By Ellen Taxman, 2010 rider with Team Boulder
Having never participated in a group ride before, nor have I ridden on a bike for more than one full day, the Israel Ride required me to do both! Me and 125 other participants rode over 300+ miles from Jerusalem down to Eilat over the course of 6 days, with a heavenly day of rest on Shabbat in one of the most dramatic backdrops in all of Israel- home of the Mahktesh in Ramon. Each leg of the journey was incredible and remarkable. Not only were the sights and places we rode through interesting and beautiful, but my fellow riders that I met along the journey added a level of depth to the experience as we discussed our mutual interest in Israel and the organizations that we came together as a community to support.
There was no question in any one’s mind that the highlight of the trip was staying at the Arava Institute. We learned about the important work they are engaged in and their unique approach to bring people together from across the borders in order to solve mutually beneficial environmental issues. We also learned about Hazon’s work and the importance of sustainable food and farming practices that are becoming increasingly vital to providing an environmentally healthier approach to agriculture, not to mention, a much needed connection for people to understand where and how their food arrives at the table.
The Israel Ride was more than just a long bike ride, it was filled with people from all over the US that brought interesting perspectives and varying backgrounds which enriched our group conversations over meals and rest times. The Israel Ride has forever left an indelible memory and new found friendships for life.