Monday, 16 February 2009

Day 4. Habonim to Tel Aviv

So the saga continues !

For this stage I was riding solo, my pre-arranged partner was unavailable (perhaps he he was put off by the bad weather forecast). Undeterred and confident, I set off from the Habonim area , the weather at this stage was sunny but with a very strong opposing wind that made riding a bit of a struggle.

As encouragement, I was sent this quote from Yvonne. It's by by Ernest Hemingway, and nothing could be truer:
"It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle".

It was supposed to inspire me over the central plains of the country. I discovered that the plains of the Sharon Valley area aren't so flat but softly undulating, it is true that this is not noticeable in a car, but on a bike this becomes very noticeable. Especially if there is a strong wind in your face or the terrain is sandy or muddy, which often it was.

I mentally gloating about the great weather I was having and the rain I had left behind in the north. I could not, however, outpace the speed of a weather front which was relentlessly moving south. Eventually the rain-storm hit me near Tel Aviv on the Yarkon River Trail. In an instant the surfaces had turned into a sticky morass and I could not continue as my wheels had expanded to muddy discs that could not turn anymore. I escaped the wicked trail by lugging the bike under a motorway, and over a railway line (not recommended), and ended up in a high-rise building site near Petah Tikvah. From here I was rescued by Yotam (my daughter's fiance) and ferried to their appartment in Ramat Aviv.

There is no better feeling to be hosed down next to ones bike and see the mud trailing away down the drain !

Distance 83 kms, Total Distance 320 Kms, Aggregate climbing 404 metres, Ride Duration 8 hours, Max climb gradient 4%, 80% off-road, 19c sunny at first turning to heavy rain, 0 punctures, 1 mud bath- all part of the fun !

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