Is cycling a hobby in Israel? Is it a means of transportation? Is it a sport?
The answer to all three of these questions is yes. Cyclists use their bikes for different purposes and cycling has been steadily increasing and developing in Israel for many years. Cyclists enjoy a sense of freedom, independence, sportsmanship and efficiency. While cycling, one can look around and be part of the surroundings in the best way possible. It is also a great way to reach new and wonderful places.
Mountain Biking in Israel
Mountain biking has existed in Israel since the 1990’s, but it really took off in the early 2000’s, when thousands of people joined the sport. Cyclists bike on dirt paths, through forests and on narrow cycling paths, combining the wonders of nature with the joys of sport. Today there are dozens of bike paths in forests and open areas throughout Israel. There is also an Israel National Trail especially for cycling that runs along the length of the country. The Israel Cycling Federation has a national competitive cycling league that holds competitions in various different types of cycling.
Road Cycling has been around in Israel since before the establishment of the State. Cyclists ride long distances for sport, mainly alongside roads, either individually or in groups. Group cycling provides better conditions for cyclists as far as wind, assistance, safety and companionship. Certain areas in Israel, such as the Judea region and the Carmel Mountains are more popular and considered preferable because the roads are not crowded and the conditions are suited to cycling. The Israel Cycling Federation has a competitive league and in 2018 the Giro d’Italia, one of the top three bike races in the world, started in Israel.
Urban Cycling has always been around. In the early years of the State of Israel many people used bicycles for transportation because there were not many other available options. Today, nearly every town and city is promoting urban bike paths to allow people to cycle safely in urban settings. Urban cyclers ride an average of four kilometers per day on regular bicycles, and triple that on electric bikes. Urban cyclists see and feel the city, and nearly every ride allows them to discover something new, meet new people and enjoy the sport on the way to work or while running errands. Studies have shown that cycling on a daily basis benefits both physical health and emotional wellbeing.