By Sybil Kaplan/JNS.org
JERUSALEM—What kind of ground can you cover in three hours in Jerusalem?
Start at First Station (the renovated train station), go to the Haas Promenade for views of the city, continue past Mishkenot Shaananim and the historic windmill, through the Russian Compound, on to Jaffa Street, over the “harp” string bridge crossed by light rail passengers, through the Supreme Court area and the Knesset, past the Israel Museum to the Valley of the Cross, and back through the neighborhood of Rehavia.
The above itinerary represents the first collaboration of its kind in Jerusalem: bike tours launched by the Inbal Hotel and outdoor tour operator Gordon Active. Inbal Communications Manager Barak Roth says the Inbal “is the first hotel in Jerusalem to take upon themselves such an endeavor,” choosing Gordon Active as a partner “because they’re the leading company [in Israel] when it comes to bike tours.”
Amir Rockman, bicycle director of Gordon Active, recently kicked off the initiative by leading a bike tour from the Inbal for Israeli journalists (including this reporter), in a journey that was abbreviated from the tour company’s usual route through Jerusalem. Accompanying Amir was his brother Asaf, with whom he has operated Gordon Tours (the parent company of Gordon Active) for the past five years.
The Rockmans are a family of bicyclists from Jerusalem. On the press tour, Amir commented that he lives in Caesarea and bikes 30 miles to Tel Aviv on a regular basis. Asaf bikes seven miles—mostly uphill—from the Jerusalem suburb of Beit Nekofa, where he lives, to the city.
For the new tours, the Inbal provides riders the bikes, a helmet, a bottle of water, and a map for $30 for a full day or $20 for half a day. As part of the hotel’s “wellness concept,” Roth said the biking initiative offers participants “a new way of exploring Jerusalem and discovering what they didn’t know.”
Gordon Active (www.gordonactive.co) offers the following biking options: half or full day tours of Jerusalem; half or full day bike tours of Tel Aviv; night tours of Jerusalem; full day 20-mile tours of the Judean hills with visits to wineries; nine-day, 20-35 mile per day tours of northern Israel; eight-day, 25-40 mile per day tours from Jerusalem to Eilat; seven-day tours, including five days of 60-90 miles per day, from Jerusalem to Eilat; six-day tours across the Galilee; Negev mountain bike safaris of one to three days; and six one-day mountain bike tours. Outside of biking, the company offers 14-day self-guided tours; three food and wine tours of varying lengths; the Israel Deluxe--a nine-day tour including spa hotels, visiting wineries, farms, and restaurants; and five different family programs.
Count Zohar Dublin, an account executive for a Tel Aviv public relations firm, is a fan of Gordon Active’s new bike tour from the Inbal Hotel.
“I really enjoyed the ride through the streets of Jerusalem,” Dublin said. “The ride was beautiful, and this was a great chance to tour the city in a different and more active way.”
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