RIDE REPORT - Einat & Yar Koola - 27th December 08 - by - Max

07.45 Arrive Einat...... no coffee, no tea
07.50 still no coffee, still no tea
07.55 call Itai, ..Hallo hallo......poor lad.....feeling poorly..!!!!
08.00 Next??
7 of us Spokes and we began today's ride from Einat. Went down South over the bridge and started riding parallel to the railway tracks. We hit the mud; oh boy did we hit the mud. Some of us just about got through some not. Then trouble struck. Benny's ear (well actually his rear derailleur pivot bracket) snapped off and that was the end of his ride. Very bravely he got back on track !! and had to walk all the way back to the cars. We tried cleaning the bikes up a bit and then carried on towards the first stop. This was an impressive building in the middle of the Yar Nachshonim forest which we think was used as a memorial or as a storage facility back in the Roman era. You can still see the archway in the entrance.
From here we continued via a delightful "single" , past the entrance to El Ad and on to Yar Koola which was named after the Arab village which was here before 1948. Just before we got to Yar Koola we visited the "Mausoleum" a very impressive memorial built by one of the wealthy families in the Roman era as a last resting place for their kin. This is a most imposing building with Corinthian pillars and arched ceilings and is today still in remarkably good condition. From here we rode up the meandering slopes of the forest and for a few moments joined the trance party still going on at full volume. Refusing the many initiations to join in we continued upwards until we arrived at the Koola memorial.
This was built to honor the 32 fallen soldiers of the Alexandroni Brigade who gave their lives in the 1948 war of Independence.
After this energy break we climbed a steep technical ascent and rode along the Eastern fence of El Ad till the summit. Here the majority prevailed and we decided to shorten the route and return via the quarries and back to Einat for a great Shakshooka ending.
All in all a great morning out and perhaps one day we will visit Hirbet El Hamam.
RIDE REPORT - Nahal Kziv - 20/12/08 - by - Dennis

Nahal Kziv
"Oh Nahal Kziv,
How shall I praise your beauty.
Sinuously winding through your verdant gorge,
Deep and inaccessible,
Once a torrent carving through multihued strata,
Now a mere stream between limpid pools.
Twice came we unto you,
On the first you welcomed us with mist and rain,
But today we returned and the air was fresh,
And you immersed us in your tranquility." (Anon.)

The mighty Spokesfolk came up from Manot through Hila and Ma'iliya, and down the treacherous winding descent to the river. After a short clamber over rocks, with bikes carried rather than ridden, the travelers' route followed the river path, crossing it from time to time, sometimes one way, sometimes the other. Lots of freshly fallen rocks from the steep canyon walls attested to a landscape still evolving.
At Ein Tamir they stopped to relax, feed themselves, and explore a crevice into which the foolhardy ventured through shallow waters to the darkest depths; there was concern that with the narrowness of the entry some might be stuck on the way out, but when the head count was taken all had returned.

The path wove past the foot of the Montfort fortress, a most impressive ruin overlooking the valley floor from high above, and a reminder of what was going on hereabouts so many centuries ago.
The coup de grace was the steep ascent out of the valley back to the starting point.

A novel addition to close the proceedings was the official stretching session, followed by lunching on traditional foods in a nearby town where the noise was enough to bring the weary travelers (who had covered over 27km of rough territory and ascended almost 500m) back to reality.

An exhilarating ride through magnificent scenery in an area luckily out of reach of the motorized masses. Welcome to the newcomers, and here's looking forward to the next time.
RIDE REPORT Horshim by night 17th December 2008 -by - Max

Well, t'was a moonless nicht when the 4 esoteric riders lit up the night sky with their Oh so powerfull 3w x 3 multiplied by any number of variations built into plastic containers ranging from Itai's bit of installator piping and up to Stuart's top of the range reflective reflectored reflector.
Someone had the very stupid idea of riding via Matan through the dark fields and onto Horshim, into the foreboding depths of totally dark forest and up the steep steep climb to the Hezi Lookout.
Shall I write about the cold, inserting itself into every pore, nook and cranny in our once warmed bodies. Of the tears streaming down our faces as we hurtled down the road from Matan at 54 kms an hour. Of the great star studded night as we turned off all of our projectors.
Nah and no!! It was just 4 guys out for a moonless stroll together with their gallant steeds. Onward they cried......where shall we ride next!!!!!!!!
RIDE REPORT Bet Shean 13th December 2008 - by - Ted

Bet Shean Ride
Max tried his best to make the Beit Sha’an ride a lousy ride. It started at the meeting place, an Old age home. !!!! And more morbidity was soon to come. We started off down towards the lowest dusty levels of the Rift Valley and then back towards Beit Sha’an up a challenging trail. The cold weather he initially organized suddenly turned warmer (after the climb?) and then we rode singles thru a wooded pasture…no kidding, where cows eyed us with suspicion. The dung wafted in the early morning air as we entered the pasture under an electrified fence (even that didn’t wipe the smiles off our face). The morbidity returned as we passed a Jewish cemetery followed by a Moslem one and still we were laughing. An entirely new approach was then adopted by Max. He led us to some racing starting stalls where we lined up as Nurit snapped shots. By then the laughter split our sides so Max decided to take a fall, Buster Keeton style but by then we were out of laughter.
His attempt to turn us into illegal trespassers succeeded as we mounted the lofty Tel Beit Sha’an having gained access via the rear (more laughter). After a short explanation about the site and a light b/fast we descended the Tel whose stony path soon tumbled Dina who survived with minor scratches. We then rode along the smelly Ma’ayan herod stream, with confluence from some sewage disposal outlets, but which resembled the Aussie bush if you stretch the point. Phewww!!!
We later reached the historic Watch Tower at Givat Hashlosha where Max’s uncle and namesake Max Heller died in the 30’s in defense of his fellow farming settlers from the nearby fledgling kibbutzim. It was a great emotional moment for our Max, his first time at the location! And now came the Coup de Grace. He thought this would really sour our demeanour. A 3kl climb to the Gilboa….no luck max! We loved it. At that point he gave up and sent us down the mountain side and back towards B.S. On the way we stooped at Ein Mudda and licked delicious ice cream by the warm waters of Ma’yan Herod at it’s cleaner section.
After returning to the car park, barely exhausted we drove for a Shakshuka lunch and bade farewell to Max and Nurit…OOOOOOOOOOOPPPPPPPPPPPPPPSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS. I almost forgot the humps along the way. And, sorry Max….you failed… it was a magnificent ride for 9 lucky riders who took the trouble to get to B.S to ride gloriously a total of 32kls. This description is to read while viewing the fotos of the ride which tell the true story.
Night Ride report Tel Aviv to Yaffo 10th December - by Max

Well cold came at last, and 8 riders met. We waited for Alon, so we froze even more. Welcome to both Alon and Abe who joined us for the ride.
Usual stuff, fast forward to max Brenner. then fast forward to the Old Dolphinarium, then down the tyelet to Yafo. Then play with ups, some made it, others didn't. Then decisions. Bat Yam or back. The vote was 3 for and 5 against. So 3 went on to B.Y. and the rest turned back.
We (Dennis, Itai and Max) carried on to the end of Bat Yam by the well designed Tyelet and then into the city and through the town up to Yaffo. then into Herzl and on the corner with Rothchild we sat in the Expresso Bar (where we were initially attacked by a ferocious dog) for a nice evening's meal/snack.
The ride back was urban style, through Tel Aviv, Hashmonaim, up toward Ramat Gan, past the Boursa and all the way up to Bialik (on the border with Bnei Barak).Then left to the stadium, over the bridge and back to the parking lot. (about 40 kms - whose counting).
A great ride. a bit different and a great feeling.
See you next week.
RIDE REPORT Nahal Shilo 5th December - by - Nurit (and Max)

Nahal Shilo
This morning's meet reminded us of the middle of Summer, short sleeves and where oh where is Winter?
Itai waited for us, hot water on the boil and a smile to match. Tea or coffee and the price is still reasonable. We really appreciate Itai's mobile kitchen.
8 riders nearly left Elishema on time and then Itzik phoned (overslept again) and suddenly arrived with his helmet on in the car. (Itzik….at night you're allowed to remove your helmet !!!).
We did the first part of the ride at a good warm up pace to Einat without stopping except to make sure that we all crossed the Yarkon rapids in one piece. ?
The next stage was a quick briefing to the newcomers and then up through Yaar Nachshonim and down to the quarries. Then east into the Nahal Shilo and Gan Leumi "Nof Maccabit". Another slightly longer briefing about single riding and then down the single into Nahal Shilo where we found the one and only tree in the area for a break.

After a well deserved energy snack, it was off again up a very technical and steep climb (rode, pulled and pushed) and sweat pouring off us like in the middle of Summer. Then we saw Migdal Tzedek to our right (west) and rode past it and downhill to a welcome coffee break at Einat, which has become one of the more popular meeting places of riders both of the male and female varieties. From here, batteries replenished the "wheels" found their own way back to the cars.
All in all a great stamina building 45 Km ride. New places and new challenges. A place to revisit and explore – Nahal Shilo.