Apr 23, 2017  By Bob Weiss  Category: Blueprint Negev,

Bike ride for Negev town of Yerucham blazes trail of desert delight

Riders Joel Reinstein, Geri Shatz and Vivian Wong in Yerucham Lake Park

We just completed the first ever Ride for Yerucham and we can’t wait to get started on next year’s event.

The ride from April 2-6, four days of off-road Negev spectacle and a blessed day of spa relaxation, was centered in Yerucham, which I would argue is the most interesting town in the Negev. Each night we stayed in the lovely Desert Iris Hotel, and biked out each day to a different place in the Negev. We were furnished with new mountain bikes and helmets, and had professional guides and support every mile of the way.

Our itinerary brought us through Kibbutz Sde Boker, featuring a private tour of Ben Gurion’s cottage, and included a hike through the Ein Avdat National Park. We greeted the sun at Masada, then biked through the spectacular wilderness of the Dead Sea. 

Finally, we started our ride in Yerucham’s lovely lake park, biked through town (accompanied by Mayor Michael Biton) to the rim of the nearby Machtesh Yerucham. Then, with full traffic protection, we rode the highway as it dropped almost 1,000 feet in a mile and half from the rim of the crater to its floor, where we made our own lunch from scratch, assisted by young participants from JNF partner Green Horizons, which teaches kids about Israel's history, geography, and culture through outdoor field trips. 

In addition to the bike rides, the event included a Bedouin dinner, a meal at the home of one of the celebrated culinary queens of Yerucham, and a farewell party thrown by the municipality staff.  We all saw firsthand the remarkable progress being made in housing development, the site for JNF’s River Park project, and met some of the remarkable people leading community development projects in Yerucham.

The weather was spectacularly sunny and in the 80s, maybe a little cooler in the evening.   As planned, we were in the prettiest parts of the Negev at the prettiest time of the year.  

More on Yerucham
Suprises abound in Yerucham, a little Negev town with big dreams
Catch and release: Bird-banding in Yerucham brings unexpected joy 

The ride, one of the first Israel-based fundraisers sponsored by a JNF task force, was not only successful in raising funds for JNF projects in Yerucham, but gave us some valuable insight into improvements for next year’s ride. 

The Yerucham Task Force is chaired by JNF National Secretary Geri Shatz. The ride was co-chaired by Joel Reinstein and me, a Yerucham task force member and Makor member. The ride was produced by JNF professional Rami Hazan, with assistance from Green Horizons staff Lavi Zamir and Ido Reichman Eisakovits. 

Watch for our upcoming trip video, and announcements about dates, sign-ups, and itineraries.

Bob Weiss, Yerucham Mayor Michael Biton, ride co-chair Joel Reinstein, Yerucham Task Force Chair Geri Shatz