It was dark and cold by the time I arrived. I never saw the Old City. I spent my time there lost and chilled, looking for a bus station to take me back to Tel Aviv.
A trip that many said was impossible wasn’t. But it wasn’t easy. And while it offered many pleasures, I’d have to be a completely different rider to enjoy the last 15 miles of brutal climbs and harrowing descents.
Here’s the rough outline: Highway 44 out of Tel Aviv from the ancient port of Jaffa. This very quickly become a fairly safe shoulder to ride on to Ramla. I opted to ride through Ramla and stop at the market for lunch. This trip was much quicker than my previous ride there. I reconnected to the highway 44 and continued riding to the southeast, where the road becomes a rolling two lane highway with the first of several climbs. This section is evidently popular with Israeli road riders.
Just before reaching Beit Shemesh, there is a junction where I jagged over to 395, a small mountain road that would eventually bring me into Jerusalem through the lovely southern suburb of Ein Karem which clings to the steep hills. I think it is the only way into Jerusalem by bike from the south and there are sections with no shoulders and a one-lane section as well.
Oh, it’s not long, but it is brutal.
With nothing to eat and running low on water, I experienced my first very serious “bonk” in a long, long time in which I seriously considering the value of “napping” to recover! No, better to walk than rest in such a dire situation. I also did not keep track of the time and was using photography as resting activity. This was a huge mistake, as I failed to put the hammer down soon enough (what little hammer I had in me) and before I knew it, it was dark and quickly cold. Thankfully, I was wearing wool that was keeping me somewhat warm despite being soaked in sweat.
There aren’t any pictures of Jerusalem. Too dark, too cold. However, I include one that I took when I finally hit the first store around 7:00 pm at night. It’s my first dinner (I ate some more in Jerusalem): beer, chocolate milk, ice cream bar, Whoppers, and a bag of salted peanuts.