RIDE REPORT -by - Dennis - Jan. 31st - Bet-Keshet singles

Bet Keshet singles 31 Jan
Well it was only half the singles.

Did I tell you about the mud? Ever since man invented (or perhaps discovered) the wheel, mud has proved a worthy opponent. This has been going on for a very long time, and when man invented the bicycle (which has two wheels) mud really started having fun. Mud finds so many places in a bicycle into which it can insert its oozy self and so bring movement to a very definite stop.

And that is just what happened today. After paying their respects at the Ben-Zvi hut (originally from Rehavia, but moved here as a memorial), six hardy Spokesfolk set off on a beautiful day, with sun shining in a blue sky and a cool refreshing breeze, looking forward to 20km of fast and furious fun along the singles and trails of the Bet-Keshet forest. At some point dark clouds started to appear, but the bookies rated the odds of rain as low, so on we pressed. Lovely zigzagging tracks, up and down, with flowers of many colors, across open spaces and through the woods, even cows and sheep.

Then a light rain began to fall. That was all it took for our comfortably soft trail to turn to mud; mud of the most vicious, viscous kind. Progress in any direction became almost impossible, neither forwards nor backwards, as mud, sticks and stones jammed wheels, gears and chains. Bikes could not be pushed, nor could they be carried as the mud weighed more than the bike. Much cleaning was undertaken, over and over again. Slowly we progressed and eventually reached a gravel path; no more singles today - we had done about half the route.

Time for a feed before heading back along gravel paths and a real road. But the weather had not finished with us and the serious rain started, the kind that makes you wish there were wipers on your goggles. But finally we made it home to the starting point and it was time for a feast in an establishment with a nice view of Tel Megiddo and good shakshuka. Then home for some heavy-duty cleaning. Overall a great day - but next time it will be sans mud.
RIDE REPORT - 24th January 09 Kochav Yair -by - Max

Kochav Yair
It was a misty morning when a large group of 31 riders met in the Zur Yigal school grounds for the 5 Hills Challenge. Welcome to all the new riders (who did not know what they were getting into). The ride, organised by Itai and his brothers (in law), took us through the fields and forests of Zur Yigal, Kochav Yair and Kibbutz Eyal. Although the views were very limited, we still managed to appreciate the area, the plentiful cyclemens and anemones and the many short but sweet singles prepared for us by the locals.
Amazingly at every junction there were signs indicating SPOKES and which direction. Amazingly we only managed to loose one rider and this (very embarassingly) Oren's father. Amazingly with only a couple of falls and 1 puncture we managed to return to the cars with the same number of riders that we started with. Amazingly we manged to ride up 5 hills and come down them.
Near the end of the ride, in Kibbutz Eyal, we visited the antique car museum of Uri Sahar and I personally was tremendously impressed with the love and labour that he obviously puts into these cars. I have added a link to his site on our links page.
At the same time as we visited the car museum, Ahouvi (Itai's wife and her 2 sisters who happen to be the wives of Eitan and Oren) were there to greet us and we managed to feast ourselves on the delicious cakes they had prepared for us. Many many culinary thanks to you all.
All in all a great morning and a special well done to Itai and familia who organised this Ride for us and who took the trouble to sign the whole route.
RIDE REPORT -by - Max - Adolam and Burgin singles - 17 January 09

Adolam & Borgin
Spokes in all colours, in all sizes and in all ages. We met, 17 of us including 3 of the better variety, at 08.00 ready for morning tea, brewed by the Phillistine. The parking was full of others (non spokers !) also brewing. At 08.10 we started our ride, I promised that out of 25 kms the only uphill would be the first 21 k. Actually I lied…the first 3 kms were uphill and we all managed it very well and from here on we rode on smooth singles through the undulating country side first on the Adolam single and then on the Burgin single. The singles are by courtesy of KKL and we all thank them for their hard work and for blending these singles so well into the magnificent scenery.
Welcome to Mashka who brought the average age down a few good notches, welcome to Ronnie who managed to catch up with us after a slight delay and welcome to Kobi and Shimon. Join us again.
The singles were really great to ride on, some of them down and some up but all easily rideable.
We stopped for lunch in Etri, the first of the 2 archaeological sites excavated by the Israel Antiquities Authority, dating from the Second Temple period and then carried on to Horvat Burgin. Both sites are well worth visiting. The whole area is covered in caves some storage some burial and some hidden. We managed to see about 5 of these and some of us tried to get lost in one of them. After our visit here we got back on our bikes and joined the paved path through the valley and back to the cars.
There is so much to see here and I think we managed to get a good feel of an area which is still relatively sparsely visited. A must for bikers.
This report would not be complete without a counting of the "FALLs' .
Dinah broke the SPOKES record for 3 falls in one day. Her excuses consisted of, elbows in the wrong place, rocks moving by themselves and dangerous bikes in the way……
I managed to miss a turning although my bike did not and we parted company quite amicably.
Avi tumbled over rocks but got up unscathed...just a little out of breath…
Tzvika had a near miss when a big rock attacked him.
Here and there a couple of scratches which allowed our resident medic "the Phillistine" to use his plastering experience.
All in all a great ride and we look forward to seeing next week.
Please make sure you tell us if you wish to participate (by using the COMMENTS form).
RIDE REPORT -by - Gabi L (with translation by the absent one!)

Little Switzerland
9 riders and one rider"ess", navigated by Nurit in her role as "sweeper" and led by Itai as ???, we were taken through the amazing Israeli landscapes of the Carmel, (beautiful views which do not look anything like Switzerland or indeed "small").
We began the ride along the paved paths parallel to the road by the University and along the sides of the Carmel range. Although being a Haifa area resident in the past but not knowing the bike paths and expecting the worst, we were led through flowing singles and along smooth paths to a great look out over the Sea and over Nahal Celach.
In addition to the views and the enjoyable ride, we were able to appreciate the flowering of the cyclamids (although one of the riders concluded that the lack of the pink colour was a symbol of sickness). I don't remember if the diagnoser was blond or black !!!!
We continued and soon saw that there were no free meals and the price this time was paid by Tzvika who galloped down the steep descent like a new born youth until ....boom......and allowed both Nurit and Itai to show off their medicinial skills when they covered a large part of his body in plaster.
The dessert was served by Nurit and Itai. Nurit by bringing us to a wonderful lookout over Emek Zvulon and Itai by serving us with tea and cakes. (Are you being served..???)
To conclude the enjoyable ride.... many thanks to Nurit and Itai.
To Tzvika... get well soon from all your scratches and scrapes.
RIDE REPORT - Park Ayalon (Canada) 3 Jan 09 -by - Dennis

Park Ayalon (Canada)
A new year with new challenges.
It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than to cycle more than a hundred meters in Park Canada without having to climb or descend. So while we didn't see any camels, we did see quite a few cows, and we did climb some steep (some might say very steep) rocky slopes, and we did descend speedily along narrow, winding, rocky paths.
The route partly followed the well-marked "K21" path. This can be traversed in either direction and we chose to go anticlockwise (sorry about this long word). But since the route misses out on the exciting bits of the park, we were treated to several singles of varying levels of difficulty. And while the total distance was only about 20km, we managed to climb over 350m, and were rewarded with a lovely 200m downhill near the end of the trip.

The vigorous physical effort brought us to magnificent panoramic views of the southern coastal plain from on high, and to the ruins that remain from the long history associated with the area. There is enough to see here to fill many trips, but we had time to explore Beit Hakshatot (House of the Arches), to ride beside the ancient water works of the city of Emmaus in Emek Hamayanot (Valley of the Springs), and to discover a little pool with several very large goldfish (now there's a mystery).

A beautiful sunny day, and good company as usual.

Max adds:
Well done Benny who managed the whole ride without his front derailleur, congrats to Dennis who made the jump to "clipless" and welcome to 3 new riders who joined us for this morning's ride. Breakfast supplied by Itai (the "Phillistine") and Tzvika (the "Cake") was warmly appreciated by all. What hills ??