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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Wishing a Happy and Green New Year to all our readers! – שנה טונה, מתוקה וירוקה!
Photo: Michael Green.