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Cycling and nature trails are two of life’s greatest pleasures. It is only to be expected that a combination of both – biking trips – are a particularly popular pastime. Vibrant urban landscapes, peaceful hills, green valleys, tangled forests, commanding stretches of desert, alongside flowing creeks or on banks of the Jordan River – you will find sweaty, cheerful cyclists all over Israel.
Bicycles, besides being a convenient, economical, quick and environmentally-friendly mode of transportation in towns, allow us to enjoy nature in all its glory – the forms, colors, intoxicating scents and amazing soundtrack. The joy of being in the fresh air amidst breathtaking landscapes is enhanced by the pleasure of cycling. Physical activity increases the secretion of endorphins in the brain which instantly improve our mood, and as our sages said: “A healthy mind in a healthy body”.
In many cases the experience of travelling on two wheels has an added emotional value: biking trips connect us to the child within, and fill us with nostalgic memories of innocent adventurous forays with our childhood friends. And not just the child within – cycling is a great way to bond a group of cyclists – family members, friends or athletes – around a rolling, invigorating and joyful experience.
Bicycle lovers can enjoy a variety of possibilities and trails. More and more cities are showing awareness for the public’s love of biking, and have allocated resources and two-wheel lanes accordingly. In open country one can find numerous routes and trails, and many vacation sites provide bicycle rentals as well as recommendations of enjoyable trails. The JNF (KKL) is also catering to the passion of two-wheel, handlebar and bell enthusiasts, and has prepared a variety of trails – circular or one-way, moderate to challenging inclines – in which guided or independent trips are provided, at varying degrees of difficulty and at a reasonable price. The highlight is the cross-country Tel Aviv-Jerusalem bike trail. Inaugurated in 2010, it starts at the Yarkon River estuary, passes through Tel Afek, Ben Shemen Forest, Nahal Refaim and ends at the delightful Jerusalem Biblical Zoo.
The extensive increase of cyclists has grown an entire industry of tourist services, including rural cabins and hotels. These sites are designated “Bike-friendly” (BF), where cyclists can enjoy suitable technical and logistical services in addition to the accommodations.
So, put your helmet on (compulsory!), wear bright colors (a regular shirt and comfortable pants are fine too), and join us on two wheels anywhere in Israel.