the slog back to Ramat Gan. Only mad dogs and Englishman apparently go out in the midday sun. With only one Englishman, I suppose the rest of us were mad dogs...

A great ride with an unexpected length of 71 km!!!!! Bravo to us all!!

Comments:

Ride report by - Max - Jerusalem by night - 13 Aug


Jerusalem by night
Where did we go ?? Ah ....Yes...Now let me see.... Jerusalem ...of....Gold.
A wonderful city.
Well we met between 19.45 and 20.30 after long traffic delays, at Binyane HaUma and started the ride by riding through the myriad alleyways of Nachlaot.
Nachlaot is referred to by some as Jerusalem's Soho area, having a diverse population ranging from the followers of the late Shlomo Carlebach, members of the National Religious community and many new non Shabbas observant residents.

The area is filled with different types of synogogues with some using the tunes that Shlomo Carlebach loved to sing and once this area was home to the Great Tzadiik of Jerusalem, Rabbi Aryeh Levine. However seeing passers-by carrying a Talmud is as commonplace as those carrying a laptop while tuning into an iPod or indeed seeing a crowd of 12 Spokers riding their bikes and soaking up the special aroma of the Nachlaot.

From the Nachlaot we moved over to the more conservative Haredi area on both sides of Hanaviim Street and passed the Davidka square (the first morter ..used in the 1948 war), passed the Bikur Holim Hospital, passed the Sergei building and the Elizavetinskaya compound and then around the Russian compound with its very impressive and imposing Russian Church. Then passed the Law Courts and the Russian Hospital and into Safra square.

And now....... the Old City. We entered via the New Gate and through the alleyways and passed the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem compound and into the Jaffa gate area. A search for the loo ensued but to no avail.
Then through the Christian quarter and basically followed the Via Dolorosa passed the Antonia Fortress, passed the House of Joachim and Anne, parents of Mary and her birthplace into the Muslim quarter and out via the Lion's gate.

From here we crossed over to the Mount of Olives (Har Zeitim) and begin the Serpentine surprise which brought us up to a breathtaking view over the whole of Jerusalem. truly spectacular.
With Mount Scopus beckoning, we caried on passed Kfar Al Sowaneh, then passed the Agusta Victoria Hospital and to the lookout point over Judah and Samaria and now the Mount Scopus tunnel to Maale Adumim. And now a break for energy, gossip, stories and wonderful black coffee brought all this way by Danny. Well done and thank you Danny.
And now for the downhill. At last a free wheeling descent to the beginning of the Sheik Jarra neighbourhood and through down to the American colony with the American Colony hotel, the YMCA and the American Consulate (East Jerusalem of course). Then a slight detour to visit the St George's Cathederal (in my opinion a very beautiful English church).
And now for coffee, in Yafo street and a chance to chat and relax till after midnight.
Back to the cars and a chance to say thanks to Ray who led us part of the way, to Eitan who again showed us his wealth of knowledge, to Danny (and Shimon) for the good black coffee and to all of us for being such a great crowd of fun loving spokers.

Pictures are not so great this time but dark is dark...................

Comments:

Ride report by - David - Narbata - 8 Aug


Narbata
The following is a link to some data on our Ride: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/10721415 and tells us:
1. That we climbed from a low of 31 metres to a high of 391 metres and that the accumulated gain (that is, total metres climbed) was 701.
2. Where we went (to see our route on Google Earth, go to the above link and below the "Summary" section click on "Export>Google Earth>Open").
However the data does not tell us:
3. That 16 enthusiastic Spokesmen and Spokeswomen arrived at the Tzomet Narbata parking lot at more or less 06:15 hours.
4. That "Honest Max" was not exaggerating when he wrote: "the ride has some healthy uphills, technically not too demanding and we will carry our bikes through the Lion's Canyon" although it is important to bear in mind that his definition of the term "medium" is somewhat subjective and may not necessarily bear any resemblance whatsoever to other definitions of that term (including IMBA and other internationally recognised biking bodies) and should be applied with equal circumspection to other such well-known phrases like "no more uphills", "from now on its all downhill", and his difficulty in being able to differentiate between "stones" and "boulders" in the context of the phrase "a bit stony". As long as you understand Max's terminology you are assured of a great ride, with no illusions!
5. What a treat it was for us to ride through such unspoiled and rugged countryside, with the landscape gradually unfolding below us as we climbed higher and higher, until we reached the top, when the world seemed spread out at our feet.
6. That the Barta'a storekeeper had some interesting things to say about his divided town and Israeli/Palestinian co-existence within it.
But what modern satellite technology didn't need to tell me was:
7. No human breakdowns on the ride says much for the level of fitness and biking skill of all regular Spokers to handle the often difficult (sorry, "medium"!) riding conditions. Equally no mechanical failures says it all about bike-preparedness.
8. That is was a great route, in great company, and as usual great leadership from the Max/Nurit team, not only navigation-wise, but also their humour, enthusiasm and caring.

Thanks Max and Nurit from Ingride and myself for another challenging ride with Spokes.

Comments:

Ride report by - Max - Haifa - 1 August


Haifa
Urban rides are always different.
11 riders and 2 rideresses. 3 cameras 1 navigator, 2 GPS's, 2 eggs, 1 puncture, 1 snapped off valve, 5 graveyards, views to remember, one hell of a long climb ..... we all managed it on the bikes, 3 bodies in same shirt, max gradient 11%, 10 bronze statues and 1 fall.
Statistically that sums up the ride.

The way up to the Horev Center looks long and looks hard and indeed it is...long and hard.. but the spokes riders braved the morning blues and we climbed, some faster, some slower but all went up and all in one go.
From there on the ride was mostly flat and had some great downhills on the North side of the Carmel.
We visited the Panaramic balconies behind the Hotels and the Louis Promenade and enjoyed some great if hazy views of the Haifa Bay. Further on we were treated to the Bahai gardens and for an early morning breakfast break we stopped in an enchanting garden called the Ursula Malbin sculpture garden and also known as MIzpor Shalom, filled with the most delicate of bronze statuettes. A must to see and the pictures show a part.
Then down towards "Downtown", through the beginning of Wadi Nisnas and down again through the German Colony. A Templar residential area of old, now completely refurbished and filled with great resturants and coffee shops.
We carried on past the Templar cemetary and the adjacent British one both looked after very well , went past the Church of St. John and carried on to Bat Galim promenade where we made our way along the sea with a delightful breeze cooling us down.
We rode until we arrived at the Maxim resturant where Dennis felt a bit flat. Having pumped him up a bit we carried on over Highway 2 and then South along the Haifa Cemetary where again Dennis complained of an empty feeling. 2 inners later we set off again to a small bike park where we rode around (not too interesting) and then back to the cars.
Next time we'll find a longer climb!!!!!!


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Ride report by - Yar Kola 25 july


Yar Kola
Well, we started off at a little before 6:30 AM from Elishema. Itai was the leader (or so he thought). Luckily, Nurit waqs there to set him straight every time he took a wrong turn (only about 5-6 times). This was a real chance to see all the wonderful capabilities of our own Nurit, who is usually drowned out by Max. All of a sudden, Nurit was the outspoken leader and we all got great enjoyment out of seeing this other side of the usually quiet cyclist.
We set off at a nice pace, nine of us in total, and tried to ride fast enough to beat the heat, for which we were partially successful. We rode past the Rosh Ha’Ayin train station, past Kibbutz Einat and carefully skirted the entrance to El-Ad. From there, we rode up the rocky trail of Ya’ar Kulah and then back down again. Frances took a little spill in order to avoid hitting a rock and taking a BIG spill, so we will say, “good show” for knowing when to bail!
We visited a mausoleum and 2 other “old” structures. Don’t remember the names or in what order – that’s what happens when you write the report 5 days later!

There were 2 more serious climbs all totaled and the rest of the way was not too bad, but I managed to do my share of complaining – in fact, I managed to complain enough for everyone.
Zvika kept reaching behind his back for the 2 water bottles that were no longer there, but in the end, managed to remember to drink out of the hose attachment.
Itzik, as usual appeared and disappeared and I am sure he rode about 30% more than the rest of us.
We stopped at Einat for cool drinks and the ice coffee really hit the spot. We then continued on to the source of the Yarkon where some of us got our feet (and more) wet. We then rode along, and through, the Yarkon back to Elishema.
A nice 42 km ride at a good pace.


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Ride report by - Max - Zvika's 60th Nahal Zippori - 18th July


On the 13th July Tzvika joined the elite 60's brigade.
Happy Birthday Zvika from all your riding friends........
Today we decided would be his day and so we surprised him after a great 35 km ride around Zippori with a Hufla (feast) in a great picnik area by the Kibbutz Yagur swimming pool.
Razia (his wife) and his sister together with Zeevik arranged a sumptuous table and after speeches and present giving we sat down to a great after ride meal.
The ride was great with 17 SPOKERS going through Kfar Hasidim, through the back of Shaar Emekim then up to Tivon and Bosmat Tivon. Then through Alone Abba for a fast downhill and along to Bet Lechem HaGlilit for a break by the Bet HaAm.
Here we had a chance to chat with our newest members so welcome to Francis, Jules and Amos and we hope to see you on more of our rides.

Having partaken of a light snack we set off again towards Nahal Zippori and followed its winding route, sometimes crossing from side to side and sometimes just following the banks of one of the more picturesque streams in Israel.
How to cross water ??
Well, see the pictures.........backstroke was one of the chosen options......perhaps not the best.
Then the swimming pool and I couldn't resist so off with the shoes and shirt and in we go.
Brilliant....the water (maybe not the cleanest) but cool and refreshing.
From here it was a nice comfortable ride to the end of the Nahal and then back along to the cars.
The ride was great, the riders brilliant and the weather while sometimes hot, was quite bearable.
So Happy Birthday Zvika, may you ride with us for many years to come (and us with you).

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Ride report by - Max - 110 kms to Jerusalem - 9 July


110 KMS elishema to Jerusalem at night
All along the ride I had a feeling of being under a Giraffe. When we reached the Gan HaHayot Tanachim, the first thing we saw was the long neck of a Giraffe.
The giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) is an African even-toed ungulate mammal, the tallest of all land-living animal species, and the largest ruminant. It is covered in large, irregular patches of yellow to black fur separated by white, off-white, or dark yellowish brown background. The average mass for an adult male giraffe is 1,191 kilograms while the average mass for an adult female is 828 kilograms.
It is approximately 4.3 metres to 5.2 metres tall, although the tallest male recorded stood almost 6 metres . This is definitely significant.

Ah the ride.
Navigating a night ride is always more challenging than a day ride. The concentration level is much higher, ensuring that no one gets lost and making sure that everyone manages the more difficult parts. While these rides require greater stamina than others, they are all possible and it all depends on the pace and on the breaks. Getting there at the end is a wonderful feeling of personal achievement and of group friendship and this is what our rides are all about.

Now about the riders.
Yoram….Never complains, always a ready smile, and always runs home to mummy.
Stas….head up, powerful legs and our resident Doctor.
Nurit….my personal GPS, long uphills her speciality, always caring, always telling me where to go.
Itai….muscles pumping away, always prepared to tell the same story, again and again and again and again, a great support. Loves candles.
Zvika….stubborness and tremendous will power, always 100%, always gets there………in the end. Always teaching me correct Hebrew.
Itzik….The fittest of them all, always in front and that is why the Giraffe came along for the ride.

Comments:

Max….With the Giraffe I could see over Itzik to navigate the way.

Ride report by - Max - Nahal Gahar and Nahal HaShofet - 4th July


Nahal Gahar & Nahal HaShofet
Nahal Gahar and then Nahal HaShofet, two of the most beautiful Nahals in Israel.
The forest is just like any other tropical forest in the World but just happens to be in Israel.
The ride had all the usuals, uphills, downhills, technical riding trails and the best weather we could ever have asked for.

2 things stand out for me on this trip.
The first was Eli with his very quiet brilliant humour….welcome to our group and we all hope you will become a regular. He is the one with the blue crocks by the way.
The second thing is my GPS. I have a Mobile Microsoft program on my GPS poz called Naviguide. I have a Garmin 305 Edge. I have maps….and I have a compass.....BUT…..my secret weapon, my very own personal GPS rides with us every ride. Her navigational skills are remarkable and I want to thank her… Nurit…. for being my best companion.
And now a comment, spoken well by Amit, to the biker we met on the trail, whose chain slipped between the spokes and the big sprocket.
"We are the SPOKES"

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Ride report by - Merrill - Migdal Tzedek - 27th June


Elishema to Migdal Tzedek
We began the ride today at 6:15AM, from Elishema in high spirits. Ten willing explorers, ready to conquer any hill or dale put to us by our brave leader, Max the Mountain Man!
Nurit and I were the only members of the superior sex to be on the ride, so you can imagine that it was difficult, yes near to impossible, to keep the rowdiness in reign.
We were challenged by the first ascent (no aluyot, according to Max) at Matan and then continued to climb in the Horshim Forest. The steep rocky path was not easy, but a majority of us puffed our way to the top without stopping. We continued on to Oranit and Max then pulled a skillful maneuver in a small round-about to make sure we would follow him anywhere. Since most of us know him tooooooooooooooooooo well - it was not a complete success, but Max was stubborn and did not give up until he had all of us in line behind him.
We continued onward and made another ascent near Rosh Ha-ayin and followed some sheep, as they seemed to know the way just as well as our leader. There were a few "chain" reactions along the way and I am sure Nurit will have her bike looked at by some knowledgeable person, if she can find one. We made the climb to Migdal Tzedek from the back (Hell of a lot easier than the front). The view from there is spectacular and it gave us a few minutes to horse around a bit and have a few well earned laughs. Itai had his eyes on the clock to make sure we were not too late for our 9:00 AM reservation at Einat ?????.

There was a lovely breeze outside and we all partook (if that is a word) of some cool refreshment, joined by Dudi's lovely wife, who stays with him for some reason beyond comprehension.
Now for the difficult part, as I am TERRIBLE with names. I think we were: Max, Nurit, Itai, Itzik, Tzvika, Me (Merrill), Eli from Rishon (welcome to the group), Naftali, Yoram and Dudi. If I screwed up your name, my sincere apologies.
There was one "puncture" by a very considerate rider, who managed to have the flat tire at the coffee shop and not in the blazing sun. We returned to Elishema along the Yarkon, wetting our feet and bikes by riding through the "wadis" 2 or 3 times, which is a must on a hot day like today!
Nobody got to go home before being forced to eat my banana, chocolate chip, nut muffins and there were even one brave soul who took some home for his kids. Great fun was had by one and all and I am sure everyone had a nice nap afterwards.

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RIDE REPORT -by - Nurit - Supporting Gilad - 25 June


Supporting Gilad
Supporting Gilad Shalit.......3 years in captivity.
We were 20 riders as we set off to ride to the Sarona park opposite the Kiria where the rally indicating Gilad's 3 years in captivity was to take place.
We rode along the Yarkon river with Gilad's face imprinted on a flag attached to Max's bike, flowing in the wind. We were a small group, riding along the pastoral paths of the Yarkon but you could not ignore us. It was with great difficulty that I stopped myself from crying every time I looked up and saw Gilad's eyes looking down on us.

Our ride took us through the busy streets of Tel Aviv where life continues as usual but we saw the support and felt the feelings of the people as we passed. People remember and care. We arrived at Sarona and joined the thousands of others already there showing their support for Gilad.
We heard the speeches and the most important one telling the Government....... ENOUGH.........of sitting around quietly..........from now on the Government will hear our shouts every day until Gilad is released.

As friends of Aviva and Noam, Gilad's parents, even though thanks are not really necessary , we would like to thank you, the riders, who made the effort and joined us on this ride in support of Gilad and the Shalit family.
I also want to personaly thank my partner, Max, for organising this very special ride.
I hope that this will be the last ride we have to organise in support of Gilad and pray that we will see him home and together with his family, in the very near future.

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RIDE REPORT -by - Gidi - 20th June - Zanuach and Ein Panas


Zanuach Lo Zaniach
Early in the morning we met near the place called Zanoach not far from Beit Shemesh. I wonder what they were thinking when they gave it its name.
The eight of us came well on time (!) and prepared our bikes for what was to come. We could smell the snow (?) at the top when we began our first great ascent. Slowly but surely we plowed our way up. Sometimes on the bike... Then came the sun...
As the ascent grew long we began hopping from the shade of one lonely tree to the other. At one point, Avraham, on foot, tried to dive under a tree smashing into a rock. We were all very relieved to see that except for terminal damage to his helmet not a scratch of harm was done. At the top, we refilled our water supplies and began the next phase of our trip. Right around Bar Giyora we entered the picturesque hills decorated with endless high voltage power lines and a beautiful view down on Mata. We visited no less than three different springs. The first, well hidden in a bush is known as Ein Azan. After discovering it by chance we found a small sign next to it with the words from a song by Yoram Teharlev:
מַעְיָן יָדַעְתִּי בֵּין עִשְּׂבֵי
הַבָּר בְּתוֹךְ הַשֶּׁקֶט הַכָּחֹל
לוּ יָדַעְתִּי כָּכָה לִחְיוֹת
לִנְבֹּעַ וְלָעַד לֹא לַחְדֹּל

The next spring was Ein Tanur (also known as "Ein Panas"). Next time, we should bring flashlights with us. Nevertheless, it was a good spot for our refreshment stop. The third spring, just a short trip up the road was Ein Mata (also known as "Ein Shachachti"), where a large group of people were bathing happily in the seemingly clear water.
From Ein Tanur we enjoyed another ascent in the sun towards the entrance to the cesarean single at Hirbet Hanut. This is where we went to practice our ability to jump up and down stone stairs (with our bikes). So, that is what we did. Were we supposed to be riding?
The hot and dry air stopped us from completing the single and we chose to shorten our ride a bit and get back to the cars before we ran out of water. One punctured tire was fixed in the shade before the trip was completed.
We arrived exhausted and overheated at the cars extremely happy to discover cool watermelon and melon awaited us there as the ultimate trophy!
Max - thanks for introducing us to yet another beautiful part of our country!
Also, personally I ran through no less that five and a half liters of water. Worth a second thought before our next six hour trip in the blazing sun... --

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RIDE REPORT -by - Max - 19th June - Ladies Course 2nd session


Course Ladies Beginners 2
07.00 and Good morning to one and all. Today we will learn.........and so it went for the next 4 hours. Uphills, Downhills, put your weight back, look foreward, relax.......do this do that and we had a slight breeze.
Amazing the improvement with just a little bit of technique. Understanding what the bike can do gives us more confidence and allows us to do more. Riding becomes more enjoyable and confidence in our own abilities adds another concept to our general well being.

So practice, practice and practice and see you in two weeks. Next session we will travel to Ben Shemen and conquer the basic art of "single riding".

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RIDE REPORT -by - Dennis - 18th June - Har Heret, Sataf and Har Eitan


Har Heret, Sataf and Har Eitan
Our ride in the Jerusalem hills, under blue skies and slowly increasing temperature, would have been perfect had it not been for a couple of unexpected ups and downs. Having come to believe that Spokes rides are carefully designed to be as horizontal as possible, the fact that much of the ride rose steeply towards the heavens or precipitously down to the other place came as quite a surprise. But such surprises have happened before...
So, starting from the Motza junction with the air still pleasantly cool, the route took us down to the Sorek dam for a view of the tranquil waters, then around the base of the eroding dam wall and a steep climb part of the way up the south side of Har Heret. Having Hadassah hospital in sight for much of the time was encouraging. Eventually we arrived at the Sataf cafe to mingle with the walkers, bikers, dogs, and a little rest. Then uphill again to the top of Har Eitan, with panoramic views of nearby hills and settlements all the way along and a very gentle breeze. Downhill and uphill again to Tzoba, where there were underground water works to be explored after some explanations from the local custodian.
Uphill yet again to Maoz Zion, then a long and partly technical downhill on the north side of Har Heret almost back to Motza, where it was time to celebrate. Shimon (who did not ride today after being attacked by his new bike) was having a surprise birthday party (the young man has racked up a whole half-century) organized by his better half Sharona. So, somewhere in the forest, the wilting SpokesFolk were greeted by cold beer, cold melon, nourishing foods, and lots of good cheer; everyone was very happy and the grateful SpokesFolk hope that there will be many more such events.
Suitably refreshed, it was just a short climb back to where we begun, with 23km traveled, and 350m climbed. And perhaps all those thigh-burning uphills and gut-wrenching downhills weren't so bad after all.

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RIDE REPORT -by - Max - 6 June - Technical course 2 Horshim


Course 2 Horshim
Well today we held the second Technical Riding course with Tom and we all agreed that we are learning a great deal from him.
We practiced climbing rocks, going round rocks, going down rocks, moving rocks, lifting rocks, swearing at rocks, falling on rocks and basically rocking.
One thing we established is that we have a star and his name is Eitan.
Itzik showed us his skill in moving his bike sideways and here and there we all practised different ways of falling.
Today we welcomed Shai (jet lagged but still awake) and Hezi. Join us again.
To complete the course we did a quick uphill to the Lookout point and then another long winding nearly downhill single back down and then back to Elishema.


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RIDE REPORT -by - Max - 5th June- Ladies Beginners Course


Ladies Beginners Course
Several months ago some of our lady riders and others who were not yet riding asked me if we would do a beginners trails course. I prepared the groundwork for the first course and today we met with our first group of "beginners" and went out on a very pleasant 4 hour ride/course.
We have built the course based on 4 sessions of 4 hours each, and our motto is "to walk less and ride more...".
Each session is based on the previous one and will enable us to learn the basics of trail riding. This will include fitting the bike to the rider, correct weight distribution on the bike, correct use of brakes and gears, cornering techniques, uphill and downhill skills.
We will learn the procedures for removing both front and rear wheels on our bikes and replacing an inner tube.
We will learn how to fit a bike stand to our car and how to place the bike correctly and firmly on the stand.
We will learn how to ride through sand, mud and water. We will do singles and learn the basic front jump to overcome rocks,roots and other obstacles.
At the end of 4 sessions we hope to have achieved a higher technical level of riding, enabling us to ride more, with more confidence and with more bike skills.
For your own well being, please come to the course with proper shoes with good gripping undersoles, padded gloves and sun glasses. Add on 2-3 liters of water and an energy snack and we should be able to keep going all through the Summer with no problems.
See you next session.

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RIDE REPORT -by - Max - Italy & Austria - (24th -30th May)


Italy & Austria
It's amazing how much you can get into 7 days. 2 flights, 1200 km's of driving, about 180 km's of mountain bike riding and scenery………just amazing.

We started in lake Garda in Italy where we met the guides for an introduction to the area and in particular to the biking trails around the lake and in the surrounding mountains. Hundreds of bikers everywhere you look but also many trails of all sizes. Steep uphills, reasonably flat trails, singles and of course downhills for the full armor type of kamikaze bikers.
Here we had 2, 45 km rides on good challenging mountain tracks and a sweet beer to refresh us at the end

From Garda we drove through the Brenner pass into Austria and came to Mayrhofen where a different type of scenery awaited. Different houses and different mountains.
Again we met with the local guides and were taken up to 1700 meters by cable car, rode a further 400 meter up to the top of the mountain and then nearly free wheeled all the way down to 600 meters. Amazing. The mountains greeted us with snow on their caps, the green colour of the hills and the valleys is enough to take your breath away (if you still have any left after reaching the summit !!). Wonderfull, refreshing and totally beautiful.
Mayrhofen the town in the valley has enough restaurants to please all and shops aplenty to buy presents for those at home. The Hotel was a delight with all the biking facilities we need. A locked storeroom, great breakfast before the rides, energy supplements for the rides, sauna…….what more !!

Having said fond farewells to Mayrhofen we continued to Zell Am See and to Maishofen. One of the most beautiful areas in Austria and a bikers dream. The trails are endless and full of gorges, singles uphills and of course downhills.
Again the meetings and the rides with the local guides showed us that the area around Kaprun (6 Km's from Zell Am See) is paradise and just made us want to stay for more.
Certainly one of the best trips I have ever been on……..
Enjoy the photos, they tell the story much better, and we are preparing three trips during the Summer which will be advertised this week. See you there…………..

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RIDE REPORT -by - Max - Elishema to Yar Nachshonim - 16 May


Elishema to Yar Nachshonim
Well we all needed a rest. Actually the plan was to ride the Meggido Volve challenge but that turned out to be very overgrown with weeds etc. We will do it soon.
22 riders and we managed 47 kms. Uphills were missing but a couple of technical challenges were available to test our skills.
The route took us along the Kane (nearly empty) and we joined the Yarkon to ride through the myriad paths of Suf. The source of all water is always a welcome break. (its amazing what a 2 inch pipe can do!!!!).
Antipatrous is still standing and from there to Yar Nachshonim, a short and fast ride.
We all climbed the Yar as mountain goats do and with a couple of red faces at the top looked forward to the downhill.
As if that was not enough I decided at the request of all the riders (well actually Itai asked) to do the Migdal Zedek as well.
Now fast forward to Einat and a welcome break for coffee.

After refreshments we continued the Yarkon way and arrived back at the cars with only a couple of mishaps on the way.
I have to say that Ada has a great way of massaging (not me) and Meir looked very happy all the way home.
Welcome to Douglas and Roman on their first time out with the SPOKES.
Please tell us before each ride if you intend to join us, and make sure you are ready to ride 10 minutes after the meeting time.
Happy riding.

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RIDE REPORT -by - Max - Kochav Yair Challenge - 9 May


Kochav Yair May
17 riders met for early morning tea in Zur Yigal. The ride was by courtesy of Itai and Eitan and they led us on a well chosen route combining singles, downhills, pebbly dried out river streams, asphalt and of course several breath removing uphills.
We rode in beautiful wild scenery which unfortunately is marred by fencing of all shapes and sizing. The camels (see the pics if you don't believe me), added to the exotic nature of the ride. Welcome to Stas on his amazing new Cube and to Ariel and Ofrah who braved the uphills for a first time out with the SPOKES.

A special thanks to Tatiana who provided the best chocolate at the break (I love chocolate) and a get better soon to Gidi who managed to scrape off a lot of his surface skin in a private meeting with some asphalt. (superfuous ...maybe??).
25 km's of an invigorating ride and we'll see you next week for the SPOKES Meggido challenge.
Please come on time to our rides and we will start 15 minutes after the meeting time.

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RIDE REPORT -by - Max - Full moon 55 KM ride - 7 May


Went out for coffee last night, with a couple of the guys.
Dennis ordered cappucino, (not choco), Dov took his coffee in a one time cup (stays hotter longer....he says !!) Nurit and I, well salmon sandwich just happens to be on the menu so why not. Itai drove the waiter nuts (poor guy.....the waiter I mean). Dudi.....too cold to sit outside..???? Itzik contemplated a Barcelona salad....... Will someone tell Eitan not to fill up his Havit before a ride !!!!

Oh the ride.!! Martin needs night goggles.....once he came perilously close to the water's edge, another time missed the bend totally and found himself up in the brambles, then he got lost !!!!
Dennis was found to be playing golf in a sand hole.. (in the middle of a ride ???).
Then a private performance by a Thespian bunch of weird goings on above a high Tell.
A great ride .......One against 10 Yallllllllla.........................

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RIDE REPORT -by - Shimon G - 2 May - Latrun to Bet Meir


Latrun to Bet Meir
On a pleasant Saturday morning we embarked on an "effortless" ride only 30 km. Even though the forecast called for warm weather in the mountains, apparently not in our mountain, it was nice and cool. 11 riders set off from Latrun.
About 300 m' down the road some of us were already dragging our bikes up a steep hill. That was the beginning of a ride which as Max always says has "only one uphill", all the way up the Burma Road. After a few kms ,a couple who had had enough, decided to abandon us. As we crossed Rout 38 and the going got tough, Zeev decided to quit. The climb up Burma Road was long and steep with plenty of gravel to slick and slide on.. At the end of the hill, as we tried to catch our breath, we said goodbye to another rider leaving only seven riders in the group.

After breakfast we started the climb up (דרך המשלטים) and from there we rolled down the same path we climbed up. The way down was "Fast and Furious" the gravel made the way down a bit tricky, one of the riders performed a maneuver that almost took him straight to the bottom of the hill (not via the path) and of course no major down hill can be concluded without a flat tire. We crossed Rout 38 and headed back to Latrun.
I don't know about everybody else but I really pushed it to the limit.
Overall it was a beautiful ride entwined with history from the days of the War of Independence.

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RIDE REPORT -by - Max - Course Horshim - 25th April


Course Horshim
Spokes held their first technical riding course today, in Yar Horshim. Our instructor was Tom who comes from the world of trials riding.
The idea behind the course was to enable us to ride more and walk less.

Tom showed us many concepts such as correct weight distribution, correct brake habits, how to ride up slabs of rocks and down them, how to decide on the correct path etc. We managed to practice a lot and also to ride several sweet singles. Now it is up to us to go out there and practice what we have learnt. Thanks Tom.

I gained a lot from todays experience and want to continue with this type of hands on learning.
We will hold a second session on the 6th of June. All those interested should confirm their participation as soon as possible. The next session will be limited to 10 riders only and will cost 75 shekels per rider.

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RIDE REPORT -by - Dennis - 18th April - Arad to the Dead Sea


Arad to Dead Sea
Where shall I begin? Perhaps at the top. Arad, at about 600m above sea level.
Then where shall I end? At the bottom. As far down upon the earth that nature allows. The Dead Sea. Some 390m below sea level. Twixt beginning and end there is a path. A very long path. A rocky, gravelly, sandy, twisting path. Close to 60km long. A path that descends 990m. So, even if the going is hard, surely that should be one heck of a downhill. Like skiing on wheels perhaps?

Oops! The path to the bottom of the earth is not a downhill cruise, because, for some perverse reason, it goes uphill. A long way uphill. With ascents that force one to use the brakes for traction while dragging one's steed up. This is not riding, this is masochism of the most cruel kind. But who said masochists don't have fun? Bottom line, the path climbs some 340m, some bits easier than others.
But on the plus side, there is all that extra downhill (you do the sums).

So, to make a long story short, here is what the eight merry Spokesniks (6 oldtimers, 2 guests) did over almost 8 hours on a beautiful, sunny, but not too hot day. They set out from Arad early (having left their soft beds while all was still dark), from the industrial area of Arad, south past the landing strip, and up to Mt. Yahel, en route reaching the highest altitude of the day, 630m. There was then a long 500m descent, via Mt. Kipon, to one of the many panoramic viewpoints that line the route.

What goes down, goes up. And so did our magnificent eight. Up, up, up. After crossing a main road, there was one long climb to a nameless place, a little peak to cross using one's best scrambling technique, followed by, guess what, yet another climb, where even the most hardy grovelled. Between these two periods of pain we had our picnic. On Mt. Komot (one now realizes the reason for the name) we spread our tent. Literally. A magnificent folding contraption that our ancestors would have envied, with fresh air from all directions.
And where did this tent suddenly appear from? Well, now is the time to reveal a little secret. The supreme Spokesniks had company. A 4x4. A royal blue one. One for which nature could construct no barrier. It can go anywhere, carry anything.
Where humans scramble and slide, it cruises. That's how the tent, our replacement fluids, and our breakfast comestibles arrived.

So after four hours of sun and air the riders were almost halfway along, but back at 350m above sea level. Surely it was time for some serious downhill. Having traveled mainly south, the route turned east, and down. Down, down, down. To sea level. And then the path started to twist. And the riders, twisting, sped down another 250m to the Plane of Amiaz. This plane is flat and dead. At the eastern end is Mt. Sedom. Ah Sedom, how I long for thee. The unstoppable eight now turned north for yet another of the journey's highlights. Nachal Sedom. No water, but a long, narrow, sinuously twisting canyon with high walls and overhanging cliffs. Almost a course in geology for dummies, with layer upon layer of sedimentary deposits. Chavar lashon - look it up - there was once a very big lake in these parts. Erosion by periodic floods has done its work, and what remains is this magnificent downhill slalom run, with each turn bringing new feasts for the eyes. Gotta go back.
Then it was into Nachal Pratzim, where the wadi walls are much farther apart, but the landscape still mindblowing. All the earthen colors imaginable, white to yellow to brown, layer upon layer. And then there was the lake at the end of the valley. In Emek Zohar. With trees, and birds, and real water. A little oasis at 390m below, with the water level falling fast and the drying mud weaving intricate patterns.
Enough, cried the assembled multitudes, dusty and weary. So it was across the highway and through garbage strewn territory (up till then absolutely no manmade detritus apart from an old pipeline, in fact few signs of life except for a slow moving jeep convoy heading downhill, a small group of hikers heading uphill, a large flock of sheep all neatly lined up in rows) and on to the parking area by the sea at Hamei Zohar. There a small feast awaited, and a closeup view of the Dead Sea which took so long to reach. 7 hours and 40 minutes in fact, with 4 hours in motion. 60km. Only when driving along the highway back to Arad to collect the cars did it occur that while there is a much quicker way to the Dead Sea, it is one far less enjoyable. Homeward bound, finally, as the sun set.
Must thank the support staff, Ahouvi and Lidor for the driving (and occasional uphill bike dragging), Max and Nurit for the organization and vehicular aid, Itai for his aromatic coffee, tent and irrepressible humor. And if you thought that M was unstoppable on 2 wheels, you should have seen him on 4, when the road is practically impassable to man or beast. See youse all next time.

Max adds...... We were glad to welcome Ofer S. back again with Yariv and thank him for his work as a Me'aseff (sweeper). The fact that he did it from the front did not bother anyone......
Also thanks to Shimon's wife who was there at the END to clap us on our amazing endevours, and as Dennis already mentioned a great many thanks to Ahouvi and Lidor for agreeing to drive the 4 x 4 along with us as our support vehicle.
All in all, a brilliant ride.


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RIDE REPORT -by - Gidi - 16 April Elishema-Horshim-Einat


Elishema Horshim & Einat
Six went on a biking tour
led by Nurith and Max.
The wind was blowing, that's for sure,
when we began to lay our tracks.

As usual there were no uphills planned,
when we crossed the Kaneh creek,
but sure enough that didn't stand
as we reached the Horshim peak...

We passed Kfar Qasem and all its litter
and observed a curious field,
for instead of seeing flowers glitter
plastic bags appealed.

Down the windy slope we went
to the Rosh Haain quarry,
where we were surpassed by a running gent who appeared on his way to glory.

By the time we yearned for a coffee break Einat Segfredo appeared.
We got another's order by mistake
but eventually got that cleared.

Our master changed on the final part
as Nurith took the lead.
We reached the Elishema point of start
very pleased indeed!


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RIDE REPORT -by - Max -Park Brittania and Tel Azaka - 11 April


Park Britania & Tel Azaka
It is amazing how tangled a chain can get but the first 40 minutes were spent trying to untangle one of our rider's chain so we started a bit late. We rode to the entrance to Park Britannia and immediately went into our first smooth flowing single.
The early morning tranquility was sweet music to our ears and the only real noise was the tyres going over the pebbles on the route. The scenery is wonderful and the colours at this time of the year as we have said a thousand times are just unbelievable. The pictures show only a small detail of the overwhelming beauty of the area.
The end of the single led us to our first climb and this was a really steep path back to road 353 to cross over to the other side of the park and into the second climbing single.
This one was a bit more technical and needed some skill to climb the slabs of stone and keep on the bikes. Some of us walked but we all enjoyed the tremendous lush vegetation.
From here it was up and down until the trail to Tel Azaka. The climb up was just about rideable and we all made it to the top.

Here a 360 degree panoramic vista awaited us and the views of the HaEla valley are wonderful. Someone a long time ago had the foresight to plant a tree and to cement benches into the not so natural Tel and so we had our break here and were regaled with stories of David and Goliath who fought their epic battle down in the Ella plains many a long year ago.
After the break we began our decent from the Tel, through some hair raising steep descents and into the last very technical downhill single.
Down at last and we all breathed a bit easier and then off to the XC riding that we all love, through the glorious fields of Agur, past Luzit, over road 353 again and into the forests of Yar Masua and back to Li-On.
Just before we crossed road 353 we came upon an oasis of red amongst a carpet of yellow, truly a wonderful sight. See the pics.

The last few kms were all uphill but we managed to finish the ride of 20 or so kms with a feeling that maybe another 10 would have been better.
I promised the group to make up the difference on the way down to the Dead sea.
By the way, welcome to all the new faces and we hope to see you with us again.
See you next week and don't forget Wednesday morning we ride to Migdal Tzedek.


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RIDE REPORT by Max - The Volvo Challenge - 4th April


Volvo Challenge
Itai laid down the challenge a couple of weeks ago and here we are at 7.00 am parking the car somewhere in Yar Megiddo along with another 1000 or so riders. First things first and we had to get our number (588) and the electronic chip which we fixed to our bikes to record the time and to make make sure that we started and finished together with our partners within 30 seconds of each other. The start was full of drama as the professionals jostled with each other to be at the front and the more relaxed ones stayed in the middle of the pack and waited patiently for the start. Well off we rode into well marked trails, climbs, singles and great downhills. At the beginning the singles were a problem as there was a lot of bunching up but gradually as the field spread out the trails became easy to ride and at same point during the second round we found ourselves nearly alone on the trails and were convinced that we were so far ahead of the rest of the riders that we had time to stop eat and pee. Alas this was not the case and at the finish we were surprised (not really) to see that about 65 pairs of riders had already passed the finishing line before us. The ride was great, some of it hard climbs, a couple of uphill singles requiring great effort not to walk up and some really good flowing trails. The organisation was very good and our congratulations go to all the winners, the organisers and to a great day out.

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RIDE REPORT by Max - 28th March - Nahal Kisalon to Nahal Sorek


Nahal kisalon to Nahal Sorek
The landscape gardening was done to perfection. Weatherwise, we went just a wee bit overboard although the direction (wind behind us as we climbed the long and winding road) was correct. Temperature was just enough to prevent sweat. The anti mud measures that we'd taken during the last few days had worked out well. Some of the trails were still a bit bumpy but we should have them smoother by next time. Timing .....again perfection.......just enough time to get home clean the house, do the laundry, mow the grass, wash down the bikes, have an afternoon sleep, 5 course supper and then settle in for the Yossi Benhiyoun variety show. 80 minutes of ....yawn......and 10 minutes of nearly football.

Ah yes... the ride.
Brilliant..... great guys, great laughs and good climbs.
Welcome to Yuval ....hope you'll join us again....family permitting.!!!
Well done Shai, who brought the average age down by a lot......
and a big welcome back to Yoram who now has a 35 bpm heart ...
By the way ...Nahal Sorek stinks...........!!!!!

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RIDE REPORT -by - Max - 21 Mar - Elishema to Jerusalem 100 Kms


Elishema to Jerusalem
This ride is dedicated to Gilad Shalit in the hope that he will very shortly be home with his parents Noam and Aviva and the rest of his family.

After 7 kms Itzhak asked "How much more to finish the ride??
From then on the humour just never stopped. Well we got to the Malcha railway station at 19.00 after a recorded 104 km ride with over 1000 meters height elevation ridden. All of us tired but very very satisfied with a great ride, with great company and a great achievement under our belts, but maybe I should begin at the beginning.
The beginning was at about 7.15 a.m. in Elishema and our route took us along Nahal Kane, East till we crossed the Nahal and turned South parallel to the railway lines, over more water crossings and then under Tzomet Kasem around Anti Patrous and on to Einat. Then past Kfar Sirkin on our right and then all the way down to Givat Koach.
Passed Bareket on our left followed by a slight detour to cross Nahal Bet Arif and then through the pardess parallel to Road 46 to the El Al junction (where Oren joined us........welcome to SPOKES!!). Up till now, all was off road. From Tomet El Al we started our Urban ride and rode to Lod and all the way through to Ramle. Just on the border of Lod to Ramle we made our first stop for breakfast coffee, sandwiches and water filling. We had ridden 30 Kms and so far all was well. We were riding at a good pace but not too fast. Out of Ramla (with a bit of directional help from Dudi) and down towards Moshav Matzliah, south and then east before Ramot Meir and again we met the railway lines. A bit further on we crossed the railway lines into Shmura Maynot Givaton, a very pleasant picnic area with a hill to climb (of course) and then a great view of the surrounding area including Maskeret Batia. At the South end of the Shmura we hit road 411 which we crossed and then continued South down to Yesodot. (About 50 kms ridden so far).
Then along the railway lines to road 3 where the railway bridge flies over the road at about 10 meters height, past the Nahal Sorek Railway station and about 15 kms further we arrived at Bet Shemesh where we had our lunch break in the Kiosk on road 38, having done 70 kms.

Itai by now had spent about 4 hours without his wife Ahouvi and so here was the happy reunion. Ahouvi came to meet him and it was Oh so touching !!!!!!!

Lunch having been devoured we set off refreshed and into the second half of Nahal Sorek, along the fast flowing water (water ??) and started our gradual climb amidst the greenery and in the shade of the rocks and trees and which would eventually bring us up to Jerusalem.
Having crossed road 386 we started the last part of our journey into Emek Rafaim, Avraham started slowing down until the screams reverberated throughout the forest and we turned round to find him with both legs cramped and in agony. Look at the pictures and you will see the excellent massaging the went on there. Well we will never know if the inner thigh massage that Avraham received from Nurit helped but for the rest of the ride he was smiling happily to himself.
We carried on a bit slower from here until we arrived at the trails junction under the railway bridge near Ein Kobi and here rested for our last break. By this time we had done about 90 kms. From here we climbed the long and grueling path up to Ein Salmon (Aminadav) 3 kms of a consistant hard climb and the having reached the pinnacle we rode hard and fast all the way down back to the railway lines. (This was for exercise !!!).
From here on we crossed the railway lines twice and continued on towards the Gan Tanachi station where we said fond farewells to Dudi, Itzhak, Oren and Avraham and then continued 2 kms further to the Malha station where we had our second happy reunion with Ahouvi and a welcome change of clothing. WE DID IT…….
Statistically speaking, we did 104 kms from Elishema to Jerusalem, we actually rode for 7.25 hours, our elevation gain totaled about 1000 meters, fastest speed was 35 km/hr and average speed of 14.33 km/hr.
To all of us……well done……we had the dedication, the patience and the good humour to make a hard ride into a pleasant day out and thanks to Nurit our resident photographer who manages to capture the ride so well.....
As d'Artagnan once said…..Unus pro omnibus, omnes pro uno......
One for all, all for one.


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RIDE REPORT -by - Max - 14th March - Nahal HaBsor


Nahal HaBsor
A bike riders paradise. Climbs and descents some difficult some exhilarating, none too long. Singles galore both simple and very technical. Rope bridges to test our balance as we rode over. Water passes, some deep some stony but all passable. Impassable singles where we put our bikes on our shoulders and walked, climbed and slid down. Falls into brambles and bushes. 36 kms of pure fun, this was a fast flowing ride with 5 well conditioned riders, the best weather you could ask for and the scenery..... truly magnificent, the many coloured flowerings all around us and here and there a surprise visit by an eagle (I think we surprised him having a nap) and by a very large stork (we think). All the above and still one more event to make this ride extra special. We came across (several times) a bunch of cyclists with about 15 tandems and another 8 or so normal bikes. The special thing was that on each tandem the second rider was blind. It really gave me a special feeling to know that out there, there are bikers like us who take blind bikers out every week for a XC ride throughout Israel. All their riders were attired in all the biking gear and while riding the leaders were always explaining what they saw. We chatted with one of the single riders whose father was one of the blind riders and we will definitely find a way to join them on one of their (or our) rides.

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RIDE REPORT - Urban Jerusalem - 7 Mar -by - Max


Jerusalem
Finally, the weather forecast looked good after 2 postponements.
We met, 14 of us, 28.5% female and the remainder male.
Welcome to Tatiana, her first ride with Spokes and Mazal Tov to Avraham on the birth of a new grand daughter. There is a much better view of the Chords Bridge from where we met (Binyane HaOma) than from the entrance to the city and this should now be converted into the entrance. How to do this….simple… issue an International Tender.
The first thing you notice when you come into Gan Sacher is a rare plant unknown in Jerusalem……grass. There are not many green parks in Jerusalem but Gan Sacher is definitely the best. There are sweet singles and good uphills to find and we did. The Racafot and the Calaniot were extra and they followed us throughout the park. Our first stop was under the Bonsho, which is a large Japanese bell presented to the city as a symbol of everlasting peace. It is engraved with the quote, "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. They shall prosper that love thee as well". For some reason many in the group felt the need to rise into the cavity……(perhaps a time machine)…It took as quite a while to get Avraham back down……
By the way Purim was not forgotton and Itai rose to the occasion by wearing his typical English Bowler……….
Onwards through the park and past the The Monastery of the Cross which is an 11th Century Byzantine monastery located outside the Old City of Jerusalem. Its name is based on the tradition that it stands where the tree grew that was used to make Christ's cross.
Continuing after the great Bike path, part of the 100 km of bike paths that the Jerusalem municipality has promised its citizens, we rode toward Tzomet Pat and across the Yakov Pat bridge. While on the bridge we stopped to see the old railway line from the original tracks from Tel Aviv Yaffo, built in 1890 at a cost of 400.000 English pounds and finished in 1892. We could also see all of Beit Safafa (united into a single village after the '67 war) and which has the only Bilingual School in Israel for both Jewish and Arab students.
Then up the long and invigorating climb to Derech Hebron and South to Ramat Rahel. We planned to go into the Kibbutz from the West side but when we arrived at the back gate it was locked. Fortunately we had with us all the key-pad "unlock" experts in Israel and after 10 minutes a car arrived and the young lady was pleased to open the gate with her "remote". So much for the "experts".

Ramat Rahel houses an ongoing archeological park with a brilliant look out point over looking the Urban sprawl of West Jerusalem . Outside the Kibbutz, is the famous "Olive Columns" sculpture (by Ran Morin). From the top of the columns sprout live olive trees, symbolizing peace and a bright future. From here, a fabulous view of the Judean desert, the Mountains of Moab, the famed fortress of Herodian, and the Dead Sea (when the view is good).
Once we'd finished climbing all over these columns we got back on our bikes and briefly visited the Bell outpost (the scene of hard fighting during the war of Independence), and then continued through Talpiot and Armon with another brief stop to visit Shai Agnon's newly refurbished house.
When's the break ???………the calls were now becoming more insistant…..but I pressed on with my plan and tortured the group into riding to the East end of the Hass promenade, past the UN buildings to the Tolerance park. Here rises to the sky a 15-meter sculpture by the Polish artist, Czes?aw D?wigaj, professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow. The monument is built from two halves of a broken column, with an olive tree ascending and growing out of the center. The tree's branches and golden leaves look as if they are trying to heal the rift and bring the two halves closer. The sculpture was brought over from Poland in parts and assembled on site.

Ok so what about the break. Well.. the Hass promenade seemed to be a great place for a break and at last we stopped, overlooking the South wall of the old City. Itai also managed here to explain a little bit more about the Old City. Then a welcome fluid retention release in the OO and off we went down through the zig zags of the peace forest and up to Abu Tor, past the old railway station and then into the Lions den, a nice sculptured fountain at the beginning of the Yemin Moshe quarter. Here we stopped to see the first Racval in Israel built to supply the beleaguered citizens ,cut off in the Old City during the independence War.
Through the beautiful small streets of Yemin Moshe and past the windmill and here we suddenly met up with Waseem…a 19 year old from Abu Tor with a singlespeed mtb bike who decided to tag along with us to see the sites. Then up into King George Street, past the YMCA building and the King David Hotel and then past the Mamila project and up through the zig zags and into the Jaffa gate. A quick first left found ourselves in the Christian quarter and out of the bustle of a very full market. Through the myriad of alleys and out through the New Gate and then down along the Wall until Damascus Gate where we met the hustle and bustle of every day life. Over the road and right into Derech Shechem, this lead us on the way up to Mount Scopus.
Are you nuts they asked me when I told them the continuation of the ride……..
Anyway Mount Scopus it was and we all arrived at the look out point over looking the Old City from the East and then we continued until we visited the look out point over the Judean desert and then continued along to Har HaZeitim and down through a 45 degree (are we really going down there ???) slope (next time we will do it going up !!!).
This rush of adrenaline brought us down to the valley of the Kidron and passed all the three sacred Churches. Then up the steep long climb to Dung Gate, a quick look at the Kotel area and then continued up the steep climb to the Armenian quarter. From here smooth riding to Jaffa gate then up Rechov Yaffo and back to the cars.

37 KM's done, climbed and descended. We all came back from a great ride with a great feeling.
For those who want to do this ride again or who have not done so, I will be pleased to lead it again in another month.


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