On our first day of riding we gathered just outside of Jerusalem for our annual launch ceremony. With over 160 riding in support of peace and sustainability, it was truly a sight to behold. Traveling in three different riding groups, riders made their way west of the city to journey through the Jerusalem Forest. As the group passed modern farms, Roman ruins, and biblical landscapes, they learned about the history of the land from the tour guides who travel with the riders throughout their journey.

After lunch the Shomrim toured the Beit Gurvin cave system. This touring option, one of five offered throughout the trip, explored a vast underground network of store rooms, olive presses, burial chambers, and residential homes from Roman times.

As the Shomrim explored this ancient city structure, the Tzofim and Chalutzim groups continued to ride after lunch, passing the seperation wall as they made their way to our hotel. As I spoke with riders this evening it was incredible to hear the ways in which the Israel Ride accommodates the various interests and riding ambitions of each rider. Despite being the second largest Israel Ride to date, riders are able to participate in one of the three riding groups, which ride at different speeds and cover different terrain. Named the Shomrim (Guards), Tzophim (Scouts), and Chalutzim (Pioneers), these groups ride on average 30, 55, and 75 miles per day. These riding options mean that the Israel Ride is accessible to a wide range of riders with different riding experiences and interests.

Check back tomorrow to read highlights from the day and view pictures from the road.

Farewell for now!

Sam Schauer
Israel Ride Communications Manager