Twelve of us met outside Kibbutz Horshim, at the entrance to the nature reserve. We set off along a rocky road which climbed gently through the forest. The group had covered about five kilometers, when Haim announced that he was feeling queasy. We took a path which closed a circle back to the cars, and waited for Haim to feel better before letting him drive home. David then ushered us off again, before we succumbed to the temptation of sneaking home and back to sleep ourselves.
We continued up an extremely steep hill until we reached two adjacent lookout points at the summit. The view was so spectacular that it made the climb worth the while. One lookout had a placard with the names of the nearby towns, all of which are in the West Bank. Yael said that there had been a fire where we were standing the day before, and signs of it were still visible around us.
We took advantage of a picnic area on the hilltop, for light refreshment and a lively discussion about the events unfolding in the government. Nearby were the remains of an old Arab house, and some small caves. It was then time for some hair-raising downhills followed by an even more hair-raising single, which most of us tackled by foot. Arriving back at the cars, we decided to continue onto one last short single nearby, which was very enjoyable. We then reached the cars for the last time, with some people driving onto By The Way for coffee.
It was an 8-shaped ride of 14 kilometers, but because of the hills we still got an excellent work out. We passed hikers, joggers, picnickers and cyclists, all enjoying the scenery. There were no injuries, although Dina almost had a close encounter with a cactus (luckily managing to veer away).
I was surprised at how vast, beautiful, and totally different this region is, literally fifteen minutes from Ra'anana. It was an amazing ride and I hope we head that way again soon.
It seems that David had the tune "Mr. Sandman, bring me a dream..." floating around in his head as he chose the route for the ride. Mr. Sandman lived up to his name and not the request - so there were no dreams, but TONS of sand.
We were a group of approximately 16 riding off into the early morning heat. I guess there are still people who are undaunted by the elements and the threat of 30+ temperatures in the morning.
Although we rode in the same basic Ga'ash, Sheffayim region where we often ride, the route was quite different with a lot of it being in the opposite direction to the one we usually take. It is interesting, but when you ride the same route in the opposite direction, it seems completely different.
We went past lots and lots of avocado trees with little buds all over beckoning to me.... "Merrill, please wait a few months and we will be ready for you...". I just added that to satisfy all you jealous people who do not know how to climb trees like Megan, Michal and myself.
We made a short stop by the cemetery to wait for Anna, who was running a little late, due to a plastic bottle recycling mishap (at least that is what I think she said) and then continued onward, choosing the sandiest route possible to make sure we would reach maximum pulse rates and learn how to gear down in a split second.
The ride was pleasant, albeit warm, and we landed up in Arcaffe in Ra'anana for refreshments. Here we pulled out our telephones to show all of our cute pictures of our 4 legged children, canine and feline, whilst imbibing of the java nectars.
No great stories - nobody had any collosal falls, there was no mud to make us look funny and there was not even one puncture along the way (even though I was VERY tempted to pull a thorn out of David's tire).
All in all, a nice ride, good company and home before it got REALLY hot!
In the true spirit and culture of the predominantly English mother tongue group of riders, influenced somewhat by over 100 man years of collectively living in Israel, we started pedaling on this 07:30am ride at precisely 07:48.
I have no idea how many riders joined the group; the ride photos will tell in due course. But certainly, this ride will be known as the ride of 3 or 4 groups, not just one. Probably because of the large number of riders, all riding at their own pace, meant that at our most extreme, we seemed to stretch out all the way from Metula to Eilat.
It's not that I wrote 3 or 4 groups because I can't count. It's all a matter of definition. When the group seemed to split in different directions, our great leader, David, was left on his own. My point being, when poor old David was by himself, phoning anyone who would reveal their coordinates, was he, by himself, still a group?
Oh, I suppose I'd better to write a little about cycling, too. It really was a glorious day, with the slightest chill when we started soon being replaced by a wish for that chill. The weather, whilst really warming up, was glorious, and we need to enjoy it before summer arrives.
It's a while since I've ridden with my Cyclenix friends, and one noticeable change, in addition to some new faces (for me), was several new bikes. It seems there have been quite a number of upgrades, with Ilan nearly unrecognizable 3 inches higher, on a black and yellow machine, rather than his 26" red Specialized, and Ted boasting the deal of the year, on a carbon bike so light, a breeze might have turned him 90 degrees.
I clocked up 48km, but I'd also ridden from Herzelia to the normal start point in Ranaana, so I guess the ride itself was about 10km less.
Really varied surfaces, from a little tarmac, to gravel, brief singles, some uphills and great downhills (uphills are never great!), to sand, with the latter always reminding me to have less air in my tyres for the next ride, yet I never actually quite get round to it.
Today, was also the day of the walking wounded. The most dramatic new member of this elite club is Ilan, who whilst "chasing" me down a hill rather fast, misjudged a small roundabout, didn't quite get round, clipped the pavement, and quite worryingly, went flying into the center of the road, at a time I could see a car approaching the roundabout from the other side. This really, really wasn't a good time for him to be motionless. He made 2 seconds seem like an hour, but soon semi recovered to get off the road. By "rather fast", well, Ilan's phone boasted 55kpm, so there's some extra respect for walking away from that mess. (My phone recorded 53kph, but given he fell and hurt himself, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.). I'm sure part of the reason for the fall was Ilan not yet being used to his new bike and 29" wheels. Without wanting to get into the conversation of it seems that size does matter, he seemed very positive that he's got the first fall out of the way, and this afternoon will probably read the new bike's manual about why and how to use the brakes and when and how to turn the handlebars.
One incident itself wasn't enough to label the ride the day of the walking wounded. It needed arrival at Landver, Ranaana, to meet up with John (big plaster on his head; I didn't ask), and Michal (broken collar bone, "operation or no operation, that is the question").
As to where we actually rode, dunno, but see the provided map! I was just following our great leader. Talking of which, when I happened to start to lead (or more precisely, overtook our leader, and continued cycling aimlessly), that's when the problems started, in that soon we found ourselves split up into 3 or 4 groups.
Merrill and a few more of the ladies were noticeable by their absence, today, apparently as a result of being tired from a great ride yesterday, in aid of cancer. Still, riding through the orchards Merrill normally raids just wasn't the same without her, and several of us took a minute or so to discuss if the trees were empty of avocados today because they were out of season, or because Merrill got up early this morning. (I might join the walking wounded group as a result of this comment !)
A few people either left during the ride, or are still out there somewhere. Anyway, the table at Landver wouldn't have been big enough for too many more, so either way, worked out very well in the end.
To finish on a rare note of seriousness, we shared 4 hours of riding, talking, laughing and trying to put Ilan back together again. A really enjoyable morning, and see you all soon!
Participants: 13 which included Eddie (a pleasant surprise after a long absence), and Joseph (a welcome "now and again" rider with the Group). Good to see you both. Also a big welcome to 2 squeaky clean and shiny newcomers to Cyclenix - Ted's Giant and Ilan's Bergamont. Great bikes and their performance today often under somewhat testing conditions served only to reinforce the wise choices of their owners!
Route: A slight variation of the route we did just over a year ago. Unfortunately my Google Earth and Amud Anan maps don't show all possible obstacles so in plotting the changes I didn't bargain for our having to crawl through and/or under gates!! Thanks Joseph for your input on the route. Click HERE to see the GPS data.
Weather: Pleasantly warm and sunny, getting warmer as the ride progressed, but hardly an issue thanks to a low humidity factor.
Bottom Line: A ride in the Horshan area is always enjoyable with some challenges on the way, just enough to remind us why we ride off-road, and on mountain bikes!!! Great company (Cyclenix's greatest asset!) and happily no human or mechanical breakdowns. Most of us stopped off after the ride to refuel at Landwer Binyamina.
Post Script: Today's ride was suggested to me by Michal (was it in anticipation of so many trees to climb??!!). Unfortunately a nasty biking accident a few days earlier put her out of action.
Michal, we wish you a speedy (figuratively speaking of course) and full recovery, back on your bikes, and not the least writing our reports!!
Participants: 15, but reduced to 13 en route when Barbara needed to "fast forward" to be on time for another commitment later that morning, with John as escort to ensure that she didn't loose her way home (from what I subsequently heard, things didn't turn out quite that way!).
Route: From Ranana through Givat Chen, across the bridge over Road 4 into Neve Hadar (Hod HaSharon) and down to Nahal Yarkon, then following the river westwards, at Kiryat Atidim northwards to the Tennis Center, over the footbridge into Ramat HaSharon, through Herzliya and back to Ranana - approximately 34 km.
Riding Conditions: Despite the 2 days of rain earlier in the week, riding conditions, particularly along the Yarkon, were (surprisingly for me) excellent. We did encounter a few small patches of mud which for the most part we were able to detour around.
Weather: Ideal throughout
Bottom Line: An enjoyable ride with, as usual, great company.
At the start of the ride, and with the best intention [insert smiley!], John led us to the Ben Gurion / Road 531 interchange from where, as he thought, we could fast track up to Givat Chen. But alas there were commando-style obstacles which can best be described, in the spirit of the upcoming Pesach Seder, as follows:
Even if we had found a crossing to the track, it would not have been enough
Even if we had made it down a steep bank to a storm-water channel below, it would not have been enough
Even if we had made it across the channel, it would not have been enough
Even if we had made it up the steep bank on the other side, it would not have been enough
Even if we had made it over a 2 meter high fence to get to the "promised" track, it would all have been just too much!!!
CHAG PESACH SAMEACH TO ALL
The weather forecasts all reported a heat wave from hell, which could explain the small turn up for today's ride.
Only 10 Cyclenixers were crazy enough to take on the pre Pessach weather. Luckily for us it seems that the satellites and predictions were all bonkers and not us!
The humidity that was supposed to be 35% but felt like the 80% we have in august. The temperature felt more like 26, instead of 36. The sun was hiding behind heavy clouds and we even had an extremely light drizzle.
So with a bit of a wet feeling we peddled happily and easily along the Sharon area.
Our wise leader decided that we should try and dodge the front winds on our way back so we rode up Weizmann and out of Raanana heading north towards Yakum.
This brought on a backwards ride. A route that we all are quite used to was done anti clockwise which spiced it up a bit.
Ingride and I enjoyed going speeding down the road surrounding the cemetery while Rafi, who passed us was singing along "anything you can do I can do better..."
His attempts to antagonise us were brushed off with the conversation on age and getting the reference. I proved them wrong explaining that you don't necessarily need to be old but do need to hang with old people.
And then there are times where the youngsters should learn to keep their mouths shut!
A cynical question from me made David stop the group all to let me climb a steep hill to time my efforts. Full gear ahead I pushed my way up and conquered the hill to come speeding down it. He tried to get me to improve his false timing but instead we all continued.
The single before Yakum was full of thorns, but all ten of us managed to get through it without any injuries.
From Yakum we crossed the bridge over road number 2, where we encountered a bit of cycling traffic going up.
All good chickens succeeded in crossing the road. The question as always is why? Well in this case it was literally to get to the other side. Heading south alongside the road passing Gaash, Shfayim and around Rishpon we rode happily back to Raanana for our breakfast stop at Landwer. So at the end the weather was in our favour and the ride was a great one.
We tracked 31 kilometres of easy-going, fun quality time.
Twenty of us met at 7.30am at the entrance to Elishema. Welcome to a new rider Gidon. Hope you enjoyed the ride and that we will see more of you in the future.
The weather was HOT! It looks as though summer is here with a vengeance and soon we will probably need to starty our rides earlier to beat the heat!
The Route: From Elishema South, following Nahal Kane down to the Yarkon River then East along the Northern side of the river crossing over to the opposite side at Abu Rabah. Then East under Road 40 then Road 5. From there we continued East and South (partly along Shvil Israel). We passed the Baptist Village, the Yarkon Nation Park, the source of the Yarkon and then further South passed Park Afek. A little further South we crossed under Road 483 and then over Highway 6 to Einat, where we made our "breakfast" stop at the gas station situate on the side of Road 444. Perhaps because of the hot weather only 7 of us made the "breakfast" stop , the rest having decided to head back to our cars at Elishema. The total distance cycled was 33kms.
We had our fair share of mud along the way (see the photographs) and at one poing had to cross a somewhat very muddy stream. Our brave leader David went first and found himself ankle deep in thick black mud! So, the rest of us decided that a bridge needed to be built!! Avraham started piling vegetation across the obstacle and a few others added stones and flat rocks and "hey presto" Cyclenix built its first pedestrian "bridge" and the remaining rider made a "clean" crossing!
Along the route we passed quite a few historical sites. Explanations of the various sites were photographed and make very interesting reading (enlarge the relevant photos and read these).
So, that's another enjoyable ride under our belts.
"Come Fairies; take me out of this dull world, for I would ride with you upon the wind and dance upon the mountains like a flame!" William Butler Yeats8 courageous riders were ready to take on the dodgy weather. An additional two got cold feet from seeing it rain on the way to Beit Shemesh and turned around to join the more promising Sharon area.
The one that left us breathless in every meaning possible.
20 brave Cyclenixers met up at the beginning of the Givat Hamoreh single. Though the starting time was supposed to have been at 8:00, due to delays we started pedalling at 8:30.
Lately I have been helping David in finding interesting away rides and because of summer rapidly approaching and the wild flowers disappearing from the scene we made a choice to do the Givat Hamoreh single while it is still at its finest.
I took on the task of leading the group. Being the only one who has done it before and knowing that it is marked for dummies and you can't go wrong, I assumed it would all be just fine.
We set off, all in a single line into the single. It started off very pretty and fairly level. Everyone was mesmerized with the beauty of the area. Quite fast, the level plain turned into an ascent. A constant one of 13 km's! That's when the difference in ability really made leading a group a bit of a challenge. It is quite hard leading 19 riders when you can't keep track of them because they stretch out way far behind you. The moment the climb got the slower riders, even slower and the faster ones got a bit frustrated and I told them to go ahead and just follow the yellow markings. From this point my job wasn't as much leading as it was herding. Ride ahead and every so often making sure that the remaining followers are still with you. I believe Ted being the sweep had a harder job.
The climb was continuous and so were the complaints/questions about when it would end.
My response was it can only get better.
The only thing that distracted everyone from it was the view. But then we got word from a few of our strays...
Alex had fallen and injured his arm. Apparently he had a deep cut. While we got the phone call about it, two young doctors happened to be around to hear about it and were sent to try and find him down the path. But not before Ingride tried to fix me up with one of them. Talk about Jewish mother syndrome!
We stopped quite often whether it was to catch our breath or to have it taken away once again by the scenery. The wild flowers around us, the green and brown fields carpeting the valley way down below, the Hermon and Tavor mountains majestically standing in the back of it all and the perfect weather accompanying us the entire way of our journey.
We continued on, climbing all the way to the top of the mountain to finally reach the part where from here it is all downhill.
The pace changed drastically! Going down the mountain was an adrenalin rush for quite a few of us. At a couple parts some even had pale faces of fear. Just before the end we found Raffi loyally staying with Haim who was seriously injured when he fell. The two bachelor doctors happened to find them before us and diagnosed him with a dislocated shoulder.
Talia and Meir were sent with his car keys back to the cars but did not know that they can cut at this point and didn't have to continue on the single for another 3 km's. Eventually Uri made it to us with his car to fetch Haim.
After 26 km's for some and 29 km's for others and an elevation gain of 635 meters, we all rode back with the two bachelor doctors to our cars. The battle was not easy and we must mention our fallen members:
התבקשתי לכתוב כמה מילים על עצמי...
ילדות בכפר בני ציון, להורים משק ובו לולי תרנגולות ופרדס.
כבר מגיל צעיר עסקתי בפעילות גופנית. שחיתי, שיחקתי כדור סל ותמיד לקחתי חלק בנבחרות בתי הספר באתלטיקה קלה.
הצטרפתי לתנועת הנוער "מכבי צעיר" ואני חייבת לציין שיש לי זיכרונות מאוד טובים מתקופה זו. הפעולות, השתייכות ללהקת מחול, ההופעות בטקסים שהיו חלק בלתי נפרד מהוואי הכפר והטיולים הרבים בארץ שחזקו את האהבה הגדולה שלי לארץ ולנופיה.
תיכון ?באוסטרובסקי רעננה, בצבא ? צפנית בחיל הקשר וסמינר למורים לחנ"ג בבאר שבע.
עד לפני שנתיים עבדתי כמורה לחנ"ג ובמקביל היו לי מס' חוגים להתעמלות בריאותית ? "התעמלות בונה עצם". מאז יציאתי לגמלאות מבית הספר אני ממשיכה עם החוגים. לאחרונה אני מאמנת אישית בבתי לקוחות, מצלמת הרבה ונהנית לגלות את כישורי בתחום האומנותי... פסול בקרמיקה.
שני ילדי הבוגרים נשואים וחיים ברעננה ואני עוזרת להם בגידול חמשת הנכדים. הבן הצעיר ? מוזיקאי , חיי ועובד בברוקלין ? ניו יורק. לקבוצת הרכיבה הצטרפתי לפני חמש שנים לערך...
ההתחלה היתה מאוד קשה. היה מתסכל להגיע תמיד אחרונה. בהדרגה התחזקתי והיום אני אפילו נהנית מהרכיבה.
הרכיבה תורמת לי בכמה מישורים: הרכיבה בטבע, הפעילות הגופנית, הצילום וההשתייכות לקבוצת אנשים מדהימה שנהנית כמוני מרכיבה רגועה בטבע.
אשתקד יצאנו 15 רוכבים למסע רכיבה מוינה לבודפשט. השנה מתכוונים לצאת למסע רכיבה ב"יער השחור".
חוויה מיוחדת, מומלצת למי שעדיין לא חווה רכיבה בחו"ל.
If you have any questions or want to get in touch for any reason, feel free to get in touch with David or John: