Today’s epic ride takes us from the Judean Desert up into the cooler and milder climate of the hills south of Hebron, and then on to the Yehuda Plains west of Jerusalem. Today of all days we will truly experience the dramatically changing landscape from desert to fertile plains. The ride is long but the experience, views and scenery will be what participants most remember.
Leaving Arad we ride West on the road 31 before turning north on route 80 for a long climb off the plains to the foot hills of Hebron (please note that the ride at no point crosses into the ‘disputed territories’ remaining in areas internationally regarded as Israel by all parties).
We then cycle around the West Bank with lowland views on our left and high hills on our right creating panoramic views. After several days of desert colours, we will enjoy the magical experience of riding through the Yatir Forest – Israel’s largest planted, green forest, a project of the Jewish National Fund (JNF). The undulating ride uses good dirt tracks and minor tarmac roads.
We will stop for a picnic lunch in the shade of the forest. The Yatir forest is also close to Yatir Winery – one of Israel’s leading boutique wine makers: the wine is so good that it is stocked in Selfridges!
As the group will be too large to visit Yatir Winery (or any boutique winery!), we are bringing Yatir to the group!
A member of Yatir’s winery will come to meet us in the forest and will tell us the story of the winery while we are eating lunch. She will of course be brining wine with her and inviting us to a very special wine tasting set up especially for us in the forest!
Next we will visit a lesser known, hidden gem archaeological site buried deep in the Yatir Forest – Khurbat Yatir – an ancient Hebrew Levite city which sat in the land belonging to the tribe of Judea.
As the day continues we descend towards the Yehuda Plains crossing from arid to semi-arid to Mediterranean climes with the scenery evolving to rich agricultural land including some of the country’s most expansive vineyards. It is hard to believe that one can see so much variation in one day’s ride! Arriving at the hotel, your bags will be waiting for you in your rooms. (Approx km: 90 kms, but worth every drop of sweat and kilojoule of energy!).
Cyclists’ highlight of the day · Visit to Khurbat Yatir archaeological site and visit from Yatir Winery.
Overnight · Kibbutz Galon.
Meals provided · Breakfast at Inbar Hotel, picnic lunch with Yatir winery wine tasting, dinner at Galon kibbutz.