Desert Singletrack: Israel Part 2

Feb 17, 2014 at 19:35
by Sarah Leishman  
This is part 2 of Mike Hopkins and Sarah Leishman's adventure to Israel in November 2013. You can brush up on the first two days of their trip in Part 1 HERE.

Ancient hand carved Reservoirs.

We had already had our minds blown. We rode the Sugar Trail from Jerusalem to Jericho on the first day on our bikes and finished the day off with a few Gold Stars (local beer - not bad!) at a gas station outside of Jericho. We then headed along the highway to the Dead Sea for the night. When we arrived at our ridiculously pimp hotel (aptly named "Herod's") on the Dead Sea, it was dark out and our whole crew was savagely exhausted. The heat, the distance and the jet lag had taken a toll on us all and we were told that we would be leaving the Dead Sea in the morning at 8am. We'd have to check out the sea "on our own" and I basically decided I was going to skip it altogether...until I woke up the next morning.

Hopkins opts for an early morning float in the Dead Sea. Ilan Sachim photo.
  Hopkins opts for an early morning float in the Dead Sea. Ilan Sachim photo.

Mike and I had been exchanging the simple philosophy since we arrived in Jerusalem three days prior of "you might as well: when are you going to be here next?" (aka: YOLO). When we found ourselves at the Western (Wailing) Wall on our first day, I used that mantra to talk him into entering the men's side of the Wall to touch it - because that's what people travel the world to do, in very simple terms. Our tourist, non-denominational eyes found the place really intimidating upon our arrival. He did it and came back to say "Ok I went up and touched it. Did you?" I hadn't, even after bullying Mike into it. I got up to the Wall on the super-crowded women's side that day, saw people in tears, praying and speaking in hushed tones and I backed away quickly. I didn't get it. I didn't want to be rude and I was afraid of accidentally offending someone (classic Canadian - sorry for being so awesome). I missed my chance to do something every traveler does when they get to the Western Wall in Jerusalem - after all, when was I going to be there next? This was my one and only 'miss' while in Israel, however, and I forced myself, my cut up leg from a rookie crash the day prior and my tired body out of bed at 6:30 a.m. to go float in the Dead Sea. My leg stung like hell, but as I flailed and floated around in the lowest place on the planet, I took the time to appreciate how much the experience ruled. I was almost sad to leave before I realized what was ahead of us.

Marc Gasch photo
  Israel skies. Marc Gasch photo

Our bus left a little late in the morning (the Canadians were subtly urged to quit f*ckin' around so we could all be "on time" for the rest of the trip) and headed southwest and up and into the Negev Desert. We passed by what looked like some amazing descents towards the Dead Sea but wouldn't get a chance to taste those goods. We were headed to Sde Boker and the Geofun Desert Cycling Centre.

  Briefing at the Geofun Desert Cycling Centre. Alon Ron photo.

Geofun is a bike shop-meets-tour outfit in the town of Sde Boker. It's in the Negev Desert and has a passionate community of shredders who have worked hard to develop a network of trails for folks to ride on. The terrain we encountered in both days of riding in the area was a huge change from hard-charging descents of the Sugar Trail and had plenty of rolling, reasonable climbs and dirt that I would think could put Chile's recently famed #antigrip dirt to shame. What was rad about the zone was the availability of cheap accommodation in the form of re-purposed kibbutz's, super accessible rental bikes (Geofun had a full range of hardtails to rent and our super fit guides seemed more than happy - and fast as hell - on hardtail 29ers) and awesome guides. It was also super cool for Mike and I to find a Norco dealer in a country as far away as Israel. These guys had it all.

Halukim Trail Marker
  The trails of Sde Boker are really well marked. Here's a Halukim Trail marker. This 25 km route was made up of undulating single track that passed over terrain with a lot of history. Mike Hopkins photo.

Adventure biking at it s finest.
  The Adventure Biking Begins. Hopkins photo

  Mike having a good o'l time in the Dersert. Photo Johan Hjord

Some technical sections could be found on the Shayarot Cliffs trails. What you don t see is another no-fall-zone to Sarah s left here. Alon Ron photo.
  Some pretty technical sections could be found on the trails. What you don't see is another no-fall-zone to Sarah's left here. Alon Ron photo.

The Big Tree Pit Stop.
   Random, super old tree in the middle of the desert. This is a landmark along the Halukim trail and an awesome spot for eating dates and drinking a beer. Hopkins photo

The more we traveled through the trail network in the Negev, the more it became clear to us the importance that has been made by the riders of Israel in promoting and developing the sport of mountain biking. Our guide Nimi Cohen spoke endlessly about the events he's involved in building in Israel and he worked hard to connect us with as many of the finest trails the country had to offer as he could. He stressed the need for us to feel united with the "desert experience" over the course of our trip and as we graduated from the 5 star hotels of Jerusalem and the Dead Sea into more rustic kibbutz's, he knew the connection couldn't be avoided. Nimi planned for our trip to take us "deeper and deeper into the desert" and he hoped that by the time our journey came to an end, the desert would feel like a natural place for us.

Those trail markers sure come in handy in the middle of the Israeli desert. Marc Gasch photo
  Those trail markers on the Argan-Arcov trails. Marc Gasch photo

Sarah traces the horizon.
  Sarah Traces the Horizon. Hopkins photo

The caves along the Halukim and Argan trails peaked our interest in a big way. These were water wells built by hand by Bedouins or farmers over the course of the last few hundred years. Flash floods make them pretty handy tools. Mike Hopkins photo.
  The caves along the Halukim and Argan trails peaked our interest in a big way. These were water wells built by hand by Bedouins and farmers over the course of the last few hundred years. Flash floods make them pretty handy tools. Mike Hopkins photo.

On our second day in Sde Boker, we were taken to visit a Bedouin camp along the Argan Trail. The Halukim Trail the day before had been awesome, but we were ready for a bit of a change of pace. The time we spent being served tea, taking selfies with the kids in the family and connecting without language proved to be an experience Mike and I will never, ever forget.

This Women invited us into her home for tea and bread. The Amazing people you meet along the way.
  We were hosted by this amazing woman and her three kids along the Argan-Arcov singletrack. Mike Hopkins photo.

The Tea is brewed over open coals.
   Tea is Brewed over open Coals. Hopkins photo

Perched on Pillows we let the tea brew.
   Perched on Pillows, we enjoyed tea, homemade olive oil and bread. Hopkins photo

Halimaa was all smiles.
  Despite the significant language barrier, meeting Halimaa was one of the absolute highlights of our trip. Mike Hopkins photo.

 Biking is our religion Nimi Cohen s mantra rang through again here. Bare feet huge bike don t care. Mike Hopkins photo.
  "Biking is our religion," Nimi Cohen's mantra rang through again here. Bare feet, huge bike, don't care. Mike Hopkins photo.

It always blows my mind that anywhere travel everyone seems to know how to ride a bike. The Universal Tool.
  Turns out the wheel size debate isn't in play at this Bedouin camp. Mike Hopkins photo.

Dusk and Dust
   Hopkins photo.

We moved farther south after our visit to Sde Boker to the town of Mitzpe Ramon to ride the trails around the Ramon Crater. This is where we also had a change of guides and met the 6'5" tall Yaron Deri of Samar Bike and the Samar Kibbutz, where we would be staying for the remainder of our trip. Mitzpe Ramon is a small town about 85km south of Beer Sheva in the Negev and has become a hotspot for travellers looking for adventure in Israel. We found fully equipped hotels that were friendly to bikers (like the IBike Bikers Hotel right in town). The Ramon Crater is the largest of three craters in the Negev Desert and is only one of 7 geologically formed craters in the world. It is also home to a section of the Israel Bike Trail and some amazing riding, including heavy duty pedalling and fun little descents.

Yaron Deri gives us the lowdown on the 34 kilometer ride we are about to ride around the Ramon Crater. Alon Ron photo.
  Yaron Deri gives us the lowdown on the 34 kilometer section of the Israel Bike Trail we were about to ride around the Ramon Crater. Alon Ron photo.

   Yaron Deri leading Sarah up the crater climb. Photo Johan Hjord

Leishman on the edge.
  Sarah samples the goods on the Ramon Crater. Hopkins photo

Leishman flirts with the valley.
  Sarah Flirts with the Valley. Hopkins photo

The Environment of the Ramon Crater is in a league of it s own.
  The Ramon Crater is in a league of its own. Hopkins photo

On the edge. Marc Gasch photo
  On the edge. Marc Gasch photo

Once we were fully moved into the Samar Kibbutz with our crew on our final days of the trip, we properly had time to bond over beers, huge amounts of the best food we've eaten and even some old bike movies. Nimi's vision of making a bunch of riders from around the world one with the southern deserts of Israel was becoming a reality and it became clear to us how easy it would be for any adventurous shredder to find the exact same riding experience we were having.

Are we outside Inside Samar Kibbutz was the perfect post-ride zone to hang out in. Marc Gasch photo
  Are we outside? Inside? Samar Kibbutz was the perfect post-ride zone to hang out in. Marc Gasch photo

Mike Hopkins photo
  Mike Hopkins photo

Eating outside means you can have mean coals to cook your food. Mike Hopkins Photo
  Eating outside means you can have mean coals to cook your food. Mike Hopkins photo

Our final two days were spent making our way toward Israel's southern-most city, Eilat. The super-ambitious schedule we had involved a ride down trails on the Shayarot Cliffs (about 35km) a visit to Timna Park and a shred down another section of the Israel Bike Trail (meant to be an easy up, this section of epic trail turned out to be one of our favourite descents).

   Hopkins photo

Sarah in the fold of the Timna Trail
   Sarah in the fold of the Timna Trail. Hopkins photo

  The singletrack in Timna Park was built meticulously by hand. No machines have been here - all of the tools to construct these berms and materials to make the build stick were carted in by foot and hand. Left hander made out of dust, ash and rock. Hopkins photo

Sarah pinned.
  High speed singletrack. Mike Hopkins photo.

Sarah throws shapes on the Shayarot Cliffs. Hopkins photo.
  Sarah throws shapes on the Shayarot Cliffs. Hopkins photo.

Smashing corners. It s a universal appreciation. Marc Gasch photo
  Smashing corners. It's a universal appreciation. Marc Gasch photo

The moment you realize you re riding your bike down a hand-built epic of a trail in Israel. Marc Gasch photo
  That moment you realize you're riding your bike down a hand-built epic of a trail in Israel. Marc Gasch photo

Making our way back to camp.
  Hopkins photo.

We had only a few hours before Mike and I had to fly out of Eilat to get us home to Canada, and we spent that time at the Dolphin Reef Spa. To call our Israel experience 'surreal' would be inadequate; Mike and I were like people who had never seen the outside world before on this adventure - everything was different and the further we travelled south in Israel, the more we fell in love with a nation few in the world truly understand (including us). If our efforts to tell this story can accomplish one thing, it's to encourage every mountain biker in the world regardless of race, religion or political views to put Israel on his/her bucket list. Israel, despite its politics and the noise we all hear in the media, holds an incredible culture of mountain bikers and mountain biking terrain. Mike and I can safely say that this was one of the most amazing trips we've ever been on in our lives.

The A Team soaking in it.
   What a way to end a day. Hopkins photo.

Here are some links to check out if you're interested in learning about Israel's rich mountain biking scene (we barely scratched the surface):

• Our organizing guide and local legend, Nimi Cohen (the man actually should have his own entire article). He runs Mountain Goat Tours and is a logistical genius. He also runs the Israel Desert Challenge.
Yoram Hen - our guide from the Sugar Trail and his tour operation
The Geofun Cycling Centre in Sde Boker
Samar Bike and the amazing Yaron Deri
Epic Israel - Israel's take on the Cape Epic

Thanks to Jonathan Duncan and Norco Bicycles for connecting us with this incredible journey and to the rest of our sponsors for their support:

Mike Hopkins:
Norco Bicycles, Marzocchi, Smith Optics, Shimano, TEVA, The North Face, Camelbak, Kenda Tires, SixSixOne, Gravity, Joystick and Dissent Labs.

Sarah Leishman:
Norco Bicycles, SRAM, RockShox, Bell Helmets, Smith Optics, ONE Industries, Camelbak, Kenda Tires, Dissent Labs, Tag Cycling Whistler and Fanatyk Co Whistler.


122 Comments

  • + 44
 Amazing writing, epic photos, incredible story.
You now have a goal for next time - The rugged, rocky, green north for gravity and enduro.
Thank you and come again Smile
  • - 109
flag MidgetSaw (Feb 18, 2014 at 4:38) (Below Threshold)
 Dude some of these photos are of the most boring landscape ever. you drunk?
  • + 38
 Pictures full of trails that go on and on into the distance are boring? Maybe to dirt jumpers and bmx'ers.
  • + 17
 Kids; some opinions are better left unexpressed. (See: "Midget" above)
  • + 12
 boring landscape? I dont think that midget saw properly
  • + 9
 I like desert landscapes. I like these pics.
  • + 14
 Please forgive Mr.Midget, he was born with the beautiful blind disease.
  • - 55
flag MidgetSaw (Feb 18, 2014 at 10:05) (Below Threshold)
 tbf im not into apartheid states, plus i like trees
  • + 14
 Sir, you sound like a little chav, also you need to get educated on what Apartheid was.
  • + 4
 Right now I don't have time to read all this. But man, those pictures are beautiful and rich!
  • - 19
flag MidgetSaw (Feb 19, 2014 at 2:44) (Below Threshold)
 taking into consideration that apartheid means racial segregation then yeah mxer50 im totally wrong,.. you call me a chav i'll call you an ignorant racist thats 18 doesnt know his arse from his mouth and the only education i need is in the best way to put a boot up your ass,
  • - 9
flag nouser (Feb 19, 2014 at 3:05) (Below Threshold)
 Speaking of education MXer 125, do a little research into Nelson Mandela's views on Palestine... But yeah, beautiful scenery nonetheless
  • + 9
 Its you two that need to do the research into Israel, racial segregation isn't what's happening here. I work with as many Arabic guys as Israelis. That wall exists because bombs on buses and in cafés where becoming too common.

Shit happened which shouldn't have to many people both Arabic and Jewish in the 20 years that followed the Second World War. The fact is if Israel put it's weapons down Israel would cease to exist but if the Palestinians but there weapons down there wouldn't be a war.

I believe in a two state solution but killing to get this won't make it happen.
  • - 10
flag nouser (Feb 19, 2014 at 11:36) (Below Threshold)
 Your argument is compelling Daviebin, but it doesn't correlate to the scenes of vast number of heavily armed Israeli soldiers, with tanks, bulldozers etc, compared with the scattered guerillas of Palestine with their homemade weapons, not to mention Israel's non disclosure of their nuclear arsenal (and imprisonment of Mordechai Anunu, one of their nuclear scientists).

On top of that, not only is there continued encroachment into Palestinian territories by Zionist settlers, along with blockades and embargoes, but more worryingly, manipulation of the water supply to Palestinian areas.

www.worldbulletin.net/world/129083/israel-using-thirst-as-a-weapon-of-war-on-palestinians

www.ibtimes.com/world-water-wars-west-bank-water-just-another-conflict-issue-israelis-palestinians-1340783

This is tantamount to slow burn ethnic cleansing, cloaked in propaganda



Don't get me started on Urban Moving Systems mysterious involvement in 9/11
  • + 5
 Oi you are supposed to be suspended. Razz
  • - 10
flag nouser (Feb 19, 2014 at 12:02) (Below Threshold)
 Like a blues brother, I'm on a mission from god Wink
  • + 8
 Home made weapons, home made as in Russian and Irainian? Scenes of vast amounts of Israeli soldiers with tanks and bulldozers......... The IDF are an army??? you want them to drive around in camper vans wearing tutus.

Propaganda Ha where???....I don't read the news or watch Israeli tv, I live here and this is what's going on.

Mate you need to get off the internet and go see the world, it's nothing like what is on the news and it's nothing like what is wrote on conspirisy theory web sites.
  • + 4
 If Israel was trying to ethnically cleanse Palestinians then why do they get paid the exact same wages as Jewish people working at a Jewish company?

I live on a kibbutz that Arabic family's live on, how in gods name is that racial segregation?

I'm not saying what's happening here is good or right let me just point that out, but it's really really fk all like what you think and sound like wish was happening here.
  • - 9
flag nouser (Feb 19, 2014 at 13:49) (Below Threshold)
 I've seen plenty of the world and met plenty of folk...

Don't get me wrong, I've met and been friends with a good few Israelis through the years, in several parts of the world; of course, opinions vary, but since most have done military service, I've heard plenty of tales.

Regardless of wages, the checkpoints, the queuing, the continued encroachment of Palestinian land, doesn't make for the ideals promoted in a kibbutz.

And please don't pull out the conspiracy theory argument... there are so many accounts from across the spectrum that echo the same basic truths; it's not like the Aid Flotilla was theatre now is it?
  • + 6
 @midgetsaw as a mountain biker pictures of epic trails are everything BUT boring. if you believe the photographer is drunk and the photographs look boring you really don't have any business being on pinkbike to comment your bullsh!t
  • - 15
flag MidgetSaw (Feb 19, 2014 at 18:43) (Below Threshold)
 i'll do what i want where i want when i want now fuck off
  • + 2
 no way bitch i'm here to stay lol lol
  • - 4
flag Alpha-Cinematography (Feb 19, 2014 at 20:37) (Below Threshold)
 UHM, YOU MEAN *PALESTINE*
  • + 4
 Midgetchav has a temper.
  • + 3
 Guys be kind to Midget he's too short to see so he cant see the pictures very well! hahahaha
  • - 7
flag MidgetSaw (Feb 20, 2014 at 15:12) (Below Threshold)
 99 neg props aint to bad for 100% trolling, 99 inbred jews
  • + 2
 Stay under the bridge little man.
  • + 2
 midgets troll what they don't understand.
  • - 5
flag MidgetSaw (Feb 20, 2014 at 17:51) (Below Threshold)
 why is it when i read MXers posts i got this childs voice in my head. little baby he is.
  • + 4
 Midgets don't have the right to call other people little. Are you sat on your daddy's shoulders or something?
  • + 2
 I cant believe this discussion is still going! the little midget that could!
  • - 5
flag MidgetSaw (Feb 20, 2014 at 19:47) (Below Threshold)
 www.youtube.com/watch?v=pfxJ3q62mbI see that women at 1;37? racial segregation right there, oh and lets not forget that little wall, and talking about walls whats with that wailing wall u lot are f*cking ill in the heads and jewish women why do they shave there heads and wear other womans hair?.. MENTLE!!! , whats with bacon... i fking love that shit why no liky? and lets not forget them twisted rabis that curcumstize the child and then suck the penis because of why ??? i dont know please get off this planet you f*cking FREAKS!! i'll tear u a new one
  • + 3
 Turns out midgetsaw is really Midgetdick and is angry at the world, don't worry pal your mum loves you.
  • + 2
 Hope he doesn't make another account and do this all over again.
  • + 3
 awww he's pissed, that's adorable, lol lol (seems that last comment hit a nerve)
  • + 24
 I am a past citizen in Israel, and I can say that I've almost never been to that part of the country. Most of Israel is green and european, and not desert, like portrayed in this article. So wonderful article, but they missed the real essence of the country - in the rivers and forests of the north. And of course many bike trails, built by bikers for bikers!
  • + 1
 ouch to Mike's shin
  • + 15
 those trails looks so much like our trails in egypt! same rock formation and dirt.
  • + 12
 So you are welcome to visit and I can promise you that we will make you feel at home Smile
  • + 7
 I would love come and ride in Egypt

It's a place that I plan to visit for a long time but been postpone it
till it get more safe and calm Smile
  • + 10
 Great writing and photos. And yes, we visit the desert mostly at winter time for obvious reasons. Our daily rides are at green forests in enduro trails. Great that you loved it and hope that this post will not turn into politics in 1...2...3 :-)
  • + 13
 I wonder what it feels like to ride a dry trail? Sigh.
  • + 5
 Drifty and dusty Wink !
  • + 4
 Ok then. I'll be off to ride some more sketchy wet rocks then *sniff*

Nah, very lucky to be where I am among the Cumbrian hills. Looks lovely out there though!
  • + 3
 Is just as slippery as wet, and even worst since you have that confidence on the fact that dried is supposed to have better grip, but loose dirt is a bitch. To me the perfect trail is when it rained hr s before you ride it, the dirt is compacted, but not wet neither dry.
  • + 8
 I swam in the Dead Sea yesterday. It was amazing. My skin feels like a baby's ass today. It's great.
Great article and exposure for this unique land. I encourage all to visit this place, it may give you new insights and perspectives on life..Im super thankful to be here Smile Im here for 3 months, hit me up to ride!
  • + 10
 Great article! I'm in the mood for a falafel.
  • + 8
 I'm fed up with those pictures of dead poor children riding 10000$ bikes!!!
  • + 2
 they are not poor. they chose that life style. they usualy have a really sweet car right next to their shed, its kinda funny. Big Grin
  • + 7
 So dry, so dusty, so sunny and warm!! Great article and pictures. Israel is now on my 'to ride' list!
  • + 3
 Awesome writing, and amazing pictures!

One link you are missing from tge list of recommended resources is for the HLC - Holy Land Challenge: holylandmtbchallenge.com

HLC is the first self-supported mountain bikepacking race from the north to the south of Israel across the historical landscapes of the Holy Land. Totaling 1,300Km and 20,000m vertical climb, it follows the sprint of the Tour Divide, but terrain as you have experienced is harder, more technical...

Start date is Thursday the 17th of April 2014.

Ride on!
  • - 24
flag nouser (Feb 18, 2014 at 5:06) (Below Threshold)
 There is some amazing pictures, but what's with all that barbed wire? Is it to keep the 'Holy' in?
  • - 24
flag nouser (Feb 18, 2014 at 6:28) (Below Threshold)
  • - 6
flag PoMiT (Feb 18, 2014 at 6:52) (Below Threshold)
 Palestine doesn't really exist, you know..
  • - 16
flag nouser (Feb 18, 2014 at 6:57) (Below Threshold)
 Does that barbed wire really exist?
  • - 8
flag PoMiT (Feb 18, 2014 at 7:01) (Below Threshold)
 Oh yeah, the barbed wire realy exist. This means there is a Palestinian state?
  • - 10
flag nouser (Feb 18, 2014 at 7:12) (Below Threshold)
 Why is the barbed wire there?
  • + 1
 Oh hahaha its a funny question

Perhaps because of this?
www.youtube.com/watch?v=rt498uwtinQ
  • - 9
flag nouser (Feb 18, 2014 at 7:38) (Below Threshold)
 What makes people so desperate that they commit such acts of violence?
  • + 8
 @ PoMiT
don't feed the troll dude , this guy is just waiting to express his hatred here .
no reason to respond to him .
he does it with every publication on Israel or that mentions Israel

just ignore him
  • + 5
 Fanatical belief that the Jewish people have no right to exist
  • - 12
flag nouser (Feb 18, 2014 at 7:53) (Below Threshold)
 I'm a lover, not a hater... I love banksy:

i.huffpost.com/gen/1523068/thumbs/o-BANKSY-WEST-BANK-facebook.jpg
  • - 13
flag nouser (Feb 18, 2014 at 8:04) (Below Threshold)
 I also love Avatar... really good film:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=cRdxXPV9GNQ
  • + 15
 lets get back to the topic of bikes!
  • - 11
flag nouser (Feb 18, 2014 at 11:04) (Below Threshold)
 Fair comment... that berm is some quality trail building; a lot of skilled work must've gone into that!

Note that my 2nd and 3rd comments below the original comment were about biking in the area, before the topic got silly...
  • + 3
 Cay dy geg, a dos i ffwcio dy gath i fyny'r pen ol.
  • - 3
 Dim ots a fi gwboy, mae dy fam yn llyfu cociau mul Bloody good sioe
  • + 0
 Bloody good show indeed, and who's mother doesn't unless she's a drinker of the furry cup Wink
  • + 7
 Hopkins kills it behind the lens and bike!
  • + 3
 An amazing piece.. Thank you guys for sharing and conveying the scenes, your experiences and feelings on the trip. I hope more people will take a leap of faith and come to ride here, doing the thing they love that brings us all together...
  • + 3
 Great article, I also liked the first one, but this one is far more exciting, I loved it. I love the dessert, and I try to spend time there every year. I wish to thank Sarah for the way she shared her story.
  • + 6
 WOULD SOMEONE GET HOPKINS A DAMN DROPPER POST. Dammit norco!
  • + 5
 Halimaa's photo and the little guy doing front wheelie; my two best photo ever. Thanks for sharing.
  • + 6
 so nice... tanks for image's
  • + 5
 Hopkins kills it on ski, bike and camera. Well done!
  • + 4
 Great pics. Norco is just killin it with the new carbon offerings! Carbon Aurum any one???
  • + 1
 These water cisterns were actually dug out by the Nabateans, the same guys who built Petra.

A nice about riding in Israel is that the season never ends. In the winter you can head south or east (1-2 h drive from Tel Aviv) to the desert where it hardly rains; temps are typically around 15-20 C. Spring and autumn you can ride everywhere. In the scorching summer you ride at dawn, head to the shady forests, or do night rides.
  • + 3
 We have the ladies
we have the trails
we have the beach
we have the weather

Come and ride in israel all its more than what u see or hear in the news :-)
  • + 0
 MOST BEAUTIFUL GIRLS ON THE PLANET
  • + 3
 what a trip you had guys!!. added to my bucket list already.

pd: I felt flattered when mentioned the #antigrip from chile haha
  • + 2
 Amazing photos and awesomr trails! for someone that rides in the center trails in Israel, those are some routes and trails that i need to try out. great article. enjoyed it.
  • + 4
 awesome writing!!,maybe next time come to the north Wink its Beautiful also!
  • + 3
 Amazing pictures, lots of information to take in to plan my next big ride. Cheers to everyone involved.
  • + 1
 Great pictures, the hand-built paver block trail looks unreal. Nice write up too but I couldn't get around the overuse of the word 'super.' Any writer at any level needs to find better adjectives to use than that.
  • + 7
 Super! Thanks @mrgonzo - noted. I'll keep that in mind to become a better writer "at any level. Wink

And the hand built paver trail WAS unreal.
  • + 1
 Spent 6 mos there a while ago. Would have been nice to see a map to see where everything was. Yes I know it was between Jerusalem and Elat, but where exactly? Love the Negev. Should have done the stairs down from Masada!
  • + 3
 Amazing story telling, it's even exciting to us who know it so well already! Well done!
  • + 3
 Keep on rolling, keep politics and religion out of it!
  • + 1
 Having the choice not to think about politics is a privilege many don't have.
  • + 3
 Thank You Sarah, beautiful writing
  • + 2
 That green bike............mmmmmmmmmm.......if i were the kid in the picture, you can be sure that won't see the norco again
  • + 1
 Really nice article! I recently came back from some rides in Israel and can assure it is a surprisingly GREAT PLACE TO RIDE !!!
  • + 3
 Excelent place to ride, excelent photos, excelent riders!
  • + 4
 hopkins on fox fork ?
  • + 5
 Some athlete's ride for companies that currently do not have a 650B specific fork, so you can see that he's removed the decals.
  • + 3
 oh thx for that brule, did not know that cheers.
  • + 2
 Those hand-dug wells are pretty amazing.
  • + 0
 f..... all the hate spreaders !!!!! respect and love to the king Hopkins...! thanks for showing who we realy are..... true mountain bikers .! come ride with us any time
  • + 1
 "Turns out the wheel size debate isn't in play at this Bedouin camp."
  • + 0
 "heavy duty pedalling and fun little descents" that line sums up my riding experience here !.
  • + 1
 What's that weird white and blue flag ?
  • + 1
 Wheel size... Uhh, what's that?
  • + 1
 amazingSmile
  • + 0
 Remember the 6 gorillion! Oy vey!
  • + 1
 Like, like, like
  • - 3
 You don't know which side of the wall Israel is? Is the side called Israel duuurrr
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