skip menu

Rider Safety

Rider Safety

Wheels of Love is a bike RIDE. It is not a race. It provides a unique opportunity to challenge and enjoy yourself simultaneously.

Ride safely so that you can finish your ride satisfied and proud of your achievement on behalf of the children of Alyn Hospital.

Riding in a large group in Israel is very different from riding with a few friends on roads you know. You need to be aware of what’s going on around you. Don’t take chances that may endanger other riders and yourself.

Police Escorts 

More than 500 bicyclists participate in Wheels of Love every year. The total is divided into different groups, all of which are approved and secured by the Israel Police. Police escorts stop traffic, keep intersections clear and make certain that oncoming traffic stays in the proper lane. Their goal is to provide a safe experience for all riders.

The police may stop riders on occasion if there is too large a gap between the first and last riders in a particular group.

If you are too far behind, you may be asked to hop on the bus that will take you to the nearest stop. This is not intended as a punishment. It’s a matter of road safety.

The police may also give special instructions for a variety of reasons. You must do what they ask. Please DO NOT argue with them. Try getting to know them instead. Israeli motorcycle police are a special breed.

Equipment

Have your bike checked before you register at the hospital before the ride. If you arrive from abroad, let the mechanics in the basement of the hospital help assemble your bike. In addition to the police, mechanics will accompany each group of riders.

During the ride ask mechanics if you have a question about your bike. Remember: In a large group, even something as innocent as a flat tire may cause an accident involving a number of riders.

Check your tires daily. Both tire pressure and wear and tear. If your tires are worn, ask the mechanics to replace them. If you have a flat while riding, get to the side of the road as quickly as possible. Do as much as you can to repair the flat. Other riders will no doubt ask if you need help. If you think you can fix it by yourself, tell them you’d like help. If not, turn your bike upside down and wait for a mechanic.

Most important: DO NOT block the road where people are riding. Go to the shoulder as quickly and safely as possible. If you are in the sun, you may want to remove your helmet and drink so that you don’t dehydrate.

Wheels of Love is a five-day group ride, so ride as safely, intelligently and considerately as possible.

  • Let other riders know what you are doing. This is relevant to everyone’s safety. If you want to pass say, “Passing on the left.” If you have to stop, say, “Stopping.”
  • Please don’t ride with earphones of any kind. If you want to listen to music, bring a speaker mounted on your bike. But try not to antagonize other riders with your music.
  • Depending on the weather, panoramic sunglasses are recommended. If it’s hot and windy you’ll want to keep the sand out of your eyes. If it’s cold and grey you’ll still want to protect your eyes.
  • If your riding shoes have cleats, make sure they aren’t worn out. You’ll be riding in a group and may occasionally have to make an unanticipated stop.
  • Try to drink at least two liters of water every three to four hours. You may not realize how hot and dry it really is.
  • Bring whatever safety equipment you normally use. For all riders, this usually includes gloves. For off road riders, you may want to bring knee and elbow protectors.
  • PLEASE NOTE that mechanics are prepared to replace tubes if you have a flat. You will be charged for other repairs including new tires, new cleats and other new bike equipment.
  • If you have cleats that are unusual or tubes that are special in any way, bring spares with you. It’s unrealistic to expect the mechanics to have every replacement part for every bike.
  • An abundance of regular and energy snacks is available at virtually every stop so that you won’t ride hungry.
  • Remember that a five-day bike ride is more strenuous than five one-day rides spread over a few weeks.
  • WOL 2018 is in both the south and the area around Jerusalem. Start checking the weather forecast a week before. If it seems that there will be rain on the horizon, consider bringing shoe covers, extra socks and even an extra pair of riding shoes. Just in case.
  • You will NOT be riding if there is a torrential downpour. But lighter, steady rain is a possibility. Be prepared. Generally, you will not be riding in temperatures much below 10 degrees centigrade (50 degrees Fahrenheit). Headwinds are an occupational hazard.

Riding in a Group

Ask a veteran rider what the most dangerous part of the ride is, and one answer will inevitably be “starting.”

Don’t take chances that may endanger other riders. It’s all too easy to fall at the start.

For example, the first morning there are nearly 400 riders.

  • 50 Challenge
  • 150 Road and Tourist
  • 175 Off Road and Enduro

We plan to start out in heats: Challenge, Off Road including Enduro, On Road and Touring.

At the start of each day, and after each lunch and rest stop, please gather with the riders on your route. Form small, parallel rows. DO NOT overlap the wheels of the row in front of you.

Start off slowly. Leave at least one of your shoes not clipped in. Keep track of what’s happening to your left, right and in front. Be prepared to brake. No less important: Stay to the right side of the road.

As much as possible, ride a straight line. Try not to swerve to either side. Increase your speed gradually. This is not the time or place to show what an impressive rider you are. It is the time to avoid surprises.

Hitting the Road

Challenge, and Road and Tourist groups follow a pace car.

DO NOT PASS IT.

Call out your intentions: stopping, slowing, passing on the left, and turning (pointing to the left or right). If you have to stop, pull off to the right as far as you can. 

Ride on the right side of the road only. As far to the right as you can. Keep a safe distance from the rear wheel of the rider in front of you. DO NOT cross into the oncoming traffic lane, even if it seems that the police have closed the road.

Ride single file, or if conditions permit, two abreast. If you do ride someone, stay close together and line up your handlebars with your partner.

Part of the WOL experience is meeting and riding with new people. If you are in a discussion, pay attention to what’s happening behind you. While you are engrossed in conversation, you may be preventing someone from passing you.

Ride considerately. 

Hitting the Trail The Off Road and Enduro groups have a lead rider. DO NOT PASS. Keep your bike under control at all times. Make sure that your speed is appropriate for trail conditions. Keep a reasonable distance from the rider in front of you, so if someone stops suddenly you will not have an accident. Slow down as you approach blind corners on the trail. If you start to question what you’re doing, you should probably back off. Follow your instincts to play it safe. Keep within your limits.

If you see that you are not going to make it up or down a hill, call out, “Stopping”, and move off the trail as quickly as possible. The rider following you will be concentrating on the climb or descent and won’t want to cope with avoiding you. 

Stopping Please ride safely ALL DAY LONG. Don’t lose focus when you are coming in to a rest stop at the end of a long climb, coming in for lunch after an exhausting morning, or arriving at the hotel at the end of a grueling day. It’s easy to make mistakes when your blood sugar is low.

As you are stopping, remember not to overlap wheels, and not to weave back and forth or cross from side to side of the road. Be aware of the riders coming in behind you. Pull off quickly to the side of the road.

 Super Riders You know who you are. You’re generally on the Challenge and Enduro routes or are leading the pack on the On Road and Off Road routes. You are really strong and experienced riders. You know how to ride fast.

But for all your strength and experience, you are not immune to mistakes, and your bodies are not injury proof. Even a strong rider can fall. Stay focused and ride safely.

New Riders 

If you are new to cycling or new to group rides, Welcome. Wheels of Love is an incredibly worthwhile experience. One that you will want to repeat. If you have questions – either before you arrive or during the ride, talk to a more experienced rider. After the first day, just look for someone who is wearing a jersey from a previous year.

Don’t worry if you get tired or ride slowly. A bus follows the On Road and Tourist groups. You definitely won’t get lost. If necessary, get off your bike and wait for the bus. WOL timetables are coordinated with the police. If you don’t get to a designated place by a certain time, you may be asked to give your bike to a mechanic and ride on the support vehicle to the next stop or to the hotel.