2023 Israel Ride Itinerary

The Israel Ride is a week-long experience. We begin with an orientation day for check-in, building your bike, and a practice ride. The adventure continues with 5 days of riding, with a day of rest (Shabbat) in the middle.

*The itinerary below reflects the 2023 Israel Ride. Details for the 2024 ride will be updated closer to the ride.

Planning for 2024 is in process

Safety is always our first priority in planning and executing the Israel Ride. That is reflected in our choice of routes, selection of staff and lead riders, and the practice of being accompanied by security and emergency medical support throughout the ride. Our tentative route plan for the 2024 Israel Ride currently includes riding and rest stops south of Ashkelon in or near communities bordering Gaza. These communities have been part of the ride since 2003.

That said, several of the border communities on our route were very hard hit by the Hamas attacks on October 7, 2023. Over the course of the year, we will assess the safety and ability of our 2024 route riding in the Gaza Envelope area.. As always, these decisions include discussions with the IDF and local police. In 2014, for example, due to safety concerns several months before the ride, we switched to an inland route that bypassed Ashkelon and the border communities.

If we do ride through the Gaza envelope, it would be with the intent of hearing from local residents and learning more of what the future holds for that important region.

Safety will always be our priority on the Israel Ride. As the 2024 Israel Ride approaches, we hope and pray that it will be safe for us to return to a route that we know and love. If we don’t think we can do that safely, we will adjust the route accordingly.



Please Note: All itineraries are subject to change.

  • Rider Itinerary: Click on the orange tabs above to see daily schedules, itineraries and routes from 2023


Riding Groups

The Israel Ride has 3 riding and 1 non-riding group.
Each route offers different mileage, riding speeds, and unique experiences. All routes enjoy full support, stocked rest stops, and expert tour guides and educators.

  • SHOMRIM ("Guards") Most fitting for Riders who are comfortable at a 10-12 mph pace in a rolling hill terrain (30-35 miles / day). Shomrim typically ride till lunch, with afternoon bus tours.
  • TZOFIM ("Scouts") 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") Most fitting for Riders who are comfortable at a 15-17 mph pace in a rolling hill terrain (55-90 miles / day). Chalutzim have extra hills and distances between overnights.
  • CHAVERIM ("Friends") Our non-riding group.
    Chaverim have a dedicated tour guide and visit sites along the way.

Mon Oct 28, 2024

Pre-Ride day in Jerusalem

* The first night of the Ride included with your registration is Tuesday, Oct 24, in Jerusalem. *

We have no official programming on Monday, but encourage riders to come early to Jerusalem.

Additional nights at the hotel are at the rider's cost.

Monday Pre-Ride Schedule

3:00 pm Hotel rooms available for check in
4 – 6 pm Israel Ride check-in and help desk open in the lobby
6 - 8 pm Dinner at respective hotels for anyone staying early
8:30 – 10:30 pm Israel Ride Check-in is open

Tues Oct 29, 2024

Orientation in Jerusalem

The first night of the Ride included with your registration is Tuesday, Oct 24, in Jerusalem.
You must be at the hotel no later than noon, but your room may not be ready until 3 pm. You are responsible for your own transport to the Jerusalem hotel.

Our mechanics will be available to help assemble bikes or be fitted for a rental bike. There are two bike assembly times: morning and afternoon.

There are optional tours in the morning for those opting to get their bike ready in the afternoon. Chaverim are welcome to join any of the tours or spend the day exploring on their own until orientation. All participants are required to be at the orientation starting at 4:15 pm.


Tuesday Schedule

Morning Bike Assembly and Afternoon Tour

8:00 am – Noon Bike Assembly
9:00 am – Noon Israel Ride Check-In
Rental Bike Pick-Up
10:00 am Test Rides Available
Noon Lunch
1:00 – 3:00 pm Afternoon Tours

Morning Tours and Afternoon Bike Assembly

8:00 am – Noon Morning Tours
Noon Lunch
1:00 – 4:00 pm Israel Ride Check In
Bike Assembly
Rental Bike Pick-Up
Test Rides Available

Afternoon Activities for Everyone

3:00 pm Women Rider Gathering
4:15 Israel Ride Welcome & Orientation
7:00 Dinner
8:30 – 10:00 Israel Ride Help Desk Open

Wed Oct 30, 2024

Jerusalem to Ashkelon


Shomrim will take a bus to the outskirts of Jerusalem, and start riding on the same basic route as the Tzofim. After lunch Shomrim will continue riding to Beit Guvrin to take a tour of the Roman-era antiquities and underground cave system. Afterwards, they will be bused to the hotel in Ashkelon.

Accommodation: TBD
Distance: 35 miles, 1900 feet climbing (580 m climbing)


Tzofim will be bused to the outskirts of Jerusalem, for the launch ceremony. The morning route will start with a long downhill from the Jerusalem hills, passing a few small communities in the area with one short climb. Lunch will be at Luzit. After lunch, the route heads west towards the Mediterranean coast, ending with a ride through the port city of Ashkelon.

Accommodation: TBD
Distance: 55 miles, 2200 feet climbing (670 m climbing)


Chalutzim will be bused to the edge of Jerusalem, for the launch ceremony at the village of Ein Karem. They then ride towards the other groups' starting point. Lunch will be at Luzit with the other groups, before heading to Ashkelon.

Accommodation: TBD
Distance: 66 miles, 3400 feet climbing (1050 m climbing)

Thurs Oct 31, 2024

Ashkelon to the Northern Negev


Shomrim will continue passing various agricultural kibbutzim near the Gaza Strip, with two rest stops to learn about the geopolitics of the region. After lunch, they will visit the "Salad Trail" to learn about desert agriculture. They are then bused to Kibbutz Tze'elim for the night.

Accommodation: TBD
Distance: 37 miles, 1400 feet climbing (425 m climbing)


Tzofim start out with all of the groups riding near the Gaza Strip and will have lunch at Urim. They then continue riding southeast, starting to climb towards the interior of the country, as the terrain transitions to desert. They will end their ride at Kibbutz Mashabei Sadeh, in the northern fringe of the desert, staying overnight with the Chaverim.

Accommodation: TBD
Distance: 68 miles, 2500 feet climbing (750 m climbing)


Chalutzim will follow the same morning route as the other groups, but will have lunch later in the day at a desert oasis. After lunch they have a few extra climbs at the end of the day heading towards Nitzana near the Egyptian Border.

Accommodation: TBD
Distance: 92 miles, 3000 feet climbing (900 m climbing)

Fri Nov 1, 2024

Northern Negev to the Dead Sea


Shomrim ride through the northern Negev, stopping for lunch at Sde Boker with a visit to Ben Gurion’s grave. Afterwards, the group will explore Ein Avdat, a spectacular narrow canyon in the Negev. At the opening of the canyon the water of numerous springs descends into two deep pools in a series of waterfalls.

Accommodation: TBD
Distance: 34 miles, 1800 feet climbing (550 m climbing)


Tzofim begin in Mashabei Sadeh, and will head east up some hills early in the morning for a first stop in Yerucham. Afterwards, the route heads south for lunch at Sde Boker and a visit to Ben Gurion’s grave. Tzofim will continue
riding south towards Mitzpe Ramon. The final miles are generally uphill, with a particularly steep climb just before our final rest stop, near the Nafha maximum security prison.

Accommodation: TBD
Distance: 50 miles, 3800 feet climbing (1150 m climbing)


Chalutzim ride along the Egyptian border for the morning and then head east to end up in Mitzpe Ramon, a town in the heart of the Negev perched atop Makhtesh Ramon, a giant erosion crater.

Accommodation: TBD
Distance: 60 miles, 5140 feet climbing (1567 m climbing)

2022 Overview Route Map (click to enlarge in a new window)

Sat Nov 2, 2024

Shabbat at the Dead Sea

Why I'd Prefer to Forget Visiting the Dead Sea, Jordan (A Tale of Misadventure)

After three days of riding, the biking is interrupted by a much-needed day of rest for Shabbat, the Jewish Sabbath. Shabbat is an integral part of the Israel Ride. During the day, all programming is optional, but we offer communal prayer options, discussions, hikes, and yoga, plus opportunities to learn about Hazon and the Arava Institute.

Many participants reunite with friends or family who are welcome to join as guests for the weekend. Guests can sign up through our online Forms Portal.

Shabbat begins at sundown on Friday, which occurs around 4:45 pm. We come together to mark the transition from the work week to the day of rest with candle lighting. There are prayer options led by Riders, organized by The Israel Ride, and other options may be available depending on the makeup of the ride community. Following services, we ask that all riders join us for a festive Shabbat dinner, which includes traditional songs and blessings over wine and bread.

On Saturday morning we host an intimate Shabbat service, led by many of the riders. There will also be options to explore the area, practice yoga, and more. In the afternoon, the alumni of the Arava Institute discuss their experiences living and learning together.

Shabbat closes with Havdalah, a ceremony that we conduct as the sun sets over the Dead Sea.

I really needed the day off this year to allow my body a day to rest and recover from the demands of the first 3 days of riding. Even though I do keep Shabbat, that sort of day of rest that is truly for both body and soul is never experienced on a regular basis.

— 2011 Rider

Sun Nov 3, 2024

Mitzpe Ramon to Arava Valley


Shomrim start with a stunning descent into Makhtesh Ramon, and then climb out the other side. After crossing a desert plateau, they cross Wadi Faran, one of the largest valleys crossing the Negev Desert, and have a short steep climb out before their final stop for the day. After lunch with the Tzofim at Shizafon, they will take a bus to Kibbutz Ketura for the afternoon activities at the Arava Institute.

Accommodation: TBD
Distance: 32 miles, 1700 feet climbing (525 m climbing)


Tzofim will descend into Makhtesh Ramon and spend most of their day on the main north-south road in the center of the Negev desert. After climbing out of the Makhtesh, they cross the desert plateau, climb out of the Faran valley, and then have lunch at Shizafon with the Shomrim. After a final descent, an afternoon of activities awaits at Kibbutz Ketura and the Arava Institute.

Accommodation: TBD
Distance: 62 miles, 3000 feet climbing (900 m climbing)


Chalutzim will follow the Tzofim route south, but will ride faster and have lunch further south. They will add an out-and-back spur that goes to Shacharut, a small desert community overlooking the Arava Valley. They retrace their route a little, and end the day with the descent into the valley itself, joining the other riders at Kibbutz Ketura and the Arava Institute.

Accommodation: TBD
Distance: 89 miles, 3800 feet climbing (1150 m climbing)

Kibbutz Ketura Afternoon Schedule

All participants will end the day at Kibbutz Ketura, home of the Arava Institute, where we have an afternoon of tours and activities. Half the group will be staying at nearby kibbutzim - we have options to shower at Ketura and enjoy the afternoon programming, or shuttles available to the other guest houses, returning in time for the evening briefing.

~2 pm Shomrim arrive (by bus)
~3:00 All other groups arrive at Ketura (by bike)
3:45 Various tours of Ketura and Arava Institute
6:00 Meet and greet with current students
7:00 Evening briefing
8:00 Dinner

Mon Nov 4, 2024

Arava Valley to Eilat


The Shomrim will start the day on a bus tour of Timna, a geological and archaeological park, site of the oldest copper mines in the world (from the time of King Solomon) and windswept sandstorm rock formations. They will join the rest of the group for lunch, at mile 30 of the Tzofim chart below, and then ride the final 17 miles into Eilat.

Accommodation: Isrotel Sport Club, Isrotel Lagoona, and Isrotel King Solomon 
Distance: 15 miles 550 feet (150 m) climbing


Tzofim start the day by being bussed up out of the Arava Valley, and begin riding where they turned off the cental desert road the day before. Most of the route follows the Egyptian border, which can be clearly seen from the road. After lunch, there is one final climb before descending to Eilat, where we will ride as a group to the beach.

Accommodation: Isrotel Sport Club, Isrotel Lagoona, and Isrotel King Solomon 
Distance: 45 miles, 2600 feet climbing (800 m climbing)


Chalutzim will start with a 4 mile climb out of the Arava valley, and then continue riding through the desert to lunch. After lunch, there is one final climb before descending into Eilat, where we will ride as a group to the beach.

Accommodation: Isrotel Sport Club, Isrotel Lagoona, and Isrotel King Solomon 
Distance: 55 miles, 4000 feet climbing (1200 m climbing)

Tues Nov 5, 2024

Post-Ride Travel Day

Our final day of the Ride is a travel day for most participants. Ahead of the Ride the Israel Ride will help book your travel back north, either a bus to Jerusalem or a flight to Tel Aviv.

You can book your domestic travel for Tuesday-Thursday using your online Forms Portal.

Tuesday Post-Ride Schedule

6 am Hotel pick up for Jordan trips (pack out breakfast available)
7 - 9 am Breakfast available
9 am Hotel pick up for Arava Institute tour (see more about our Pre- and Post- Ride Tours)
11 am Room Check out
For those leaving later that day, you can store your luggage at the hotel while you explore Eilat or relax at the hotel pool.

The Israel Ride staff is available through 10am to assist with any post-Ride needs.