The Bedouin village of Um Bateen, just outside Beersheba in southern Israel, has no paved roads – which makes it the perfect place for a new mountain bike club. Now the Bikes4All project sponsored by the Israel Cycling Federation and funded by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, has distributed free bikes to more than 1,400 Jewish, Arab, Druze and Christian kids throughout Israel. Fifty of them were donated to two schools in Um Bateen. (See above video).
Boys from Israel’s Bedouin sector learn about the value of cycling as part of the Bikes4All project, which was set up by Eyal Hershtik, who quit the world of high-tech after seven years and devoted himself to the world of bicycles.
Hershtik says that he hopes to pass on the positive aspects of cycling to youth all over Israel. As he sees it, these include the values of working together; learning about responsibility – for the equipment and each other; road safety; and concern for the environment.
Once kids prove their commitment to the project, they are allowed to take the bikes home, fulfilling another aim of Bikes4All – that the boys will have their own transportation from home to school and back again. The kids are learning not just about how to bike, but through their courses are learning through their instructors how to clean up their immediate environment, and more.
This comes along with the good news that the Israeli government is putting some $30 million US into biking infrastructure in Israel.
Read more on cycling in Israel and the Middle East:
Yinon Lehrer Designs Hanging/Bike Shower For Urban Cycling
A Quick Guide to Cycling in the Middle East
Is Petrified Bike a Metaphor for Dying Dead Sea?
Cycling Through Israeli Wine and History
Tel Aviv Cafe Offers Great Cappuccino and Bike Rentals
Bike Messengers Take Over Tel Aviv
Haifa University Generates Profile of the Average Israeli Cyclist
The Cycling Nightlife in Jerusalem