Information about flying with your bicycle can be found on the Bikes page.
The Israel Ride provides one jersey to every rider, which we ask that you wear on Wednesday (the first day) and Sunday. In addition, we recommend bringing two or three other jerseys. Many riders wash their bicycle clothing at some point on the ride (a hotel sink is usually fine as bike clothes typically dry overnight, and there is also laundry available at the Shabbat hotel). Therefore, you do not need five complete sets of cycling clothing.
Mornings can be chilly (although it typically warms up) and there is always a possibility of rain throughout the Ride. Be sure to have layers that you can wear while cycling.
Bicycle clothing includes riding jerseys and biking shorts. A bike jersey offers some features you won’t find in a tee-shirt. The main benefits of a bike jersey include back pockets, a long front zipper for temperature control, a long back and shorter front to fit well while riding and a tight fit to reduce wind drag. Biking jerseys are also made of technical material that will wick away sweat. Cotton shirts are not recommended for cycling. The main purpose of bike shorts is to provide comfort during long bike rides. Bike shorts are designed specifically for the needs of a cyclist. These needs include padding in the right places, strategically placed seams, tight-fitting, flexible materials like Lycra and spandex that reduce air resistance and allow a full range of motion on the bike, and the right amount of breathability and wind block.
You must bring your own helmet, even if you are renting a bike, to ensure proper comfort and fit. You will not be allowed to ride if you do not have a helmet, and we do not provide spares.
Many riders overestimate how much regular clothing is needed. Remember that you only wear regular clothing for a few hours each night from when we get to the hotel in the late afternoon until after dinner. Evenings and Shabbat are casual, although layers are recommended since it can get chilly in the desert at night.
Please refer to this sample Packing List for a full list of items needed or recommended on the Israel Ride.
We recommend that each rider bring only one piece of luggage, plus a day bag (see below). While our crew transports everyone’s luggage between hotels, some afternoons you will need to bring your luggage to your room and some mornings return it to the lobby. A few overnights are at motel-style guest houses which can be physically spread out. At least one hotel is only accessible by stairs and bellhops are hard to get for our early departures, so it is essential for you to pack lightly and in one bag.
Please remember that our crew move over 250 pieces of luggage each day, so we ask that you keep your bags to under 50lbs/23kg (the standard requirements for flying). We recommend bringing bags with wheels. Luggage is transported in a large truck which is packed tightly. Remember that we are traveling through the desert so suitcases can get dirty.
Bicycle boxes (both cardboard and hard cases) are transported straight from the start of the ride to the end, where they are stored until the end of the Ride. If you have a piece of luggage you do not need until Eilat, you can also store that on our truck for the entire week.
Porters and Moving Luggage
Some of our accommodations have porters who will move your luggage to your room for you in the afternoon, but in most cases please be prepared to either wheel your luggage for a few minutes, and/or bring your luggage up at least one flight of stairs.
Riders can place a “day bag” on the bus which acts as the sweep vehicle for their group. This bag is only accessible at breakfast and lunch, and is a good place to keep extra energy bars, emergency needs, and other items that you might want on the road. Riders can place extra clothes or shoes in their day bag for the touring portion of the day (if you are Shomrim).
Day bags are placed under the bus, and often are moved by other riders or by the Israel Ride staff if other items need to be placed under the bus. Please note that since we are traveling through the desert day bags can often get dirty. We recommend using a backpack as your day bag, as you may need to ride with it for very short distances.
Laptops and Tablets
If you wish to bring a laptop or tablet it will need to be packed within your luggage to transport each day. We have found that keeping your laptop well protected (wrapped in extra clothes) in your suitcase is safer than having it in a small bag in the truck or under our bus on the road all day.
Cell Phones and Internet
The Israel Ride is proud to partner with Unlimited Israel this year, offering a discount for all participants. Contact the Israel Ride staff for details on this offer.
While there is internet access each overnight, some hotels charge for usage. Many cell phone companies offer daily or monthly international plans as well, please contact your phone provider for more information.
Participants must carry personal health insurance to join the Israel Ride. Note: Medicare does not cover outside the US.
Participants 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 that every participant carry supplemental insurance for travelers. This type of insurance has three parts:
- Health/accident coverage: These policies pay for doctor and hospital bills, and sometimes dental care, and medications.
- Medical evacuation: These can be expensive. In addition to the coverage, you will have help in making the arrangements.
- Trip cancellation/interruption: This protects you financially if you have to cancel or interrupt your trip.
We suggest travelinsurance.com for more options.