November 1st, 2017
Ready to Roll!
Jerusalem –> Ashkelon
Today, after months of training and fundraising, we finally officially launched the 2017 Israel Ride. With over 165 riding clad in spandex and new matching jerseys, it was truly a sight unlike one I’ve ever seen. With the reciting of the traveler’s prayer and a blow of the shofar, they were off!
Our riders are divided up into three groups – Shomrim (Guards), Tzofim (Scouts), and Chalutzim (Pioneers). Shomrim ride an average of 30 miles each, and then spend time off their bikes touring local sights with our amazing guides. Tzofim ride an average of 55 miles a day, and lastly Chalutzim average around 75 miles a day. One of the many great things about the Israel Ride is that whether you are a casual rider looking to explore Israel in an exciting new way or an avid cyclist seeking a challenge, there’s an option for you.
On Day 1 of the ride, we left Ramat Rachel and headed west 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 riding at their side. I had the honor of driving around our drone photographer, Michael Eisenberg (@eisenthesky), and can’t wait to share some of the footage with you all! A few hills later, we arrived at lunch for copious amounts of food, baskets of sunscreen, and some gentle stretching.
The Shomrim stopped for a tour at Kibbutz Netiv HaLamed Hei to explore the memorial of the war there. After that, they rode to and learned about Atachlit, an Ethiopian agricultural village. As the Shomrim hopped on and off their bikes, the Tzofim and Chalutzim groups continued to ride after lunch and enjoyed miles of flat – a very welcome reward for the tough start this morning. The first ride day concluded with an absolutely gorgeous trail along the Mediterranean Sea into our egg-shaped hotel in Ashkelon, one of the oldest seaports in the region.
At the end of Day 1, we can already start to see those classic bike tan lines forming. Can’t wait to see what Day 2 will bring us…
Keep calm and ride on,
Program and Logistics Coordinator – Hazon