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Itinerary

The Israel Ride is a seven day 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.

PLEASE NOTE THAT ALL ROUTES AND TIMING ARE TENTATIVE.

Select a Day

Choose from the drop-down list above for each day's schedule and route details for the various group. Please note this is a sample itinerary and is subject to change.

Draft Route Map

Riding Groups

On the Israel Ride, there will be three distinct riding groups plus a non-riding group. All routes enjoy full support, stocked rest stops, and expert tour guides and educators. While the main differences are mileage and riding speed, each route offers a unique experience. At the evening briefings, we will review what to expect for the following day.

  • Shomrim ("guards") ride an average of 35 miles a day, 10-12mph, typically until lunch, and then have special bus tours in the afternoon.
  • Tzofim ("scouts") ride an average of 55 miles a day, 13-15mph, from hotel to hotel.
  • Chalutzim ("pioneers") ride an average of 75 miles a day, 16-19mph, with extra hills and distances between overnights.
  • Chaverim ("friends"), our non-riding (but still physically active) group, have a dedicated tour guide and van and visit sites along the way.

Daily Schedules

Mornings

Due to the shorter days in October and November, we maximize sunlight (and beat the afternoon heat) by starting between 6:30-7 am each morning. Breakfast is served at the hotel before we depart, and bike mechanics and organized stretching are available before our departure. Time is also set aside for morning prayers early in the morning.

On the Road

Groups depart together every morning and from each rest stop. While rides do spread out, our police permits require us to keep our groups together.

Each day's route is broken up by rest-stops every 12-15 miles, and a longer lunch stop midday.

Evenings

We aim to arrive at the hotel each afternoon around 3 pm when rooms are ready. We will have an Israel Ride welcome desk in in the reception area of each hotel for check in.

There is time to relax at each hotel before dinner. Dinner is followed by a short briefing for the next day's route. Some evenings will feature a presentation on an environmental topic, often by an alum of the Arava Institute who is part of the crew.

We encourage all riders to head to bed early and to pack before going to sleep.

Pre-Ride day in Jerusalem

We have no official programming on Monday, but encourage riders to come early to Jerusalem. All programming on Monday will be at the Ramada Hotel.

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 Check-in open

Orientation in Jerusalem

Orientation to the Ride will be held on Tuesday in Jerusalem.

The first night of the Ride included with your registration is Tuesday, Nov 5, in Jerusalem. We are split between 3 hotels: Royal Wing Jerusalem, Prima Park, and Jerusalem Gardens, all on Ze’ev Vilnai St. All hotels are with a few minutes walk of each other.

Bike building and the mandatory orientation will be at the Ramada Hotel, located between the other hotels. No one will be rooming at the Ramada.

We will contact you ahead of your arrival in Israel to let you know at which hotel you will be staying. You need to be at the hotel no later than noon, but your room may not be ready until 3 pm. You are responsible for your own transportation to the Jerusalem hotel.

Starting early Tuesday morning, our mechanics will be available to help you assemble your bike or be fitted with a rental bike. There are two bike assembly times: morning and afternoon. We organize test rides throughout the day to make sure everything is in working order.

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.

Regardless of your morning plans, 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
MANDATORY
7:00 Dinner
8:30 – 10:00 Israel Ride Help Desk Open

Jerusalem to Ashkelon

Shomrim

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: All riders at the Harlington Hotel, Ashkelon
Distance: 35 miles, 1900 feet climbing (580 m climbing)

Tzofim

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: All riders at the Harlington Hotel, Ashkelon
Distance: 55 miles, 2200 feet climbing (670 m climbing)

Chalutzim

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: All riders at the Harlington Hotel, Ashkelon
Distance: 66 miles, 3400 feet climbing (1050 m climbing)

Jerusalem Morning Schedule

All riders will start with a bus ride to the outskirts of Jerusalem, where we will have a launch ceremony and begin riding.

6:00 am Optional morning prayers
6:30 Breakfast
7:15 Riders load buses to start locations
8:00 Chaverim tour van departs
8:15 Launch ceremony and roll out!

Ashkelon Evening Schedule

Each riding group will arrive at the hotel separately.

2-3 pm Arrive
5:00 Outdoor pool closes
6:00 Dinner
6:45 Optional evening prayers
7:00 Route briefing

Overview Route Map


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Ashkelon to the Northern Negev

Shomrim

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: Shomrim at the Kibbutz Tze’elim Guest House (in Hebrew)
Distance: 37 miles, 1400 feet climbing (425 m climbing)

Tzofim

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: Tzofim at Kibbutz Mashabei Sadeh Guest House
Distance: 68 miles, 2500 feet climbing (750 m climbing)

Chalutzim

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: Chalutzim in Nitzana
Distance: 92 miles, 3000 feet climbing (900 m climbing)

Ashkelon Morning Schedule

All groups start together as we leave Ashkelon, and begin to ride around the Gaza Strip.

5:30 am Optional morning prayers
5:45 Breakfast
6:30 Riders launch!
~8:00 Chaverim depart

Thursday Evening Schedule

Each riding group is in a separate location, but with similar schedules. Chaverim will stay with one of the riding groups.

~3 pm Arrive
6:00 Dinner
6:45 Optional evening prayers
7:00 Route briefing

Overview Route Map

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Northern Negev to Mitzpe Ramon

Shomrim

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: Mitzpe Ramon: Pundak Ramon and Ramon Suites 
Distance: 34 miles, 1800 feet climbing (550 m climbing)

Tzofim

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: Mitzpe Ramon: Pundak Ramon and Ramon Suites 
Distance: 50 miles, 3800 feet climbing (1150 m climbing)

Chalutzim

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: Mitzpe Ramon: Pundak Ramon and Ramon Suites 
Distance: 60 miles, 5140 feet climbing (1567 m climbing)

Friday Morning Schedule

While each group is at a separate location, everyone has the same basic morning schedule:

6:30 am Breakfast Opens
7:30 Cyclists Roll Out
8:00 Chaverim Depart

Friday Evening Schedule

In Mitzpe Ramon, everyone takes a rest over Shabbat. See the Saturday section for more details on how the Israel Ride observes the Sabbath.

~2 pm Everyone arrives in Mitzpe Ramon
3:50 Walking group to local Orthodox Synagogue
4:17 Candlelighting (on your own)
5:30 Gather as a community to welcome Shabbat
6:00 Reform and Conservative service options
7:30 Friday night dinner

Overview Route Map


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Shabbat in Mitzpe Ramon

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. After services, people connected to Hazon – through participation in events or fellowships – share the Hazon vision in a panel discussion. In the afternoon, the alumni of the Arava Institute discuss their experiences living and learning together.

Shabbat closes with Havdalah, a ceremony which we conduct as the sun sets over Makhtesh Ramon.

Friday Evening Schedule:

~2:00 Everyone arrives in Mitzpe Ramon
4:15 Walking group to local Orthodox Synagogue
4:26 Candlelighting on your own (sunset at 4:48 pm)
5:30 Gather as a community to welcome Shabbat
6:00 Friday night services: Reform and Conservative options
7:30 Friday night dinner

Saturday Morning:

7:30 Breakfast opens (until 10)
8:00 Walk (stroll) to the Makhtesh
9:00 Yoga
9:00 Traditional Egalitarian morning service led by riders
10:00 Introduction to Mitzpe Ramon
11:45 Hazon Panel

Saturday Afternoon / Evening:

12:30 Lunch
3:00 Mincha afternoon services
3:30 Arava Alumni Panel
4:30 Walk to the Makhtesh for Havdallah
6:45 Route Briefing
8:30 Dinner

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

Mitzpe Ramon to Arava Valley

Shomrim

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: Shomrim at Kibbutz Guest Houses: Elifaz
Distance: 32 miles, 1700 feet climbing (525 m climbing)

Tzofim

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: Tzofim at Kibbutz Guest Houses: Yahel, Lotan, and Ketura
Distance: 62 miles, 3000 feet climbing (900 m climbing)

Chalutzim

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: Chalutzim at Kibbutz Guest Houses: Lotan and Ketura
Distance: 89 miles, 3800 feet climbing (1150 m climbing)

Mitzpe Ramon Morning Schedule

All groups will start the day with a 1/2 mile (1 km) ride to the edge of Makhtesh Ramon, where we have an optional morning prayer service and take the group photo before starting the day. Chaverim can get a ride to the location.

5:30 am Breakfast Opens
6:10 Morning prayer group rides out
7:00 Everyone else rides out
Chaverim van departs
7:15 Group photo at Makhtesh edge
7:30 Roll out!

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

Overview Route Map


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Arava Valley to Eilat

Shomrim

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 Sports Club and Isrotel Royal Garden (next door to each other)
Distance: 15 miles 550 feet (150 m) climbing

Tzofim

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 Sports Club and Isrotel Royal Garden (next door to each other)
Distance: 45 miles, 2600 feet climbing (800 m climbing)

Chalutzim

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 Sports Club and Isrotel Royal Garden (next door to each other)
Distance: 55 miles, 4000 feet climbing (1200 m climbing)

On the final day of riding, we will ride to the southern tip of Israel, ending with a stunning descent into the city of Eilat, where we ride through the city to the beach. After a celebration in the Red Sea we head to bike packing and a final dinner.

Morning Schedule

Each riding group starts in a different location. Each of the Sunday night overnight locations has its own morning plan so that everyone can join their preferred group on Monday.

6:00 am Breakfast Opens
6:40 Tzofim bus leaves for start location
7:00 Chalutzim start riding
7:15 Shomrim bus leaves for Timna
7:30 Tzofim start riding
7:30 - 8 Chaverim van picks up at each location

Eilat Afternoon Schedule

All riders will end the day with a triumphant ride into Eilat, with a party on the shore of the Red Sea.

~2 pm Arrive at the beach
3 - 6 Rental bike return and bike dis-assembly
6:30 Dinner
8:00 Closing Ceremony
9:00 Evening party

Daily Route Map


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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.