• 08-12-2011
    traildoc
    Mountain Biking in the Palestine Area
    Recently a friend of mine went to Palestine to try and help the current politicians form a better National Park System. She indicated they currently have about 120,000 visitors that come to the Park each year and they are looking for away to increase the visitor turnout.

    I currently live in Sedona, AZ, which is one of the premiere mountain biking destinations in the US. Over the years I have been on a mission to improve the mountain biking user experience in Sedona and I believe I have helped with that cause by posting numerous great rides and videos of the Sedona trail system.

    The reason for this post is to try and figure out if Palestine has the potential for being a great world destination mountain biking mecca? If any of the viewers have had a great riding experience there or think there is potential for a great riding destination please let me know.

    Thanks,

    TD
  • 08-15-2011
    traildoc
    Does anyone know if there are any bike shops in the Palestinian territory that one could get in touch with to see if there are any group rides going on in the evening or early morning before it gets too hot?
  • 08-18-2011
    traildoc
    Does anyone who rides in the area have a favorite tire they like to use? What are the typical trail surfaces a rider could expect?

    TD
  • 08-20-2011
    traildoc
    Since I haven't ridden in Palestine yet, I am curious if there are any user conflicts similar to what we have going on in the US. In the US equestrians tear up our mountain bike trails and they do nothing to try and mitigate the damage they do to the trails.

    If I am invited to develop at mountain biking trail system in Palestine, will I be able exclude equestrians (and potentially motorcycles) from the trail network and limit the use to hikers and mountain bikers?

    TD
  • 08-23-2011
    traildoc
    Knock Knock, Anyone Home? I am kind of getting the picture that there isn't a lot of interest to go mountain biking in Palestine. It's hard to undersand how the Park thing is going to work out.

    Since Israel is close by maybe there are some Israeli riders that need some help building more fun trails to ride. Let me know if that is the case.

    TD
  • 08-27-2011
    traildoc
    I was wondering if doing club rides would help increase local rider turnout. I have been getting a ton of PM's from riders who are interested in doing night rides to avoid the high temperatures during the day.

    TD
  • 08-27-2011
    traildoc
    In Palestine do they have right of way rules? In the US mountain bikers yield to horses first then hikers. Is it possible mountain bikers could be at the top of the right of way group on the trails we build for others to enjoy?

    TD
  • 09-01-2011
    traildoc
    Does anyone have some GPS waypoints of Palestinian areas that they enjoy mountain biking on? I would like to research those areas on Google Earth for potential trail layout.

    TD
  • 09-04-2011
    reff
    i pass...
  • 09-05-2011
    lkfoster
    While I don't live in Palestine proper (I won't get into semantics on that one), I live 10 miles north of Gaza which Hamas seems to like to remind me of the fact from time to time. I usually ride up to less than a mile of the border with Gaza, but more about that later.

    To answer your questions in no particular order;

    -Disposal income for such frivolous activities as mountain biking is not too common from what I've seen in the West Bank. The West Bank is easy to get into from Israel, but I'd be surprised if a tourist could get into Gaza. Nobody that I know off, with the exception of an EU official that I know, can get into Gaza. Nor is recreational horse back riding.

    -Terrain near Gaza is hard-pack that likes to turn into deep sand as the summer goes on. Winter months semi-slicks work well but then you need paddle wheel-type tires. I'm currently using WTB (don't know the model) that I also use on the central California coast. As you get up into the hills in the West Bank near Jerusalem an all-purpose tire works better. One that can handle rocks is good as there are plenty of them.

    -I'd be very surprised if anybody rides a mountain bike in the West Bank or Gaza. There are no mtb trails that I've heard of from my Israeli co-workers that ride, though they may be a bit biased but I don't think so.

    -User conflicts are different here. Horses aren't a problem here, there aren't that many of them. You are much more likely to see sheep and goats on trail as the Beduins graze all over. They're not a problem either, though their herding dogs can be. When riding near the border picking a rest stop includes making sure that there's not a clear line-of-sight for snipers. The border is not the same as back in the states. Even riding close to the border invites being questioned by soldiers with full combat gear. That, and the mine fields which as far as I've seen at least have fences and signs.

    -Within Israel proper mountain biking is fully established and quite popular. There are any number of well marked trails. One of my favorites, the one right next to Gaza, is Be'eri. The loops are from 20-30 km in length and take you through WW2 bunkers and 400 AD water cisterns amongst other things. There's an excellent bike shop and canteen at the end which is nice after a ride in the mid-90s. I highly recommend it if you're in the neighborhood. I'd post the GPS coordinates but a recent hard drive crash took care of that.

    -There's some night riding here, but not a lot. Most Iraelis ride at 0600 to beat the heat. The strange bit is that my Irish co-riders and I usually show up around 1000. While I'm used to AZ heat, I have no idea why they do it.

    L.K. Foster
    Ashkeon, Israel/Phoenix, AZ
  • 09-05-2011
    traildoc
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by lkfoster View Post
    While I don't live in Palestine proper (I won't get into semantics on that one), I live 10 miles north of Gaza which Hamas seems to like to remind me of the fact from time to time. I usually ride up to less than a mile of the border with Gaza, but more about that later.

    To answer your questions in no particular order;

    -Disposal income for such frivolous activities as mountain biking is not too common from what I've seen in the West Bank. The West Bank is easy to get into from Israel, but I'd be surprised if a tourist could get into Gaza. Nobody that I know off, with the exception of an EU official that I know, can get into Gaza. Nor is recreational horse back riding.

    -Terrain near Gaza is hard-pack that likes to turn into deep sand as the summer goes on. Winter months semi-slicks work well but then you need paddle wheel-type tires. I'm currently using WTB (don't know the model) that I also use on the central California coast. As you get up into the hills in the West Bank near Jerusalem an all-purpose tire works better. One that can handle rocks is good as there are plenty of them.

    -I'd be very surprised if anybody rides a mountain bike in the West Bank or Gaza. There are no mtb trails that I've heard of from my Israeli co-workers that ride, though they may be a bit biased but I don't think so.

    -User conflicts are different here. Horses aren't a problem here, there aren't that many of them. You are much more likely to see sheep and goats on trail as the Beduins graze all over. They're not a problem either, though their herding dogs can be. When riding near the border picking a rest stop includes making sure that there's not a clear line-of-sight for snipers. The border is not the same as back in the states. Even riding close to the border invites being questioned by soldiers with full combat gear. That, and the mine fields which as far as I've seen at least have fences and signs.

    -Within Israel proper mountain biking is fully established and quite popular. There are any number of well marked trails. One of my favorites, the one right next to Gaza, is Be'eri. The loops are from 20-30 km in length and take you through WW2 bunkers and 400 AD water cisterns amongst other things. There's an excellent bike shop and canteen at the end which is nice after a ride in the mid-90s. I highly recommend it if you're in the neighborhood. I'd post the GPS coordinates but a recent hard drive crash took care of that.

    -There's some night riding here, but not a lot. Most Iraelis ride at 0600 to beat the heat. The strange bit is that my Irish co-riders and I usually show up around 1000. While I'm used to AZ heat, I have no idea why they do it.

    L.K. Foster
    Ashkeon, Israel/Phoenix, AZ

    lk:

    I have waiting patiently for someone to respond to my original post. My friend works for the USFS and was invited over to try and improve the Park System in Palestine to try and bring in more tourists, so I thought maybe there would be a way to piggy back onto her project and develop a mountain biking tourist destination. Do you think there are a number of young Palestinians who would want to turn out and volunteer their time to help me build a fun trail system.

    From what you have said so far it seems like this would be a grass roots project and that I might be over my head at this point. It is too bad that something like mountain biking couldn't be the catylist to change the way Palestinians feel about Americans, to a more positive viewpoint. Maybe if I got some reallly cool trails put in I could get some of the major mouintain bike companies to donate a few bikes from each company to have a fleet of 20 or so bikes to use on the trails for a nominal fee to cover wear and tare costs for worn out components.

    Maybe it might even be possible for GW Bush to come over and help put on some clinics for some of the better riders. What do you think?

    TD
  • 09-05-2011
    lkfoster
    I do know that the PA is trying to encourage tourism within the West Bank as the security situation settles down. While things are quiet, I'd be surprised if there were many international tourists, especially Americans. None of the Israelis that I work with feel comfortable traveling to the West Bank.

    Judging from the statistics that I see most Palestinians are just trying to make a living by any means possible. They are in the same situation here as Mexicans in the states, lots cross the Green line illegally to try to find casual day jobs. I doubt it they're going to volunteer for much of anything.

    You're kidding about GWB I hope.
  • 09-06-2011
    traildoc
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by lkfoster View Post
    I do know that the PA is trying to encourage tourism within the West Bank as the security situation settles down. While things are quiet, I'd be surprised if there were many international tourists, especially Americans. None of the Israelis that I work with feel comfortable traveling to the West Bank.

    Judging from the statistics that I see most Palestinians are just trying to make a living by any means possible. They are in the same situation here as Mexicans in the states, lots cross the Green line illegally to try to find casual day jobs. I doubt it they're going to volunteer for much of anything.

    You're kidding about GWB I hope.

    lk:

    Why do you think the younger local community wouldn't be interesting in developing a fun mountain bike park near the West Bank? If you were to show some videos of fun mountain biking rides in Israel wouldn't that spark some interest?

    It seems like young people everywhere have lots of energy and directing it in a positive direction to distract them from just sitting around and doing nothing would be a good thing.

    Just think of the PR GW would get if he were to ride with a bunch of young Palestinians on a trail system they personally built.

    TD
  • 09-07-2011
    AmirBernard
    i live near the west bank and ive been there (my friend moved to that area, not ''deep'' inside the west bank but still..) i can say its not the safest or most pleasant place to ride at, but there are plenty of mountains there and the scenery is beautiful if you take out all the leftards, soldiers, protestors and thieves
  • 09-07-2011
    lkfoster
    What Amir said, there's plenty of interesting places to ride on the safe side of the "border".

    As for Bush, my meaning was that he wouldn't last 5 minutes in Palestine. Some Americans aren't all that popular in the Arab world and he's on the short list.
  • 09-07-2011
    traildoc
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by lkfoster View Post
    What Amir said, there's plenty of interesting places to ride on the safe side of the "border".

    As for Bush, my meaning was that he wouldn't last 5 minutes in Palestine. Some Americans aren't all that popular in the Arab world and he's on the short list.

    lk:

    When do you think it will be safe for Americans to travel in the West Bank. Do you know if there are any bike shops in Palestine or do the mountain biker just purchase items via the internet?

    TD
  • 09-08-2011
    lkfoster
    I'd give it at least two generations after the original source of irritation is removed before it'll be safe to ride in Gaza or the West Bank based on what I've seen in Northern Ireland. But I don't see a solution to the original source of irritation being removed anytime soon so I wouldn't book your tickets just yet.

    I haven't seen any bike shops in Palestine but the two in the Arab section of my city are on a whole different level than what you're probably used to. A $200 bike in the states is too new and fancy.

    Bike shops on the Israel side are a totally different matter, the ones that I use are first rate.

    As for internet, it may be possible to ship parts to the West Bank but there's an embargo in place for Gaza.
  • 09-08-2011
    traildoc
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by lkfoster View Post
    I'd give it at least two generations after the original source of irritation is removed before it'll be safe to ride in Gaza or the West Bank based on what I've seen in Northern Ireland. But I don't see a solution to the original source of irritation being removed anytime soon so I wouldn't book your tickets just yet.

    I haven't seen any bike shops in Palestine but the two in the Arab section of my city are on a whole different level than what you're probably used to. A $200 bike in the states is too new and fancy.

    Bike shops on the Israel side are a totally different matter, the ones that I use are first rate.

    As for internet, it may be possible to ship parts to the West Bank but there's an embargo in place for Gaza.

    So what do Palestinian teenagers do for fun? If they had bikes to ride around in their neighborhoods would they like to do that? Could they ride bikes to school?

    TD
  • 09-09-2011
    AmirBernard
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by traildoc View Post
    So what do Palestinian teenagers do for fun?

    TD





  • 09-09-2011
    katsooba
    but palestine doesnt exist, its a myth.
  • 09-09-2011
    ace_ventura
    FYI, no such state or a place called "Palestian". You rather mean Israel. Israel is fully updated with the mtb world so we have plenty of trails and vast variety of places to ride, including two DH locations with cable cars. We also have plenty of "one-stop" bike shops full equipped with the latest stuff. You can certainly have a good time biking around here. If you really think of biking in "war" zones you take the risk of injury/kidnap/getting arrested. I think you need to watch the news more.
  • 09-09-2011
    lkfoster
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AmirBernard View Post




    That, and shooting Grads at my apartment.
  • 09-09-2011
    traildoc
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AmirBernard View Post

    They seem very athletic. Would their parents sign a Waiver that would protect me from a lawsuit if one of them used poor judgement and wiped out on a fairly steep trail?

    TD
  • 09-10-2011
    perttime
    I wouldn't worry about waivers. Just buy them bikes and they'll put them to good use. Either riding or selling them to buy more food or explosives.
  • 09-10-2011
    AmirBernard
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by traildoc View Post
    They seem very athletic. Would their parents sign a Waiver that would protect me from a lawsuit if one of them used poor judgement and wiped out on a fairly steep trail?

    TD

    only when strapped to explosives.
  • 09-11-2011
    traildoc
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AmirBernard View Post
    only when strapped to explosives.

    Amir;

    Do you think it would be possible to create a different mindset by bringing mountain biking to the West Bank? Rather than strapping on explosives the teenager could look forward to a fun mountain bike ride which would be a deterrent to the explosive route.

    TD
  • 09-12-2011
    AmirBernard
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by traildoc View Post
    Amir;

    Do you think it would be possible to create a different mindset by bringing mountain biking to the West Bank? Rather than strapping on explosives the teenager could look forward to a fun mountain bike ride which would be a deterrent to the explosive route.

    TD

    no, they need to be re educated so they wont be as violent to people from israel/the US
  • 09-12-2011
    katsooba
    different mindset?

    now instead of running with belt bombs they would cycle at you in full speed.

    also imagine what rob warner would say about arab downhill rider..

    LOOK AT THE T.......BOOOOOOOOM!!!!!!!!!
  • 09-13-2011
    lkfoster
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by traildoc View Post
    Amir;

    Do you think it would be possible to create a different mindset by bringing mountain biking to the West Bank? Rather than strapping on explosives the teenager could look forward to a fun mountain bike ride which would be a deterrent to the explosive route.

    TD

    It would be nice, but not too likely. This seems to be the more common after school activity in my neighborhood.

  • 09-13-2011
    perttime
    But seriously...

    Whatever the politics of the Palestinian areas (not good, whichever way you look at it), the economics is not such that much of the local population could afford a bike that is suitable for riding trails. For outsiders, there's too many risks caused by the politics.

    ... And I refuse to blame the politics on just one side. In the last 100 years, there have been too many bad moves by too many sides, not all of them exactly local. I also refuse to believe there's any easy solutions just around the corner.

    I have not been to Gaza but did a little excursion to West Bank many many years ago, in a UN marked bus. I recall that the terrain could be quite suitable for MTB.
  • 09-13-2011
    traildoc
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by perttime View Post
    But seriously...

    Whatever the politics of the Palestinian areas (not good, whichever way you look at it), the economics is not such that much of the local population could afford a bike that is suitable for riding trails. For outsiders, there's too many risks caused by the politics.

    ... And I refuse to blame the politics on just one side. In the last 100 years, there have been too many bad moves by too many sides, not all of them exactly local. I also refuse to believe there's any easy solutions just around the corner.

    I have not been to Gaza but did a little excursion to West Bank many many years ago, in a UN marked bus. I recall that the terrain could be quite suitable for MTB.

    perttime:

    I had thought there might be an economic issue that is why I was hoping to get several mountain bike companies to donate some bike for the project. I was also thinking that there are many riders who have older technology bikes that they might be willing to donate to a worthy cause. A five to ten year old bike might create a mindset change to the right teenager.

    Are there any citizens from different countries who are neutral politically who might travel to Gaza and the West Bank as part of a vacation, that also might also be into mountain biking? Maybe those individuals would want to help out. How about the Arabs who live in Israel, do they ever hook-up the the locals to do a mountain bike ride? Those Arabs who live in Israel might be neutral politically since they see the benefits of a more economically viable place to live. Maybe they would want to help out.

    TD
  • 09-13-2011
    perttime
    Beside the other points...

    Before you do anything, you should look for some local backing or at least approval.

    If you have the approval of some local Palestinian authorities, be it a Minister, Mayor, or Imam, you have some chance of accomplishing ... something. If you just barge in pushing something to the people, I doubt you'll like the results.

    Don't try to do it everywhere. Pick a location: a town or village. Or better, ask someone who really knows the area for a location.

    Your chances could also increase if you go with an organisation that already works there. Médecins Sans Frontières or the Red Cross (or Crescent) might not quite fit...

    Also, find out the Israeli view on bringing in a bunch of bikes (and people?). It is surprising what kind of things can become complicated.
  • 09-21-2011
    traildoc
    If the UN recognizes Palestine as being a State will that help with the chances of building a mountain biking trail system in Gaza or the West Bank? What other kinds of positive change will possibly take place if the UN votes in Palestine's favor?
  • 09-24-2011
    traildoc
    After listening to the talking heads of both Palestine and Israel it doesn't seem like a peace agreement is going to take place no matter what the UN decides to do. Apparently Israel wants peace more than Palestine, but the Palestine leadership is not willing to guarantee Israel's security if there is a border change.

    I wonder if there ever could be some type of security guarantee that both Palestine and Israel could be held to, that both groups could live with? Maybe some type of total destruction by a third party if one country attacked the other after a peace resolution was signed.

    Looks like the bike trail idea may be set back a while.
  • 09-24-2011
    katsooba
    sure there can be, move all arabs to Jordan.
  • 09-25-2011
    perttime
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by traildoc View Post
    I wonder if there ever could be some type of security guarantee that both Palestine and Israel could be held to, that both groups could live with?

    Ever? It is possible. Soon? Grudgingly, which means "not really".

    As I said: "In the last 100 years, there have been too many bad moves by too many sides"

    The mutual ... call it "distrust", to be gentle, does not disappear quickly. I don't know if anyone in USA still feels strongly about the Civil War. We had ours, in Finland, in 1918. People no longer hate each other over it, maybe because we had common enemies in the mean time. But people can get passionate over whose attrocities were the worse back then.
  • 05-07-2012
    xccat
    disposable income what!!! f that my bikes are the best use of my income that i can think of, house place i can sleep in to rest up for next ride, car takes me to park, Food nourishes my body so i can ride,wife....cant think of a reason to spend money there, oh yea she cooks the food, dude this is the dumbest use of my otherwise useless input, put your own ass in peril but don't kill any of my riding buddies. lets get drunk and stay home, that sounds better, send us pics of your ride there with kevlar helmet and body armor.
  • 02-21-2013
    mbiker10
    Hi L.K. Foster
    Are you still living in Ashkelon? If so, maybe you can hook up with my nephew,Mike, and show him so good rides in the area. He and his wife just made Aliyah from southern California last October and are living in the Ashkelon Marina. The problem is he doesn't have a mountain bike. If you want to meet a new aliyah contact me at
    mbiker10(at)sbcglobal.net and I'll give you his phone # and e-mail.
    Thanks
    Neal
  • 02-21-2013
    lkfoster
    Neal,
    I've been gone for a year now so can't help there.

    If he's at the Marina he picked a good spot. My apartment overlooked it, nice view and the rockets couldn't reach it. It's a bit far on the decent grocery stores but close to the only good restaurants open on sabbot.

    There's an excellent series of trails and bike shop that rents MTBs at Kibbutz Be'eri a bit south of Ashkelon. Take hwy 4 south to 34 to 232. Take a left at 25, right takes you to Gaza, and back on 232 to get there. The owner and his staff all speak English if that's an issue and are very helpful. I posted a video of part of the trail on YouTube, look for "Be'eri".

    Once he gets sorted with a bike the trail closer to Ashkelon is G'varam, just a bit south of Ashkelon on 4. Look for the mtb sign. It's a more interesting XC trail. It's well marked, as are most trails in Israel.

    The country is pretty good for MTBs with trails all over.

    Let me know if there's anything else that I can help with.