We understand that the Israel Ride can be a complicated endeavor. Below are quick answers to some questions you may have, with links to further detail on our website.
Life on the Road
The weather varies throughout the Ride. In the morning and evenings, it can be chilly, although it is often quite warm by noon. There is a chance of rain throughout the ride, which can create cold misty days. Layers are the key. Specialty cycling clothes, especially bike shorts, are strongly recommended for riding. Evenings and Shabbat attire is very casual, but should also be layered for warmth when needed.
We have three cycling groups and one non-riding group:
- 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 group, have a dedicated tour guide and van and visit sites along the way.
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.
We start riding early, around 6:30 am, to avoid the afternoon heat. You are responsible for bringing your luggage to the lobby before breakfast, and mechanics are available as well. The riding groups generally arrive around 3 pm to the overnight accommodations. We have an all group briefing each night to review the routes for the next day, and some evenings feature an additional educational presentation. We encourage everyone to get to bed early to make sure you have a full tank of energy for the next day! See our Itinerary page for further detail.
You are responsible to book and pay for your own international flights. Plan to arrive in Israel at the latest by 12 pm /noon on Tuesday, October 23rd. Plan to depart Israel after 12 pm / noon at the earliest on Tuesday, October 30th. Note: Passports must be valid for 6 months after your return flight.
We recommend bringing one piece of luggage and possibly one smaller item, like a backpack. You may bring a laptop, but it must be transported in your regular luggage (padded among your clothes). The Israel Ride provides one jersey to every rider, and we recommend bringing two additional jerseys. You do not need five complete sets of cycling clothing, and will not need much regular clothing. Do not plan on laundry being available. See the recommended Packing List.
If you are bringing your bike, you’ll need to disassemble it, pack it in a box, and fly with it. Airlines generally allow bikes to fly as a piece of luggage. There is often a set charge for flying with your bike. Ask the airline about flying with bikes and frequent flyer discounts. Do not ship your bike ahead of time! See more information here.
The Israel Ride contracts with a storage company located near Ben Gurion International airport. Before the Ride, we will send out the contact information for the company. Upon landing in Israel, call the storage facility and they will pick up your bike after you are through customs. Our crew will then drive all of the bikes to our starting hotel in Jerusalem. We will store your bike box during the Ride. At the end of the Ride in Eilat, our mechanics will help disassemble and pack your bike, and our crew will then drive all of the bikes to the storage company, and you will be able to call the company to pick up your bike when you arrive at Ben Gurion airport for your departing international flight.
The mandatory Israel Ride orientation is held on Tuesday, October 23rd in the late afternoon. You need to be at the hotel no later than 12 pm / noon, but your room may not be ready until 3 pm. There are private taxis and group taxis (sherut) from Ben Gurion Airport to Jerusalem. Bike assembly, mechanic assistance, test rides, and optional tours all take place before orientation on Tuesday.
Included for each participant is a domestic flight from Eilat back north to the Tel Aviv area at the end of the Israel Ride. We can also book you on a bus if desired. Please note on your flight form when you know your itinerary so we can properly book your transportation.
Participants must carry personal health insurance to join the Israel Ride and are responsible for all personal medical costs incurred during the Israel Ride. For most US-based health insurance policies, in the case of a medical incident overseas, you must cover the costs out of pocket and file a claim for reimbursement upon your return home. Your personal health insurance may not cover all of your medical expenses that are incurred overseas. We strongly recommend carrying supplemental insurance, of which there are many plans available depending on where you live and your current coverage. You can research different plans online on such sites as https://www.travelinsurance.com/.
All participants must have a working cell phone in Israel for security purposes. The Israel Ride is proud to partner with Unlimited Israel to offer all participants a discount towards a SIM card, cell phone rental, MiFi device and more. See the “General Information” form on your Forms Portal.
The day-by-day breakdown of the hotels and guest houses we will be staying in is as follows (note, some sites are in Hebrew):
- Pre-Ride and Tuesday in Jerusalem – Ramat Rachel Hotel
- Wednesday – Harlington Hotel, Ashkelon (previously the Holiday Inn)
- Thursday – Northern Negev: Tze’elim, Mashabei Sadeh, and Nitzana Educational Community
- Friday and Saturday (Shabbat) – Mitzpe Ramon: Pundak Ramon and Ramon Suites
- Sunday – Arava Valley Kibbutzes: Yahel, Lotan, Ketura, and Elifaz
- Monday and Post-Ride in Eilat – Isrotel Sports Club and Isrotel Lagoona
Participants are encouraged to bring their own bike to Israel, for a more familiar and comfortable ride. There is a $95 fee if you bring your own bike. If you choose to rent a bike, you can rent either a hybrid or road bike. The hybrid bikes are Specialized or Trek brand, with a good climbing gear and upright handlebars, cost $225 to rent for the week. The road bikes are also Specialized or Trek and cost $350. There are a limited number of bikes, which will be rented out on a first-come, first-serve basis. Please bring your own helmets. See more info here.
Guests can join for each night of the Ride, for a nightly charge that includes dinner and breakfast. On Sunday night, when the riders are in the Arava Valley, the guests stay in Eilat due to limited space. Guests are also invited for a week-long touring program, called “chaverim” (Hebrew for “friends”). See more information here.
You are welcome to come early to Israel or extend your stay after the Ride. You can book extra nights at the hotel in Jerusalem or extra nights in the hotel in Eilat through the Forms Portal.
Tuesday night is the first night of the Ride covered by your registration, at the Ramat Rachel Hotel, at the south-east corner of Jerusalem. All participants will stay at Ramat Rachel on Tuesday but you can book earlier nights at the hotel if you like using Forms Portal.
The last night covered by the Ride is Monday, October 29th. Feel free to stay in Eilat afterward at our hotel by booking a room through the Forms Portal.
You are welcome to upgrade your hotel stays to a single room for most nights of the Ride, for an additional charge each night.