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Wheels of Love 2018

Thanks for making a record breaking year!

$3,781,648
Money Raised*
105% raised of $3,600,000

Leader
board

Our Top Fundraisers

RIDERS

Name
Country
Raised
Full RIDERS List

Rider Facilitated Gifts

Name
Amount
Purpose
Joseph Krant
$40,000
Brain Injury Project
Joseph Krant
$20,000
The Bold Hikers Project
Joanne Blye
$75,000
Room Endowment
Chaim Friedman
$250,000
Motion Analysis Laboratory
Jessica Tinianow
$200,000
Guardian Angel Project

Route Descriptions from 2018

You can download the GPX files for each day below. You will need a GPS APP such as RidewithGPS to view the route. All routes are subject to change at any time. These files include the Enduro additions. Only riders who meet strict time cut-offs will be able to ride the additional segments.

Sunday     *     Monday     *     Tuesday      *     Wednesday     *     Thursday

Sunday’s ride begins above the wooden slopes of the Yatir Forest and finishes at the Dead Sea, the lowest point on Earth. Between the forest and the sea, there are long stretches  through the Negev Desert, including a few thrilling singles. 

Distance: 48 km (30 mi)

Total Climb: 475 m (1,410 ft)

Total Descent 1,032 m (3,386 ft)

Yatir Forest

The ride begins in the Yatir Forest. This is Israel’s largest planted forest and is located next to the pre-1967 armistice line (the “green” line.) The route follows a circular path to take full advantage of the leafy shaded roads that wind through the forest. Yatir covers 7,400 acres with over 4 million trees of all varieties.  As the ride crosses the forest, riders will pass from the Judean Hills to the start of the desert.

The Israel National Trail, marked in 1991 runs through the forest. Yatir forest is located on the trail south of Meitar and north of Arad.

Descending to the Plains of Arad

After leaving the forest, the trail descends sharply down to the plains of Arad. The terrain is dirt jeep trails and narrower ancient Bedouin camel paths.

While there are some steep drops, this part of the route is not technical and riders will be able to enjoy spectacular views while descending. After dropping 200 meters, the terrain levels out and crosses the desert plane by the Yatir Winery at the edge of Arad.

The Zohar Ridge and Descent

After crossing the flat desert plane around Arad, the route crosses Highway #31 and heads west to the Zohar Ridge. Past an abandoned airport, the trail traverses the mountain ridge above the Dead Sea. After enjoying spectacular views, riders start a long descent that will eventually reach 400 meters below sea level, the lowest spot on Earth. 

The regular trail group will take a moderate trail down over flint rock while the Enduro group will take on a more technical single. A short ride along the road will conclude at Ein Bokek, where the group will be staying for the next 3 days.

Monday’s route starts from the hotel at Ein Bokek. We will start a little bit later in the morning since we will be finishing after dark. Until the early afternoon, riders will ride in desert terrain with short but steeps hills and descents. As the sun sets we will take a short break and finish by riding through Nachal Sodom by the light of the moon (and your bike lights — see below!)

Distance:  48 km ( 30 mi)

Climb and Descent: 580 m (1902 ft)

 

 

Rolling Desert Hills

From the hotel, riders head north along the Dead Sea coast. After a few kilometers, the route turns to the east for a short but steep climb. The path is composed of a special type of terrain that has the consistency of flour. Riders will get a light dusting of the stuff as they pedal through.

After the initial climb, there are a series of short and steep rolling hills. Riders can use the speed from the descents to coast up each hill with little effort.

Mount Sodom

The trail starts to climb up from the rolling hills to Mount Sodom. This is the place referred to in the Biblical story of Sodom and Gomorrah.  According to the Bible, due to the sins of the inhabitants, the city was wiped out leaving the dry rocky terrain that riders will experience.

The mountain is mostly made of rock salt covered by a later of porous limestone. Because of its unique geological make-up, the mountain has been rising for thousands of years. But the rate is only about 3.5 millimeters/year.

There will be a stop at the top of the mountain for riders to enjoy the view.

Nachal Sodom Night Ride

This year we will be doing something for the very first time — riding by the moonlight!  As the sun sets, we will arrive at Nachal Sodom. This promises to be one of the highlights of the whole week as we ride down the twisting Sodom canyon with only the moonlight, the stars, and our bar-mounted lights to guide us. The trail winds between the rock walls that make up the canyon. Riders going fast can actually use the natural curves to bank their bikes around the turns.  

You must have a strong handlebar mounted light as well as a red, blinking rear light.  Your light must be rated at least 300 lumens. For safety reasons, we cannot let you ride at night without a light.  Also, the temperature will drop as the suns sets. Please bring a warm riding jersey or light jacket. You can put these on the bus in the morning before the ride. The bus will be waiting at the start of the night ride.

The third day in the desert will start with a short bus ride to the trail head, right off Route #31. The day will be filled with spectacular desert canyon riding as the routes takes riders to Nachal Hemar and Nechal Peres and a thrilling single in between. 

Distance:  45 km ( 28 mi)

Climb and Descent 714 m (2343 ft)

Nahal Hemar

With a few kilometers, the route encounters the ridge of Nahal Hamar. This is a giant canyon formed by the ancient Hemar river. There is only water in the river bed a few days a year after torrential rains cause flash flooding in the surrounding basin. Over thousands of years, the river has carved out layers and layers of the desert limestone.

The site is one of the oldest archaeological sites in the Middle East. Certain artifacts have been dated to 8,310 BCE, which includes the oldest example of the use of a glue from animal skins as an adhesive.  

Nahal Peres

The second highlight of the day for Trail riders is Nahal Peres. This is one of the more challenging desert hikes in the country, usually taking 6-8 hours. While one can’t go everywhere on a bike, most of the canyon, including the impressive views are accessible from the bike path. There may be water in the many pools and waterfalls that run throughout the canyon. 

The ride now moves to the beautiful Jerusalem Hills, full of forested mountains, challenging climbs, thrilling descents, and a few exciting singles.

On Wednesday, the route snakes through three separate forests which each have their own unique history and geography. Amazingly, most of the trees in these forests were imported and planted using funds raised by worldwide Jewry through the Jewish National Fund. 

Distance:  55 km ( 34 mi)

Climb and Descent 1,184 m (3,885 ft)

The Neve Illan Forest

Right out the door of the hotel is the edge of the Neve Illan Forest. The day’s ride starts with a lengthy descent over a rocky path that at one time was a Roman road. In Biblical times, this was one of the main routes up to to Jerusalem.

Later, it became a principle Roman road and our route passes by the remains of an ancient Roman fortress. A collection of Roman milestones can be seen on the side of the path. Many of the stones that were the foundation of the road remain in place making the first 8 kilometers a fast and rocky ride as we descend through the forest in a Westernly direction. There a few rocky “berms” that must be ridden over with extreme caution (they will be marked with special signs.)

Park Canada

The route crosses the old 1948 armistice line (The “Green” Line) and enters the next forest, the Ayalon Canada Park. The park is rich in natural woodland scenery, planted forests and especially fruit trees, which can be seen throughout the area. 

The park offers plenty of everything: magnificent views, breathtaking landscapes, attractive shady corners, and archaeological and heritage sites. 

ENDURO riders can choose to ride a very technical single full of rock drops, pop-ups, and steps. After a few hundred meters, the single becomes less technical and the rest of the Trail riders will join with Enduro to complete the path with spectacular views of the park and beyond.

Peru Forest

The entire Peru forest was planted by hand with funds raised from Peruvian  immigrants to Israel and is located along the famous Burma Road. The Burma Road was created in six days by the fledgling Israeli forces during the War of Independence, when Jerusalem was under siege and could not be reached through the main road.

Enduro riders may choose to ascend a very steep climb that ends in an extremely technical single for the descent. The main trail group will ride along the shaded trails of the forest. When deciding whether to try the climb and descent, keep in mind that the major climb of the day is still to come. 

Diefenbaker Ascent

Former Canadian Prime Minister John Diefenbaker was a staunch supporter of Israel, fighting the infamous “Zionism equals Racism” resolution at the United Nations. The final climb of the day is along a trail named in his honor.

While the views along the climb are nothing short of spectacular, it is a long and difficult ascent. While the grade is never too steep, the length of the trail makes it the hardest climb of the day. Fortunately, there will be plenty of cold beer awaiting riders at the Neve Illan Hotel which sits at the end of this challenging climb. 

The final day of the 2018 ALYN Wheels of Love ride begins in the Neve Illan Forest and traverses the beautiful hills of Park Begin with a special climb that even most local riders aren’t familiar with. 

One more memorable climb brings the ride to the incredible finish line at ALYN Hospital. Riders will be warmly embraced and presented with their finishers medallions by hundreds of children being treated at ALYN.

Distance:  43.8 km ( 27 mi)

Climb 914 m (3,000)

Descent 810 m (2,660 ft)

 

 

Riding Through the Neve Illan Forrest

Yesterday we rode a descent through the Neve Illan Forest. This morning, we start with a 10 kilometer loop to see the rest of the forest. We will descend on a trail that bisects the center of the wooded vale. The return is a few kilometers of yesterday’s route with the spectacular view of the Judean Hills (But without the massive climb!)

 

Nahal Teyasim

We leave the Neve Illan Forest and ride under the busy highway. After just a few short kilometers of road riding, we are back on the trails. This time we are climbing along Nachal Teyasim to the hilltop community of Tzuba (home to the Tzuba Winery which is providing their famous wine for the ride.)

Just past Tzuba, we cross the road and start a very fast and fun descent to the valley of the Sorek Stream. 

 

Park Begin and the Switchback Ascent

We now enter Park Begin, one of the centers of mountain biking in the Jerusalem area. The park is full of trails that traverse the hills on both sides of the old Jerusalem-Bet Shemesh train track (which will most likely have been made obsolete by the time of the ride by the inauguration of the new Jerusalem-Tel Aviv High Speed Rail link.

 The most popular climb through the park and back to the outskirts of Jerusalem is the “white” trail to Yad Kennedy. We have taken this route many times in ALYN’s history. This year, we skip the main trail to ride next to a dry riverbed that lies at the bottom of the valley formed between Park Begin and Park Aminidav. After a few kilometers we turn left and start an extremely steep (but short) ascent that uses multiple switchbacks to climb to the top of the trail. The grade is over 10 percent but the tough bit of the climb only lasts for a single, challenging kilometer.

The Finish Line

The scene is extraordinary as hundreds of cyclists wearing ALYN jerseys make the final climb to the hospital.  Crowds of families and friends are cheering for the riders who have covered hundreds of kilometers and climbed some of Israel’s highest peaks.  An escort of ALYN children lead all the riders to the finish line on hand-bikes.

It is an emotional ending to an amazing five days as the children whose lives are directly affected by Wheels of Love drape medallions around riders’ necks. As riders say goodbye to each other and depart to homes in countries around the world, from everyone’s lips can be heard: “See you on next year’s ride.”

You can download the GPX files for each day below. You will need a GPS APP such as RidewithGPS to view the route. All routes are subject to change at any time.

Sunday     *     Monday     *     Tuesday      *     Wednesday     *     Thursday

Sunday’s ride begins above the wooden slopes of the Yatir Forest and finishes at the Dead Sea, the lowest point on Earth. Between the forest and the sea, there are long stretches  through the Negev Desert, including an exceptionally thrilling downhill of more than 20 kilometers.

TODAY’S HIGHLIGHT: BREATHTAKING 15K DESCENT THROUGH THE JUDEAN DESERT 

Distance: 95 km (59 mi)

Climb: 838 m (2,750 ft)

Descent 1,868 m (6,130 ft)

Yatir Forest

The ride begins in the Yatir Forest. This is Israel’s largest planted forest and is located next to the pre-1967 armistice line (the “green” line.) The route follows a circular path to take full advantage of the leafy shaded roads that wind through the forest. Yatir covers 7,400 acres with over 4 million trees of all varieties. 

The Israel National Trail, marked in 1991 runs through the forest. Yatir forest is located on the trail south of Meitar and north of Arad.

The Negev

The route leaves the forest and enters the desert.

We will be spending much of the first three days of the ride in the Negev Desert. As you ride, you will notice that the Negev is a rocky desert. Rather than sand, it is full of brown, rocky, dusty mountains interrupted by wadis (dry riverbeds that bloom briefly after rain) and deep craters.   The Negev covers more than half of Israel. 

The Dead Sea

The Dead Sea is the lowest place on Earth. It is also the saltiest, with a density 9.6 times as salty as the ocean. The salt makes plant and animal life impossible, hence its English name. (In Hebrew, it is called the Sea of Salt.) Since the time of King Herod, the Dead Sea waters have drawn visitors from around the world who come seeking cures for various ailments.

Today the ride includes one of the toughest climbs of the week and concludes at Israel’s most impressive historical site — the Ancient Fortress of Masada.  The ride is a metric century of 100 kilometers.

TODAY’S HIGHLIGHT: MASSIVE ROUTE 25 CLIMB/THRILLING DESCENT TO MASADA

Distance: 97 km (60 mi)

Climb: 1,629 m (5,345 ft)

Descent: 1,284  (4,212 ft)

The Long Climb

One of the most challenging segments of the ride two years ago was the climb up Route #25. The road starts at the Dead Sea plateau and steadily climbs high around the desert mountains. From start to finish its 20 kilometers of uphill struggle. During the ascent, riders will go from 400 meters below sea-level to 400 meters above it. However, the scenery is spectacular. Usually, there is too much traffic on this road for cyclists. But the police will be closing the road while we climb so you can ride in safety. 

The Eastern Approach to Masada

After the morning’s difficult ascent of Route #25, riders are in for a thrill. The Eastern road between Arad and Masada allows riders to fully experience the stark beauty of the Judean desert while riding along a (mostly) downhill route. There are plenty of places to pull over and take a picture so you will have a reminder of this seldom ridden desert road. The ride finishes at the famous “Ramparts Walk” where riders can leave their bikes and hike up to the most famous historical site in Israel. 

Masada

Built by King Herod, the complex became the home to a band of Jewish Zealots during the First Jewish–Roman War (around the year 70 CE). After laying siege to the mountain for years, the Romans built a ramp that reached the top of Masada’s walls. 960 men, women, and children committed mass suicide rather than be captured by the Romans.

After walking up the short hike of the Ramparts Walk, riders will get a brief tour and ride the cable car down the Western slope of Masada. At the bottom, buses will be waiting to take riders along the short drive back to the hotels. The bikes that you left on the other side of Masada will be trucked back to the hotel separately.  

Tuesday’s route starts from 400 meters below sea level at the Dead Sea and finishes 80 kilometers later in the city of Yerucham. Besides a few factories that process Dead Sea minerals, there are hardly any man-made structures along the length of the beautiful desert route. 

TODAY’S HIGHLIGHT: DEAD SEA VIEWS

Distance: 85 km (53 mi)

Climb: 661 m (2,168 ft)

Descent 554 m (1,818 ft)

Riding Past Masada

From the hotel, we start riding North today, along the sunny coast of the Dead Sea. After around 18 kilometers, we ride away from the Sea and pass Masada where the ride finished yesterday. One of the more interesting natural phenomenon in the area are the sinkholes. Sinkholes are a result of subterranean erosion and have resulted in closed Dead Sea beaches and even a rerouting of the road we are riding. At Ein Gedi we return to the coast and continue along its entire length.

Ein Gedi Oasis

At the Ein Gedi Nature Reserve, riders will stop for a relaxing pit stop. Ein Gedi is a flourishing oasis in the desert and is one of Israel’s most popular nature sites.

After the rough climb and ultra distance of Day #2, riders will get a change to recover and enjoy the unique environment of the Dead Sea and Ein Gedi.

Today the route moves from the desert to the rolling hills around Jerusalem. The start and finish for the day will be at the town of Mesilat Tsion, a small town that was named for the attempt to break the siege of Jerusalem during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.

TODAY’S HIGHLIGHT: RIDING THE ROLLING JUDEAN HILLS

Distance: 84 km (52 mi)

Climb: 811 m (2,660 ft)

Descent: 824 m (2,700 ft)

The President’s Forest

After a brief warm-up, the route climbs Route #44. Popular Israeli national parks are located on either side of the road. On the left is the President’s Forest, dedicated to the memory of Chaim Weizmann, the first President of the State of Israel. On the right is the Eshtoal Forest, one of the biggest forestry projects of the Jewish National Fund. 

The route starts with a serious but short climb and then a long downhill that passes a number of Israeli farming communities.

Moshav Beit Elezari

After riding along Routes 44 and 411, the route turns off the highway and heads for a loop around the Moshav Beit Elazari, named after Yitzhak Elazari-Volcani, the founder of modern agriculture in Israel. Riders will ride down the main streets of this small town and then ride through a few similar communities to the north of route #40.

The terrain is flat in this scenic area, allowing riders to rest up from the earlier climbs up President’s Forest and Hulda. 

The Zacharia Climb

After spending much of the day on rolling hills and flat lands, the route tackles two short but steep climbs around the city of Bet Shemesh. The first is the climb near the village of Zacharia. The second is just past the entrance to the city.

The good news is that after these climbs, the rest of the route is either downhill or flat.

The final day of the 2018 ALYN Wheels of Love ride begins in the hills around Jerusalem and will end at the incredible finish line at ALYN Hospital where riders will be warmly embraced and presented with commemorative medallions by hundreds of children being treated at ALYN and their families. 

TODAY’S HIGHLIGHT: DOUBLE CLIMB — NES HARIM AND THE ALYN FINISH

Distance: 72 km (45 mi)

Climb: 1,463 m (4,800 ft)

Descent 1,042 m (3,418 ft)

Riding through the Adulam-French Park

After riding along the new highway that runs by Bet Shemesh, we turn off the main road and into the Adulam-French Park. At the 2006 dedication of this beautiful park, then Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said:

There could be no more precious gift presented to the State of Israel than this splendid Adulam Park, which was a densely populated Jewish area in the time of the second temple. Slowly and surely we are renewing our connections to the past. This is our land, no doubt about it. If anyone is uncertain, we can bring him here to see how Jews lived here over two thousand years ago.

The paved trails and rolling hills are a welcome change from the highway. We will be riding right through the heart of one of Israel’s largest national parks along narrow roads used primarily for farm vehicles servicing the surrounding agricultural fields.

The Climb Up Nes Harim

The day’s major climb is up to  Moshav Nes Harim. This area is the American Independence Park which was developed by by the Jewish National Fund to celebrate the American bicentennial. After a few kilometers, riders pass a monument dedicated to the astronauts who lost their lives in the Challenger disaster. 

The climb is one of the most challenging in the area and every Friday attracts dozens of cyclists. The route has been used several times as the site of the Israeli National Time Trail Championship. While there are a few breaks, most of the 10 kilometer route is fairly steep and exposed to the sun. Even the strongest riders can be humbled from the relentless climb. The reward, however, is spectacular views, especially in the last few kilometers as the Sorek Valley opens up below you.   

The Finish Line

The scene is extraordinary as hundreds of cyclists wearing ALYN jerseys make the final climb from Ein Kerem to the hospital.  Crowds of families and friends are cheering for the riders who have covered hundreds of kilometers and climbed some of Israel’s highest peaks.  An escort of ALYN children lead all the riders to the finish line on hand-bikes.

It is an emotional ending to an amazing five days as the children whose lives are directly affected by Wheels of Love drape medallions around riders’ necks. As riders say goodbye to each other and depart to homes in countries around the world, from everyone’s lips can be heard: “See you on next year’s ride.”

Road Plus is a brand new group. It is designed for road riders who want to ride at a faster pace with more millage, but not quite the same level as Challenge. 

You can download the GPX files for each day below. You will need a GPS APP such as RidewithGPS to view the route. All routes are subject to change at any time.

Sunday     *     Monday     *     Tuesday      *     Wednesday     *     Thursday

Sunday’s ride begins above the wooden slopes of the Yatir Forest and finishes at the Dead Sea, the lowest point on Earth. Between the forest and the sea, there are long stretches  through the Negev Desert, including an exceptionally thrilling downhill of more than 20 kilometers. The Road Plus riders will ride past Ein Bokek returning on the new bike path along the unique Dead Sea coast.

TODAY’S HIGHLIGHT: BREATHTAKING 15K DESCENT THROUGH THE JUDEAN DESERT 

Distance: 104 km (65 mi)

Climb: 866 m (2,841 ft)

Descent -1,895 m (6,217 ft)

Yatir Forest

The ride begins in the Yatir Forest. This is Israel’s largest planted forest and is located next to the pre-1967 armistice line (the “green” line.) The route follows a circular path to take full advantage of the leafy shaded roads that wind through the forest. Yatir covers 7,400 acres with over 4 million trees of all varieties. 

The Israel National Trail, marked in 1991 runs through the forest. Yatir forest is located on the trail south of Meitar and north of Arad.

The Negev

The route leaves the forest and enters the desert.

We will be spending much of the first three days of the ride in the Negev Desert. As you ride, you will notice that the Negev is a rocky desert. Rather than sand, it is full of brown, rocky, dusty mountains interrupted by wadis (dry riverbeds that bloom briefly after rain) and deep craters.   The Negev covers more than half of Israel. 

The Dead Sea

The Dead Sea is the lowest place on Earth. It is also the saltiest, with a density 9.6 times as salty as the ocean. The salt makes plant and animal life impossible, hence its English name. (In Hebrew, it is called the Sea of Salt.) Since the time of King Herod, the Dead Sea waters have drawn visitors from around the world who come seeking cures for various ailments.

The Ein Bokek Walkway

Road Plus riders will ride past the Ein Bokek Oasis and return via the new paved bike path that has recently been constructed along the Dead Sea coast. The path was constructed as a side-benefit of a major project to shore up the Sea’s coastline to prevent flooding. Eventually it will stretch for 16 kilometers along this unique and beautiful geographical site. 

Today the ride includes one of the toughest climbs of the week and concludes at Israel’s most impressive historical site — the Ancient Fortress of Masada.  The ride is a metric century of 100 kilometers.

TODAY’S HIGHLIGHT: MASSIVE ROUTE 25 CLIMB/THRILLING DESCENT TO MASADA

Distance: 107 km (66 mi)

Climb: 1,699 m (5,575 ft)

Descent: 1,302  (4,272 ft)

The Long Climb

One of the most challenges segments of the ride two years ago was the climb up Route #25. The road starts at the Dead Sea plateau and steadily climbs high around the desert mountains. From start to finish its 20 kilometers of uphill struggle. During the ascent, riders will go from 400 meters below sea-level to 400 meters above it. However, the scenery is spectacular. Usually, there is too much traffic on this road for cyclists. But the police will be closing the road while we climb so you can ride in safety. 

The Eastern Approach to Masada

After the morning’s difficult ascent of Route #25, riders are in for a thrill. The Eastern road between Arad and Masada allows riders to fully experience the stark beauty of the Judean desert while riding along a (mostly) downhill route. There are plenty of places to pull over and take a picture so you will have a reminder of this seldom ridden desert road. The ride finishes at the famous “Ramparts Walk” where riders can leave their bikes and hike up to the most famous historical site in Israel. 

Masada

Built by King Herod, the complex became the home to a band of Jewish Zealots during the First Jewish–Roman War (around the year 70 CE). After laying siege to the mountain for years, the Romans built a ramp that reached the top of Masada’s walls. 960 men, women, and children committed mass suicide rather than be captured by the Romans.

After walking up the short hike of the Ramparts Walk, riders will get a brief tour and ride the cable car down the Western slope of Masada. At the bottom, buses will be waiting to take riders along the short drive back to the hotels. The bikes that you left on the other side of Masada will be trucked back to the hotel separately.  

Today Road Plus will depart from the route of the regular road group to take in some impressive climbs as we ride along part of the route that our friends in the Challenge group will be taking right ahead of us. 

TODAY’S HIGHLIGHT: THE BEAUTIFUL CLIMB UP THE WALL OF THE GREAT CRATER

Distance: 81 km (50 mi)

Climb: 1,457 m (4,780 ft)

Descent: -616  (2,021 ft)

The Big Climb

After around 25 kilometers of riding through the desert, we get serious. Yesterday we rode down a thrilling mountain road that weaves around the mountains down to the Dead Sea plains. Today, we climb this same road. It’s 15 kilometers of tough, steep climbing. Pace yourself and dig deep, the satisfaction you will get completing this climb will be well worth it.

The Dimona (Shimon Peres) Negev Nuclear Research Center

After cresting the hill we ride along the fence of Israel’s nuclear facility. The center was recently named in honor of the late president and Prime Minister Shimon Peres. 

The purpose of the reactor is believed to be the production of nuclear materials that may be used in Israel’s nuclear weapons. Information about the facility remains highly classified and with respect to nuclear weapons the country maintains a policy known as nuclear ambiguity—refusing either to confirm or deny their possession. As you can see, the large area surrounding the center is among the most heavily guarded places in Israel. 

Up the Crater Wall

In the last 8 kilometers, riders will hit another tough challenge: The “Great Crater” is a “makhtesh,” a geological object formed by land erosion measuring 5 x 10 km. The ride enters the crater through a pass in the eastern wall.

From a few kilometers away, riders will see the formidable sight of the route going up the opposite wall through a series of extremely steep switchbacks. Thankfully, the climb is “only” 2 kilometers. After reaching the top of the crater wall, riders will enjoy a 6 kilometers descent into the desert town of Yerucham.

Today the route moves from the desert to the rolling hills around Jerusalem. The start and finish for the day will be at the town of Mesilat Tsion, a small town that was named for the attempt to break the siege of Jerusalem during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.

TODAY’S HIGHLIGHT: RIDING THE ROLLING JUDEAN HILLS

Distance: 84.4 km (52 mi)

Climb: 811 m (2,660 ft)

Descent: -824 m (2,703 ft)

The President’s Forest

After a brief warm-up, the route climbs Route #44. Popular Israeli national parks are located on either side of the road. On the left is the President’s Forest, dedicated to the memory of Chaim Weizmann, the first President of the State of Israel. On the right is the Eshtoal Forest, one of the biggest forestry projects of the Jewish National Fund. 

The route starts with a serious but short climb and then a long downhill that passes a number of Israeli farming communities.

Moshav Beit Elezari

After riding along Routes 44 and 411, the route turns off the highway and heads for a loop around the Moshav Beit Elazari, named after Yitzhak Elazari-Volcani, the founder of modern agriculture in Israel. Riders will ride down the main streets of this small town and then ride through a few similar communities to the north of route #40.

The terrain is flat in this scenic area, allowing riders to rest up from the earlier climbs up President’s Forest and Hulda. 

The Zacharia Climb

After spending much of the day on rolling hills and flat lands, the route tackles two short but steep climbs around the city of Bet Shemesh. The first is the climb near the village of Zacharia. The second is just past the entrance to the city.

The good news is that after these climbs, the rest of the route is either downhill or flat.

The final day of the 2018 ALYN Wheels of Love ride begins in the hills around Jerusalem and will end at the incredible finish line at ALYN Hospital where riders will be warmly embraced and presented with commemorative medallions by hundreds of children being treated at ALYN and their families.

TODAY’S HIGHLIGHT: DOUBLE CLIMB — NES HARIM AND THE ALYN FINISH

Distance: 72 km (45 mi)

Climb: 1,463 m (4,800 ft)

Descent 1,042 m (3,3420 ft)

The Climb Up Nes Harim

The day’s major climb is up to  Moshav Nes Harim. This area is the American Independence Park which was developed by by the Jewish National Fund to celebrate the American bicentennial. After a few kilometers, riders pass a monument dedicated to the astronauts who lost their lives in the Challenger disaster. 

The climb is one of the most challenging in the area and every Friday attracts dozens of cyclists. The route has been used several times as the site of the Israeli National Time Trail Championship. While there are a few breaks, most of the 10 kilometer route is fairly steep and exposed to the sun. Even the strongest riders can be humbled from the relentless climb. The reward, however, is spectacular views, especially in the last few kilometers as the Sorek Valley opens up below you.   

The Finish Line

The scene is extraordinary as hundreds of cyclists wearing ALYN jerseys make the final climb from Ein Kerem to the hospital.  Crowds of families and friends are cheering for the riders who have covered hundreds of kilometers and climbed some of Israel’s highest peaks.  An escort of ALYN children lead all the riders to the finish line on hand-bikes.

It is an emotional ending to an amazing five days as the children whose lives are directly affected by Wheels of Love drape medallions around riders’ necks. As riders say goodbye to each other and depart to homes in countries around the world, from everyone’s lips can be heard: “See you on next year’s ride.”

You can download the GPX files for each day below. You will need a GPS APP such as RidewithGPS to view the route. All routes are subject to change at any time.

Sunday     *     Monday     *     Tuesday      *     Wednesday     *     Thursday

Sunday’s ride begins above the wooden slopes of the Yatir Forest and finishes at the Dead Sea, the lowest point on Earth. Between the forest and the sea, there are long stretches  through the Negev Desert, including an exceptionally thrilling downhill of more than 15 kilometers.

TODAY’S HIGHLIGHT: BREATHTAKING 15K DESCENT THROUGH THE JUDEAN DESERT 

Distance: 107.3 km (66.6 mi)

Climb: 1,023 m (3,356 ft)

Descent 1,956 m (6,418 ft)

Yatir Forest

The ride begins in the Yatir Forest. This is Israel’s largest planted forest and is located next to the pre-1967 armistice line (the “green” line.) The route follows a circular path to take full advantage of the leafy shaded roads that wind through the forest. Yatir covers 7,400 acres with over 4 million trees of all varieties. 

The Israel National Trail, marked in 1991 runs through the forest. Yatir forest is located on the trail south of Meitar and north of Arad.

The Negev

The route leaves the forest and enters the desert.

We will be spending much of the first three days of the ride in the Negev Desert. As you ride, you will notice that the Negev is a rocky desert. Rather than sand, it is full of brown, rocky, dusty mountains interrupted by wadis (dry riverbeds that bloom briefly after rain) and deep craters.   The Negev covers more than half of Israel. 

The Dead Sea

The Dead Sea is the lowest place on Earth. It is also the saltiest, with a density 9.6 times as salty as the ocean. The salt makes plant and animal life impossible, hence its English name. (In Hebrew, it is called the Sea of Salt.) Since the time of King Herod, the Dead Sea waters have drawn visitors from around the world who come seeking cures for various ailments.

Masada

The first day of Challenge will conclude at the Masada Guest House, a cozy hotel at the foot of one of the world’s most impressive historical landmarks. From the hotel, riders will get an up close look at the towering mountain from which Jewish rebels held off a vastly superior Roman army for years before making a fateful decision.

Monday’s ride begins in the shadow of the Masada Mountain and will return there after a long day of desert riding. 

TODAY’S HIGHLIGHT: THE MASSIVE ZOHAR ASCENT

Distance: 126.9 km (79 mi)

Climb and Descent 1,504 m (4,934 ft)

Masada to Ein Bokek

The first segment is a long and (mostly) downhill desert ride that joins the Dead Sea coast. The desert mountains are reflected magnificently in the calm waters of the Dead Sea. As the riders round a curve, the oasis of Ein Bokek with its resort hotels can be seen in the distance.

It is about 25 kilometers until the major climb of the day begins.

The Zohar Climb

The climb begins soon after the Zohar junction. From the 3rd to the 8th kilometer it is  extremely steep. Riders will see stunning views as the Dead Sea stretches out below. To the right is the ancient fortress of Zohar where one can still see ruins of the site that used to be a key junction in the Roman supply route.

The road winds around the dry, desert mountains. After the 8th kilometer, the climb continues at a more manageable grade with more time to enjoy the spectacular desert views. The road is the same that the ride descended on the first day of the ride. Climbing is an entirely different, but rewarding experience. 

Riding Through the Desert

After 20 kilometers, the climb comes to an end as the route turns to the west along Route #258. For ten kilometers, the road is a gradual, straight descent. Riders can switch out of their climbing gears into the big ring and hammer away while the desert sweeps by on either side.

A stark break with the natural surroundings will be the Rotem Amfort petro-chemical plant. This giant factory process minerals from the Dead Sea. After passing the works, the route turns south on Route #25, which begins a spectacular descent of more than 20 kilometers. 

The Long Descent

After a day climbing through the beautiful desert mountains around Masada and Arad, Challenge riders are in for a thrill. The last 15 kilometers of Route #25 descend from the peaks of the Judean Desert mountains to the Dead Sea plateau. The road plunges from 400 meters (1,300 ft) above sea level to 400 meters below. After the strenuous climbs of the day, it is exhilarating to sit back and stay off the pedals. Riders can just relish the beautiful Negev scenery rushing past at speeds above 60 KPH.

 

The Long Road to Masada

Besides pace and the elevation of the climbs, what makes the Challenge route so special is the enormous distance traversed. After descending the long winding road that concludes on the desert plains, there is considerable distance left to return to the Masada Guest House.

Throughout most of the remainder of the ride, the Dead Sea will be on the right hand side as riders battle the desert heat and frequent headwinds. After another 50 kilometers, the hotel will be a welcome sight to the Challenge riders.

Today’s route will be — by far — the longest in ALYN’s 19 year history. 200 Kilometers, including some extremely tough climbs! (Don’t worry, we have a bus with us the whole time.) 

TODAY’S HIGHLIGHT: TODAY IS THE HIGHLIGHT!

Distance: 200 km (125 mi)

Climb and Descent 2,161 m (7,098 ft)

The Big Climb

After 50 kilometers of riding through the desert, we get serious. Yesterday we rode down a thrilling mountain road that weaves around the mountains down to the Dead Sea plains. Today, we climb this same road. It’s 15 kilometers of tough, steep climbing. Pace yourself and dig deep, the satisfaction you will get completing this climb will be well worth it.

The Dimona (Shimon Peres) Negev Nuclear Research Center

After cresting the hill we ride along the fence of Israel’s nuclear facility. The center was recently named in honor of the late president and Prime Minister Shimon Peres. 

The purpose of the reactor is believed to be the production of nuclear materials that may be used in Israel’s nuclear weapons. Information about the facility remains highly classified and with respect to nuclear weapons the country maintains a policy known as nuclear ambiguity—refusing either to confirm or deny their possession. As you can see, the large area surrounding the center is among the most heavily guarded places in Israel. 

Up the Crater Wall

100 kilometers into the ride, riders will hit another tough challenge: The “Great Crater” is a “makhtesh,” a geological object formed by land erosion measuring 5 x 10 km. The ride enters the crater through a pass in the eastern wall.

From a few kilometers away, riders will see the formidable sight of the route going up the opposite wall through a series of extremely steep switchbacks. Thankfully, the climb is “only” 2 kilometers. After reaching the top of the crater wall, riders will enjoy a 6 kilometers descent into the desert town of Yerucham.

Halfway Home

At Yerucham, we will have ridden over 100 kilometers. The bad news is this is only the halfway point. The good news is that Yerucham is the highest elevation of the day. While the way home is still very long, we have a number of descents to speed us on our way. We will have to keep the stops short and the pace high to make it back to Masada before nightfall.

One of the major highlights will be the descent on Route #31, which we also rode down on the first day of the ride. After hours in the saddle, coasting for 12 kilometers will be a welcome relief.

Wednesday the ride departs for the final time from the Masada Guest House. Unlike previous days, the ride heads North along the coast and then climbs to Mitzpe Yericho. 

TODAY’S HIGHLIGHT: ASCENDING THE 7 PERCENT GRADE DARGA CLIMB

Distance: 88.3 km (55 mi)

Climb: 1,444 m (4,738 ft)

Descent 888 m (2,914 ft)

Ein Gedi

The road winds along the coast of the Dead Sea. At the Ein Gedi Nature Reserve, riders will stop for a relaxing pit stop. Ein Gedi is a flourishing oasis in the desert and is one of Israel’s most popular nature sites.

After the rough climb and ultra distance of Day #3, riders will get a change to recover and enjoy the unique environment of the Dead Sea and Ein Gedi.

Metsoke Dragot

Halfway along the coastal road, Challenge will turn west to ascend the Metsuke Dragot. This campsite atop one of the largest desert canyons in Israel marks the end of a short but incredibly steep climb. The group will have a short break to rest their legs before the exhilarating downhill and continuing the ride along the entire length of the Dead Sea. 

The Climb to Mitzpe Yericho

After leaving the Dead Sea, the road turns north and the climb begins. It is 9 kilometers from the start of the climb by Almog to the day’s finish line at Mitzpe Yericho. From Mitzpe Yericho, the view of the desert below is spectacular. 

Riders will board the bus for the final ALYN evening in Jerusalem.

The Final Day for the Challenge group includes several impressive climbs in the Judean Hills as we head to ALYN, the children you have been riding for, and the final finish line.

TODAY’S HIGHLIGHT: THE NES HARIM CLIMB AND THE ALYN FINISH

Distance: 80.2 km (50 mi)

Overall climb: 1,569 m (5,150 ft)

Overall Descent: 1,633 (5,357 ft)

 

The Climbs

For one final day, the Challenge Route returns to Nes Harim, a favorite climb among local cyclist. The views on both sides of the climb  are stunning. 

Another highlight of the day is a long, steep, and winding descent down Ramat Raziel. The road clings to the side of a mountain as it heads towards Jerusalem. While the police will close the road for ALYN, normally it is a hard-to-believe 2-lane road.

The final climb is from the Ein Karem junction to ALYN Hospital. Riders will climb from the valley and pass through the picturest Ein Karem neighborhood filled with trendy coffee shops and art galleries. 

The Finish Line

The scene is extraordinary as hundreds of cyclists wearing ALYN jerseys make the final climb from Ein Kerem to the hospital.  Crowds of families and friends are cheering for the riders who have covered hundreds of kilometers and climbed some of Israel’s highest peaks.  An escort of ALYN children lead all the riders to the finish line on hand-bikes.

It is an emotional ending to an amazing five days as the children whose lives are directly affected by Wheels of Love drape medallions around riders’ necks. As riders say goodbye to each other and depart to homes in countries around the world, from everyone’s lips can be heard: “See you on next year’s ride.”

Sunday’s ride begins above the wooden slopes of the Yatir Forest and finishes at Bedouin Weaving Center where the first tour will begin.

Distance: 30 km (19 mi)

Ride: Yatir Forest

The ride begins in the Yatir Forest. This is Israel’s largest planted forest and is located next to the pre-1967 armistice line (the “green” line.) The route follows a circular path to take full advantage of the leafy shaded roads that wind through the forest. Yatir covers 7,400 acres with over 4 million trees of all varieties. 

The Israel National Trail, marked in 1991 runs through the forest. Yatir forest is located on the trail south of Meitar and north of Arad.

Ride: The Negev

The route leaves the forest and enters the desert.

We will be spending much of the first three days of the ride in the Negev Desert. As you ride, you will notice that the Negev is a rocky desert. Rather than sand, it is full of brown, rocky, dusty mountains interrupted by wadis (dry riverbeds that bloom briefly after rain) and deep craters.   The Negev covers more than half of Israel. 

Tour: Negev Weaving Center

Sunbula is a not-for-profit organization that sponsors centers where women can use the traditional craft of weaving to provide financially for their families..

While the craft of Bedouin weaving dates back for hundreds of years, Sunbula helps train women to create a volume of products that will be well received by international buyers. They work with local designers who combine a sense of global trends and their appreciation for the traditional process to suggest approaches that fuse ancient and modern. Women, people with disabilities, and others we work with gain skills in running small businesses and cottage industries, along with refining their craftsmanship to make salable products.

Tel Arad

Tel Arad is one of the most important archaeological sites in Israel, on which were found the remains of a fortified Canaanite city and fortresses from the time of the Kings of Judah. At the site, we will see:

  • Remains of a fortified city from the Early Bronze Age
  • A water facility, begun in the Canaanite period (Early Bronze Age)
  • A fortified city from the Israelite period (Iron Age), with a unique temple and remarkable water facility
  • One of the largest concentrations of the rare Judean Iris 

Monday starts off with two beautiful desert hikes followed by a brilliant downhill ride to the Dead Sea. 

Riding Distance: 30 km (19 mi)

Tour: Ein Bokek Hike

The day begins with a short but beautiful hike in the desert, very close to the hotel.

Within a few minutes of leaving the hotel zone, the hike follows a desert stream that flows with water year round. As the trail winds by the rocky desert outcroppings, there are numerous pools and waterfalls that we will walk through. Thick foliage provides shade from the desert sun. The path curls quickly into a steep canyon that cuts into the mountain. 

It is hard to believe that such a peaceful tranquil setting is located just a few steps from the busy hotel district of the Ein Bokek Oais.

Tour: The Zohar Fortress

Our next tour is a visit to the ancient Zohar Fortress. 

This is an ancient site in the Zohar Valley by the Dead Sea. The earliest remains are dated back to the Israelite Kingdom period, about 3,000 years ago. The tower of the fortress is on top of a natural hill with commanding views of the valley and is preserved in a good condition. The walls around the fortress have been washed away over the years. Cisterns and dams are located around the fortress, which supplied the water.

During the Roman period, when Roman soldiers were paid in salt from the Dead Sea, the site functioned as a tax collection point in addition to a security garrison. 

The Ride to Masada

The Touring group will meet up with the Road group at lunch and then ride in the afternoon to Masada. The afternoon ride is an amazing descent (with a few short climbs!) with breathtaking desert views on both sides of the road. 

Built by King Herod, Masada became the home to a band of Jewish Zealots during the First Jewish–Roman War (around the year 70 CE). After laying siege to the mountain for years, the Romans built a ramp that reached the top of Masada’s walls. 960 men, women, and children committed mass suicide rather than be captured by the Romans.

After walking up the short hike of the Ramparts Walk, riders will get a brief tour and ride the cable car down the Western slope of Masada. At the bottom, buses will be waiting to take riders along the short drive back to the hotels. The bikes that you left on the other side of Masada will be trucked back to the hotel separately.  

Riding Along the Dead Sea Coast

From the hotel, we start riding North today, along the sunny coast of the Dead Sea. After around 18 kilometers, we ride away from the Sea and pass Masada where the ride finished yesterday. One of the more interesting natural phenomenon in the area are the sinkholes. Sinkholes are a result of subterranean erosion and have resulted in closed Dead Sea beaches and even a rerouting of the road we are riding. At Ein Gedi we return to the coast and continue along its entire length. We ride until the ancient site of Qumron.

Qumran

The ancient site of Qumran is best know for being the place where the Dead Sea Scrolls, containing the earliest versions of sections of the Bible and other ancient texts, were found.

Since the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947–1956, extensive excavations have taken place in Qumran. Nearly 900 scrolls were discovered. Most were written on parchment and some on papyrus. Cisterns, Jewish ritual baths, and cemeteries have been found, along with a dining or assembly room and debris from an upper story alleged by some to have been a scriptorium as well as pottery kilns and a tower.

Qasr al-Yehud

The baptismal site on the banks of the Jordan River, Qasr al-Yahud, is the site where according to tradition, Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. 

Monasteries and churches were first established in the area to commemorate the site of Jesus’ baptism as far back as the Byzantine period. When pilgrimage conditions became difficult, particularly under Muslim rule, the monasteries became places of refuge and protection for pilgrims. But when the custom of baptism in the Jordan River began to be limited to the Eastern Church, and the Turkish authorities took pilgrimage to the Jordan and baptismal ceremonies under their aegis, those monasteries, in which conditions were very harsh, were no longer needed and they were gradually abandoned.

Ride: The President’s Forest

After a brief warm-up, the route climbs Route #44. Popular Israeli national parks are located on either side of the road. On the left is the President’s Forest, dedicated to the memory of Chaim Weizmann, the first President of the State of Israel. On the right is the Eshtoal Forest, one of the biggest forestry projects of the Jewish National Fund. 

The route starts with a serious but short climb and then a long downhill that passes a number of Israeli farming communities.

Kibbutz Tzorah

After a pleasant morning ride, we will tour the Tzora dairy farm and learn about life on the unique Israeli communal arrangement known as the Kibbutz. We will tour the Kibbutz and attend a specil baking workshop where we will make (and eat) delicious focaccia, a staple of modern Mediterranean fare. 

The final day of the 2018 ALYN Wheels of Love ride begins in the hills around Jerusalem and will end at the incredible finish line at ALYN Hospital where riders will be warmly embraced and presented with their finishers medallions by hundreds of children being treated at ALYN and their families.  In between a morning and very short afternoon ride, the Touring group will visit a Kibbutz.

The Nevo Winery

The Nevo Winery started with a surprising family story. In 2002 Nevo learned that his Aunt Leah, living in Carmiel up north, got sick with cancer and was looking to move to the Moshav (village) in order to be closer to the hospital she would be treated at. Nevo and his wife, Iris, invited Aunt Leah to come live with them in a small apartment off their house for what would be a hard and long year.
During chemotherapy, the energetic aunt, who was then 52 years old, got up every morning, climbed the trees to pick olives, cooked special dishes every night including homemade Taboon bread, and happily hosted family and friends in the garden of the family. When harvest time came, she told Nevo that she and her husband, Chaim had made wine at home, and offered to teach him. Nevo asked the owner of the vineyard for a few bunches of grapes. He happily agreed. Their three children wore plastic bags on their feet and stomped on the grapes in large tubs. Thus, in a simple plastic container, in an abandoned shelter from the fifties near the family’s house, they produced a wonderful wine.

One year later, Aunt Leah healed from the cancer and told the couple that the joy and love of dealing with the wine was what had helped her fight the disease. Nevo realized that one bottle of wine was a great sign of things to come and decided to continue his work.

Over time, the place became an authentic boutique winery and the abandoned shelter became the cellar where the wine barrels are stored.

The Finish Line

The scene is extraordinary as hundreds of cyclists wearing ALYN jerseys make the final climb from Ein Kerem to the hospital.  Crowds of families and friends are cheering for the riders who have covered hundreds of kilometers and climbed some of Israel’s highest peaks.  An escort of ALYN children lead all the riders to the finish line on hand-bikes.

It is an emotional ending to an amazing five days as the children whose lives are directly affected by Wheels of Love drape medallions around riders’ necks. As riders say goodbye to each other and depart to homes in countries around the world, from everyone’s lips can be heard: “See you on next year’s ride.”

For the first time, we will now be offering a “route” for non-riders. Every day will feature a  spectacular hike. The first three days the hikes will be in the unique and breath-taking scenery of the Negev Desert followed by 2 days of trekking around the Biblical vistas of the Judean Hills.

We have carefully selected these hikes that appear on any list of the best in Israel.

Hikes are moderately strenuous and designed for people in good shape that can walk over difficult terrain for up to 4 hours. 

Hikes must bring a wide brimmed hat, backpack, sunglasses, and hiking boots.  All hikes will be led by an experienced guide and will be cancelled if there is any danger of flash flooding. The hiking route is the perfect option for spouses who don’t ride yet want to experience some of the amazing scenery that Israel has to offer.

Of course the hiking group will meet up with the riders at the hotels in time for happy hour and join the emotional finish at ALYN Hospital. 

Length of Hike: 2 hours, 2.4 kilometers (2 mi). Difficulty: Easy

Wadi Bokek

The first hike starts at Ein Bokek, where we will be staying the first two nights.

Ein Bokek feels like a tropical island with green palm trees, beautiful beaches, world-class spas, and visitors from around the world. Yet just steps away is another world. When you turn your back on the hotels and face the desert, you embrace a raw and primitive place, a harsh environment with little natural life. 

Yet within this barren landscape, a flowing stream flowing over thousands of years has carved a magnificent canyon through the desert. We will walk along and through this gently flowing stream, stopping at the various shaded pools and waterfalls.

The Bokek Fort

The starting point of the hike is on the road opposite the concrete canal that was built along the opening of the Bokek Valley. The canal was made to effectively drain the powerful flash-floods, but since the latter are so scarce, it stands dry almost year round. 

Near the start, a short climb will take us to the ancient ruins of a 4th-century Roman fort used until 300 years later during the 7th-century Muslim invasion. Some of the original 1,700 year old stones remain while other parts of the fort have been recreated by archaeologists so we can understand how the fort looked when it was first built. 

Dead Sea Float OR Tour of Dead Sea Works Factory

After our hike, we will either have a dip in the unique waters of the Dead Sea or take a tour of the Dead Sea Works factory that extracts valuable minerals from the Dead Sea waters that have a wide range of commercial uses. (It all depends on the weather).

Length of Hike: 4 hours, 5-8 kilometers (5 mi). Difficulty: Medium

Just half an hour from our hotel is the world-famous Ein Gedi oasis. Two impressive canyons descend from the plateau to the desert floor hundreds of meters below. Through both canyons runs a stream that flows with water even on the hottest days of the year.

The more famous canyon is Nahal David, full of water falls and pools of fresh cold water. But it is the longer, less visited, and even more impressive Nahal Arugot that we will hike. Just steps away from the barren desert landscape, our hike progresses under leafy palm trees as we walk along the bubbling stream. At one point, we depart the stream to climb the canyon walls for a spectacular view of the oasis.

After hiking for yourself, you will not be surprised to learn that this hike is considered among the most beautiful in Israel.

The Large Fin Hike

Length of Hike: 3 hours, 4 kilometers. Difficulty: Challenging

Our third day of hiking brings us to one of five “Craters” (Makteshim). These are unique geological formations are created when soft sandstone is washed away by erosion, leaving behind steep walls of harder limestone. Mineral deposits in the sandstone are responsible for the colorful red, purple, blue, and orange hues found on the crater floor. 

The Great/Large Makhtesh is a natural wonderland: spectacular panoramic views, colored sand and fossil trees. We will be hiking along a trail that is one of the most beautiful segments of the Israel National Trail. 

Ascending the Large Fin

The hike includes an exhilarating climb up the “Large Fin’ trail, so named because it rises above the canyon floor like the fin of a shark. We continue along a ridge that rises along the walls of the crater. As we hike up the trail, the views into the crater are simply breathtaking. 

The climb down is exciting as we use metal ladders that have been welded into the rock to make our way down from the top of the ridge back to the trail-head.  We conclude the hike at the “Painted Sands” campsite, named after the multi-colored stone that surrounds the area. 

Nahal Dolev

Length of Hike: 3 hours. Difficulty: Medium.

After hiking in the desert, we now take the first of two hikes in the Judean Hills.

Close to Bet Shemesh is the nature reserve of Nahal Dolev. Within steps of the busy road, we are surrounded by lush vegetation and rolling hills. The first part of our hike takes us to the Twins cave, so named because of a legend of a barren woman who drank from the stream and later gave birth to twins. The cave itself is home to thousands of bats and there is a place to view the bats from inside the cool cavern.

A little further on is a natural rock slide, smoothed out of natural erosion over thousands of years, as well as the children who enjoy sliding down the slippery surface.

The trail meanders near the Dolev stream and eventually emerges on the other side of the valley where our bus will be waiting.

NaHal Sorek

Length of Hike: 2.5 hours. Difficulty” Easy/Medium.

On our final day hiking through the natural splendor of the Land of Israel, we traverse the Sorek Stream. The area is known for its stunning beauty as well as its historical significance. 

In the Bible, Nahal Sorek was the place where Delilah lived, and Samson came to meet her for the first time. It was also the place she enticed him to tell her the secret of his strength, and where he was eventually captured by the Philistines:

And Samson went to Gaza… And it came to pass afterward, that he loved a woman in the brook/valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah. And the lords of the Philistines came up to her, and said to her: ‘Entice him, and see wherein his great strength lies, and by what means we may prevail against him, that we may bind him to afflict him…

— Judges 16

In the 19th century, Nahal Sorek served as an important connection between the two major cities in the area, Jaffa and Jerusalem. Because railways at the time were reliant on water sources, several surveyors who planned the first railway in the Middle East, the Jaffa–Jerusalem line, decided to use Nahal Sorek as the main route for the line. The rough topography and constant twists and turns through the valley limit the speed by which trains can traverse the area. However, by the time of the 2018 Wheels of Love ride, it is likely that the line will be abandoned in favor of a new high-speed rail link between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. 

Why Ride for ALYN?

AhavaAdamaBeer BaazarbezeqBio BeerBoeingBresheetCheck PointCLALCushman WakefieldDLA PiperEsopEin GediFinneganGatoradeGolan Heights WineryGoodwin ProcterJoe's No FlatsManchu Times FashionProvident PaymentsRodman RenshawShomeraSwiss ReThink EquityTwilloryXohoZagny O.D.
$3,781,648
Money Raised*
105% raised of $3,600,000
$3,781,648
Money Raised*
105% raised of $3,600,000
Wheels of Love 2018