topics: fat (food), battlefields from 1947-48 War for Independence, group reunification, rare Israeli snow storm, geography; jump to dispatch

BikeAbout Log


Rider Notes: January 11–12, 1998

Food of the Day: Fat

While some people try to avoid fat in their diets, the BikeAbout team finds itself drawn to this glorious substance. Everyone knows that carbohydrates — especially simple carbohydrates (like pasta), which are broken down into energy easily by the body — are an excellent food source for athletes. Fat is also an essential source of energy, producing twice as much as the same amount of carbohydrates.

During long periods of sustained physical activity the body uses all available energy sources, starting with the source that is most easily broken down into energy (carbohydrates). Next, the fat stores are used. If forced to, the body will finally turn to protein (also known as muscle, the same muscles we have worked so hard to obtain), breaking down these stores in times of desperation. When this happens, a rider is said to be "bonking."

For this reason, we listen to the cravings of our body and feed it what it screams for. Excessive fat in the diet is not something that is considered healthy; fat is a relatively compact energy source and is therefore stored in various areas of the body, including the blood stream, which can result in high cholesterol. However, a moderate amount combined with an athletic regime is considered normal and healthy. This means that the BikeAbouters (well most of the BikeAbouters — Ethan's body is still working on the energy it has already "stored" in various parts of his body) can munch on ice cream and candy bars pretty much whenever they want. Padraic and Anthony's bodies seem to be especially vocal in their need and desire for saturated fat and they frequently rush to tame this roaring beast with offerings of chocolate, ice cream, and, of course, candy bars.

Person of the Day: Our hosts, Beni and Esther van Vlymen, and Yefim and Nona Manusov

As we travel around the Mediterranean, we try to arrange homestays whenever possible. We feel that this gives us a better opportunity to get to know the people of the places we visit (especially seeing as we are on such a tight schedule) and also helps to stretch our budget (which is just about stretched to the limit).

Anthony and Ethan are being housed and fed during the first two nights in Jerusalem by two of Ethan's cousins, Yefim and Nona Manusov. click to view a photograph Both are relatively new citizens of Israel having immigrated from Kiev six years ago.

Beni and Esther van Vlymen click to view a photograph were gracious enough to house andrEa and Corinne. Beni is an active member of the cycling organization, Jerusalem for Bikes, and has been a biker for most of his life.

Our heartfelt thanks go out to these warm souls for the comfy places to sleep and yummy food they provided and most of all for making us feel like we were a part of their home during our stay.

Place of the Day: Battlefields of the 1948 War for Independence / Arab-Israeli War

Today we biked up from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on Highway 1 (get out your maps! click to view a map) and then detoured to Highway 434 for the final push into city. Highway 434 was the site of some of the most ferocious fighting of the 1947–48 Israeli War for Independence (known in the Arab World as the first Arab-Israeli War). During the war, the combined Arab forces of Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, Transjordania [Jordan], and Iraq cut the supply route the Israelis had been using using (which would later become Highway 1). Desperate to re-supply the besieged soldiers within and around Jerusalem, the Israeli forces fought there way up a different valley (now traced by Highway 434).

Today many monuments to the soldiers that died fighting to open this supply line line the road side. They range from simple stone plaques to the entire wing of a fighter plane that was left where it fell during a battle.

Group Dispatch, January 11–12

picture of Anthony

Back in the saddle again! Yesterday, the BikeAbout gang regrouped in Tel Aviv after a three-week hiatus from biking around the Mediterranean. You may recall that back in December, following our arrival in Palestine and then Israel, the BikeAbout team quickly shrank to three members as first Padraic and then Ethan returned to the United States. Next, Anthony returned to Egypt to attempt to see some of the sights that BikeAbout missed during its trip there. He planned to also do a little Scuba diving in the Red Sea and to visit Petra in Jordan. Corinne and andrEa remained in Israel and Palestine and kept themselves busy making arrangements, appointments, and announcements for our upcoming Israel visit.

With Ethan's return to Israel on the night of January 11, the majority of the group was reunited in Tel Aviv (Padraic is stuck in the United States for another week having major dental work done — note to loyal readers: floss after every meal!) and preparations began for the second part of BikeAbout's Mediterranean voyage.

Unfortunately, our reunion in Tel Aviv coincided with the worst winter storm to hit Israel in the last four years. Granted, this was nothing compared to the ice storms that had hit Canada and parts of the U.S., and it certainly was not the ice/snow/sleet/electrical woes that our fearless (though apparently quite chilled) Webmaster, Elizabeth, had been enduring in Maine, but hey, we are in the Mediterranean after all — source of the idea of a "Mediterranean climate." As we huddled inside the apartment of our new friend Segit and listened to the thunder, rain, hail (about two inches of hail fell!) and ferocious wind, we could still bask in the warmth of a cup of tea and discuss our plans for the next week. It quickly became obvious that sleep was the one thing that had not been scheduled into our time in Israel, so after a tasty pasta dinner with our friend Oren Mitz (vice editor of the Israeli cycling magazine called Ofnayim), we quickly retired to our respective host homes in Tel Aviv and tried to get a good night's sleep.

The next morning, we regrouped and began the ride to Jerusalem. Tel Aviv is situated on the Mediterranean coastal plain, but Jerusalem is located about 65 km (40 mi) inland and at a much, much higher elevation. As we biked through the farmland of the coastal region, we welcomed an added push from the last wind of the winter storm as it rushed inland towards the foothills of Jerusalem.

Eventually, we started up into the hills, Ethan and Anthony using muscles that have lain dormant for the last three weeks (see the Tech Fact of the Day)..a Along the way, we saw many monuments to the soldiers that fought in the 1947–48 War for Independence (see the Place of the Day). Then, after some inclines that we already thought were tough enough, we really started to climb . . . and the scenery immediately started to change. The hills around Jerusalem are a series of rocky fields and slopes. click to view a photograph click to view a photograph One person we met even joked that if there are two things that Israel is not in short supply of, it is opinions and rocks.

As the sun started to set, we reached evidence of the actual snow that had fallen in Jerusalem and the surrounding area (we later leaned that 20 cm / 8 in had blanketed the area the previous night). The closer we got to Jerusalem, the more cars we saw full of families who had driven out into the country so that their children could play in the snow. We saw people young and old having snow fights, building snowmen, and crafting snow angels; for many of them, this was the first time they had ever seen snow! The BikeAbout crew was much less enamored with the white stuff as we tried to bike through the billowing clouds of steam we raised with every exhalation.

Time was passing quickly and the temperature was plummeting, so the BikeAbouters quickly sought out their host homes and tried to warm up and relax in preparation for the next day's activities.

Go to Previous Rider Notes PageGo to Next Rider Notes Page

Questions? Ask Anthony Go To Anthony's Page!

Return to Fast Facts

BikeAbout Itinerary & Journal Discussion Groups About Israel eDscape Projects BikeAbout Scrapbook
Discussions About

About BikeAbout Mediterranean Journey BikeAbout Partners Resource Library

AquanetInternet access and Web hosting while in Israel were provided by Aquanet.

Daedalus Design Group Computer Curriculum Corporation Compaq

Copyright 1997-2004 BikeAbout. All rights reserved.