About the Ride
The Israel Ride is the premier cycling experience in Israel. Enjoy five glorious days of biking, with route options for recreational riders and experienced cyclists. All routes are fully supported with plentiful local food, wonderful crew and mechanics, and great overnight locations. We also offer a non-riding option called Chaverim. The week-long Ride includes orientation, five cycling days, and a day off for Shabbat. Each cycling day of the Israel Ride offers new cycling opportunities and challenges, although the basic flow of each day is the same. There is something for everyone on the Israel Ride – for those new to Israel or seasoned travelers, for those coming on their own, with families, or part of local teams, and for riders of all ages. Learn about the ecological challenges in the region as you explore the Negev desert, and support the work of The Arava Institute for Environmental Studies as well as Hazon. Participants on the Israel Ride are mostly from the United States, as well as England, Canada, Israel, and Australia. There are riders of all ages (including those celebrating a Bar or Bat Mitzvah), religious backgrounds, and cycling abilities.
History and Partners
The Israel Ride is a fundraising event benefiting two innovative organizations – The Arava Institute for Environmental Studies and Hazon. It was founded to show solidarity with Israel at a very difficult time, and to provide new avenues for supporting their critical environmental programs. In May 2003, the first Israel Ride attracted 34 riders and collected over $50,000. In 2005, the partnership expanded to include the Friends of the Arava Institute, and it became the US charity of record. Also in 2005, Jewish National Fund joined as a key marketing partner, establishing a national Team JNF with regional teams across the country.
The Arava Institute for Environmental Studies is the premier environmental teaching and research program in the Middle East, preparing future Arab and Jewish leaders to cooperatively solve the region’s environmental challenges. Through its activities, the Arava Institute encourages, fosters, and supports the advancement of environmental cooperation between Israel and its neighbors. Learn more.
Hazon is the largest faith-based environmental organization in the U.S. and is building a movement that strengthens Jewish life and contributes to a more environmentally sustainable world for all. As the Jewish lab for sustainability, Hazon effects change through immersive experiences and inspires individuals and communities to make specific commitments to change with a particular focus on food systems. Learn more.
The Israel Ride has continued to build upon its passion for connecting people to Israel’s land and culture, fostering long lasting friendships, and advocating for a sustainable, secure, and peaceful Middle East. Today, with over 1,800 alumni riders, the Israel Ride provides participants with a one-of-a-kind experience through its diverse itineraries that traverse the Negev Desert and surrounding areas.
Participants pay a registration fee and commit to a minimum fundraising level. We offer incentives to those who raise above their fundraising minimum. Participants cover their own transportation expenses to fly to and from Israel. The Ride covers all costs in Israel including hotels, food, and ride support. We also provide a series of fundraising tools to all participants, including a personalized donor website (the participant center) and information about both organizations. Learn more.
Do you have questions?
We have answers!
Participants pay a registration fee and commit to a minimum fundraising level. We offer incentives to those who raise above their fundraising minimum. Participants cover their own transportation expenses to fly to and from Israel. The Ride covers all costs in Israel including hotels, food, and ride support.
Learn more about costs & fundraising here. (Including our scholarship and grant opportunities!)
Our Fundraising Tools can help riders meet and exceed their fundraising commitments.
Each of the five riding days begins the same way. Due to the short days in October and November, we maximize sunlight (and beat the afternoon heat) by setting out very early. We start riding between 6:30-7am. Each rider is responsible for setting their own alarm to wake up each morning, so it is a good idea to bring a travel alarm clock. You will bring your luggage from your room to the designated areas in the lobby, so it is essential for you to pack light and in one bag. Laptops and tablets should be padded with clothing in your luggage bag.
Breakfast is served at the hotel before we depart, and bike mechanics and lead stretching are available before our departure. Time is also set aside for morning prayers early in the morning.
We aim to arrive at the hotel each afternoon around 3pm when your room will be ready. You can claim your room keys and gather your luggage from the Israel Ride welcome desk (unless your luggage was already brought to your room) that will be set up in the reception area of each hotel. Guests who arrive before 3 pm may not have rooms available.
Upon arrival, there is time to relax at each hotel (many of which have a pool or bar). All overnight stays have internet access, although there is a fee at the hotels. Dinner is followed by a short route briefing about the route of the following day. Some evenings will feature a presentation on an environmental topic, often by an alum of the Arava Institute who is part of the crew. Optional evening prayer services are offered after the educational program of the evening.
We encourage all riders to head to bed early, and to pack before going to sleep.
The Israel Ride is a fully supported event. We provide a full support-and-gear (SAG) service on the road.
Each of our three riding groups has its own mechanics, pace cars, sweep bus, medical personnel, and crew teams to help with rest stops and riding. Lead riders pace (in front) and sweep (in back) each group as well as provide general bicycle support. Tour guides accompany each group to provide education at rest stops.
Bike mechanics help with flat tires and other minor incidents on the road. Our mechanics carry standard bicycle tubes and supplies, but we encourage riders to bring tubes that match their tires. We also have a few spare bikes in case of a major mechanical issue so you can get back to biking.
Finally, our crew teams run rest stops, cheer riders up tough hills, and take pictures. All the crew (and some lead riders) are alumni of either the Arava Institute or Hazon. We encourage riders to interact with the crew to understand more about their experiences at the Arava Institute and Hazon.
Arava Institute alumni are diverse and talented people. They are students and professionals from Israel, Jordan, Palestine, and around the world who take a break from their lives, just like you, to enjoy the experience of being on the Israel Ride.
Rest Stops and Pit Stops
We have a scheduled rest stop about every 15 miles. Riders must stop at each rest stop so that we can keep the riding groups together. Each rest stop has water, energy drink, and snacks, and a full lunch spread is provided at one mid-day stop. These stops either have natural shade or we provide a shelter. Riders are strongly encouraged to cool down in the shade at each rest stop. For areas without a bathroom, we create a private pop-up bathroom facility. While you rest, our tour guide and environmental educators will teach about the geography, history, landmarks, and environmental issues of the area.
Throughout the Ride, we provide nuts, dried fruit, halva, and energy bars. If you have a particular energy bar brand that you prefer, we suggest bringing some to the Ride.
We have three cycling groups and one non-riding group:
- Shomrim (“guards”) is most fitting for Riders who are comfortable at a 10-12 mph pace in a rolling hill terrain (30-35 miles / day). Shomrim riding is typically until lunch, and then have special bus tours in the afternoon.
- Tzofim (“scouts”) is most fitting for Riders who are comfortable at a 12-15 mph pace in a rolling hill terrain (45-70 miles / day). Tzofim, typically our largest group, goes from hotel to hotel.
- Chalutzim (“pioneers”) is most fitting for Riders who are comfortable at a 15-17 mph pace in a rolling hill terrain (55-90 miles / day), typically with extra hills and distances between overnights.
- Chaverim (“friends”), our non-riding group, have a dedicated tour guide and van and visit sites along the way. Must be able to be physically active.
Each group has its own unique elements, designed to provide riders of all levels a challenge and sense of accomplishment. While separated during the day, on most nights the groups will still stay together at a hotel. However, on some evenings the groups are separated.
Each riding group has its own support team of lead riders, sweep cars, rest stops, and a medical team. There is a rest stop set up approximately every 15-20 miles, including one longer lunch stop. Food (often dried fruit, nuts, granola bars) and energy drinks are provided, plus sunscreen, water, shade, and restrooms. Our cycling tour educators will also teach about the history of the region and local environmental issues at various stops.
Bringing: Participants are encouraged to bring their own bike, for a more familiar and comfortable ride. There is a $110 fee, which covers the transport and storage throughout the ride.
Renting: We have a limited number of Road bikes and Hybrid bikes available to rent for a fee, mainly Specialized or Trek brand. Hybrid bikes are $300. Road bikes are $380. Our bikes are gently used and have good climbing gears. View our rental bike sizing chart.
E-Bikes: NEW FOR 2022! We’re excited to be offering limited e-bike rentals for experienced E-Bike users for our Shomrim group on the Israel Ride. Limited $525 E-Bike rental – requires advanced permission. Please email us.
Contact us for more information.
While the Israel Ride is open to those of all faiths, throughout the week we offer various Jewish prayer options, and come together as a community on Friday night and Saturday to celebrate Shabbat, the Jewish Sabbath. While all of our ritual activities are optional, we strive to strike a balance that allows riders to practice as they see fit but to also experience other facets of Jewish tradition if they choose.
Depending on the composition of the Israel Ride community, we attempt to offer daily prayer both in the early mornings and evenings for those interested. On Sunday morning, we schedule an outdoor prayer service that includes music, explanation, and meditation, while giving those who prefer a traditional service space as well.
All hotels that we stay at throughout the Ride are kosher under the supervision of the Israeli Rabbinate. All food which is provided by the Ride on the road is kosher as well.
We welcome guests to join Riders over our relaxing Shabbat in Mitzpe Ramon, and are encouraged to join for all activities over Shabbat. Guests will be booked in the room with the participant they are visiting. View our Forms Portal to add a guest.
Guests must arrange and provide their own transportation; we do not provide transportation for guests, and guests are not allowed in staff or crew cars due to liability.
Single Room Upgrades
Standard rooms on the Israel Ride is double or triple occupancy. We offer a limited number of single rooms for the full week or for Shabbat.
Chaverim can upgrade to single rooms for the full week at $1500 (pricing tentative), no fundraising component attached.
We offer a variety of additional, short-term programs before and after the Israel Ride each year. See more info here.
We hope you can join us this year or in the future!
Dates for upcoming Israel Rides below:
2022 Israel Ride: Nov 1 – Nov 8
2023 Israel Ride: Oct 24 – 31 (Tentative)
2024 Israel Ride: Nov 5 – 12 (Tentative)
2025 Israel Ride: Oct 28 – Nov 4 (Tentative)