Another inspirational bicycle quotation sent to me by my daughter Miranda, this time by William Golding:
'Consider a man riding a bicycle. Whoever he is, we can say three things about him. We know he got on the bicycle and started to move. We know that at some point he will stop and get off. Most important of all, we know that if at any point between the beginning and the end of his journey he stops moving and does not get off the bicycle he will fall off it. That is a metaphor for the journey through life of any living thing, and I think of any society of living things.'
Each day of this cycling trip is a metaphor for a journey through life. Starting, maintaining machine (and body) in working order, learning the way, staying upright and true over rough terrain, not deviating from the designated route, coping with the difficulties, and at the conclusion looking back with pride at the achievement, but always looking forward to the next day.(That's your dose of home-spun cycling philosopy for today !)
The night at Kibbutz GalOn near Bet Gubrin and we were joined in the morning by Yair and Yotam . So now we were a serious group, ready for anything the day could throw up at us, and this it certainly did in no small measure.
The wind had picked up again ; a very different beast to that I had experienced in the north. It was a hot , dry yellow wind, laden with dust ,constantly in one's face, coating the teeth and throat, and cutting down visibility.
Regardless, we pushed off on in a southerly direction following the Israel Trail passing the mulitude of caves, ruined villages, and other sites of antiquity in the Bet Gubrin area. The greenery of the north and Jerusalem areas, was now being diluted to a yellower hue, and the flowers still in hiding, not yet in bloom. There was ample evidence everywhere, of the dearth of rain affecting the area . We were passing through the transition of the Mediterranean landscape to the arid desert zone. The terain was hilly and undulating, we were notching up quite a repectable figure for climbs.
We had our break in the Amatzia Forest, near a dried out reservoir to the backdrop of serial booms ,thuds, and rat-ta-ta-tats, the unmistakeable signs we were in proximity to an army firing range. Yair had brought with him a kumkum (kettle), a little fire was lit, and we brewed up some coffee with cardamon, with its distinctive aroma. Such is the ambience of long distance riding in Israel.
Total 506kms (over half-way ?)
Duration 8 hours
Agg climbing 1045 metres
Max gradient 16 %
Av Temp 25c (hot, dry, wind, and dust)