The Cycling Nightlife in Jerusalem

Who ever said that there’s no nightlife in Jerusalem?

When it comes to pubs and clubs, Tel Aviv surely has the edge by a long way. Israel’s Sin City is also more bike-friendly with its tree-lined cycle paths and flat topography, but anyone bold enough to take to Jerusalem’s streets at night on two wheels has a treat in store for them.

Putting an end to the longest period of this Green Prophet’s life without owning a bike (approx. 13 months), I recently bought myself a brand-new second-hand pedal-powered Raleigh. After a few days of mocking sedentary motorists in the city’s clogged roads, yelling at homicidal bus drivers and generally enjoying the freedom that only a bicycle brings, I went out for a nocturnal ride with a group of cyclists who venture out each week for an petroleum-free tour of Jerusalem’s hilly terrain, often charting parts of the city one wouldn’t venture into, particularly after dark.

After rendezvous-ing at the Nitzan bike store on Jaffa Street, the 30+ strong group hit the backstreets of the orthodox Jewish neighbourhoods, speeding down one-way Mea Shearim before the ascent to Mount Scopus (for a night view of the desert) and the Mount of Olives (with its own priceless panorama of the illuminated Old City – see photo). The near-45 degree descent from the Arab village on the famous Mount was followed by a two-wheeled scramble through the winding alleyways and rooftops of the Old City’s Muslim and Jewish Quarters.

No loud music, repetitive beats, or even a drop of beer (until afterwards, at least), but it was one of the best nights out I’ve had for a while. Two hours of exhilaration: it’s free, healthy – and it’s green. In any case, my new bike is going way faster than the Holy City’s new light railway…

To find out when the next ride is email: [email protected]

Wishing a Happy and Green New Year to all our readers! – שנה טונה, מתוקה וירוקה!

:: Nitzan Bike Store.
:: Cycle Jerusalem.

Photo: Michael Green.

About Michael Green

Born into a family of auto mechanics and engineers in east London’s urban sprawl, Michael bucked the trend and chose a bicycle instead of a car.A relative newcomer to Jerusalem, he works as a freelance journalist writing for the Jerusalem Post and other publications.Before moving to Israel, he worked for an environmental NGO in England where he developed a healthy obsession with organic vegetables and an aversion to pesticides and GMOs.Michael’s surname is pure coincidence.Michael can be reached at michael (at) greenprophet (dot) com.

13 thoughts on “The Cycling Nightlife in Jerusalem”

  1. They moved the night rides to a different location.
    Go to http://www.facebook.com/cyclejerusalem and ask there when the next night ride is. When I used to go on the night ride, it was every other Thursday night.

  2. Looks like Nitzan Bikes are out of business. The link doesn’t work. Another great idea to die? I love the idea of night cycling in Jerusalem.

  3. I have seen 2 documentaries on Tel Aviv: One good and the other…disturbing. The good one emphasized a lot of what you wrote in this post about more people using bicycles. My brother is a huge bike lover: He owns 2 bicycles and a trike. He’s on his bicycle so much on any given day that it’s amazing to me that he still has his truck, but he insists on having it for long trips outside of the bike paths (in Denver, CO). Knowing that, it’s good to see the positive aspects of Tel Aviv since I was trying to (and succeeded) in envisioning the mountain, the sweet smell in the air, and the wind on my face as you described biking away from the mountain (in a downward spiral as I pictured it). Brilliant!

  4. Daniella says:

    Same here. I’ll be shoving my bike into the luggage compartment of a bus from Beer Sheva!

  5. james says:

    me too! I’m grabbing a bike & coming with you, Michael…

  6. Jeff says:

    What a great way to see parts of Jerusalem that would otherwise be completely inaccessibly by bike in daylight. Sounds fun. Can’t wait to do it.

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