Planet Brompton

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Monats Archiv: März 2020

Israel – cycling with a Brompton folding bike

Cycling in Tel Aviv: no special pleasure!
Cycling in the rest of Israel: terrific!

We came to Israel from Sinai via Eilat. We already knew a little bit what would expect us.
On our bicycle (world) trip 2009-2011 we already took this way. But at that time not with the folding bikes.
We could actually enjoy it this time so much more. We planned the stages so they were not too long. In the Negev desert we did not want to miss a moment, we wanted to enjoy.

We shimmied from kibbutz to kibbutz until we finally arrived in Mitzpe Ramon at the crater Ramon. In front of us the crater rim, rising steeply. Our last stage in 2019. It’s an evening before New Year’s Eve. On the way up the serpentines we are stopped by a car driver who can not believe it. With a Brompton (he has one himself) can not actually go. But it goes.
And of course we are rewarded with a breathtaking view.

Cycling up crater Ramon!

The way up to here!

The roads are super developed. Of course, there is no bike lane, but there is also only little car traffic. This desert landscape is breathtaking and actually you should not believe that anything grows here. But it does. The Israelis are conquering the desert. I don’t want to write about sense or nonsense here.

So we visit different Kibbuze among other things Ne’ot Semadar and Lotan.
So we spend the night in a mud house, learn something about viticulture and even about handicrafts. Oh, much more.
We came by bike, which once again makes everything a little easier. For Israelis, the thought of riding from Cairo to Tel Aviv is as far from feasible as a flight to Mars is for me.

A not really nice experience is when rockets fly over your heads and the firing is practiced.
Large parts of the desert are military territory.
The „friendly desert“ is what they call the Negev, which at 12,000 square kilometers covers about 60 percent of the state of Israel.

So we’ve made it through the desert and our next longer stop will be in Be’er Sheva.
Not a place for tourists, but for photographers :-).
A bit hilly, but that’s no problem.
Otherwise, I can only recommend the place to you if you are interested in architecture.

About the distances!

From Eilat to Mieze Ramon it is only 150km. I don’t remember how many days we were on the road in the end, but the Landschaf impressed me so much that it seemed like weeks.
The next stage to Be’er Sheva was a little more than 100km. Scenically completely unattractive we did that in one day.
From there you can take the route to the Gaza Strip, down to the coast and make a stopover in Ashdod and the next day comfortably cycle in to Tel Aviv. Always along the sea.

Brompton as a photo model 🙂

The best encounter ever:
A selfie with R2D2!

Selfie with R2D2. What an honor.

Finally, we had to go back home to Berlin. We went to the Brompton Store in Tel Aviv, asked for 2 boxes for the flight back and of course they were very helpful and gave them to us.

31. März 2020 Brompton, Reisebericht

Tel Aviv – cycling with a Brompton

The Israelis are special!
A mixture of Arabic, French, Austrian, European, Eastern European… from Yemen from Iran, from Germany from England. They are Jewish, Muslim and Christian.
Somewhere between antique and modern.

All this is reflected in their food. They are convinced that they have their own Israeli food, invented here. However, their favorite dishes, like shakshuka, come from Tunisia and hummus? Does it come from Lebanon or Syria.
What about falafel? Maybe even from Palestine?
So the food doesn’t care about religion or origin. Then why can’t they do it together?


I am sitting here in a square at the end of the famous and popular Rothschild Street. Today are elections and that means a day off for many.

Ingenious… at this place there are tables and sockets and a free internet.
Annoying: the Israelis are incredibly loud. Not only the children.
We were looking for a coffee to work, but you can forget that, it’s because you are hard of hearing. There is loud music everywhere and people have to drown it out for entertainment.

The Israeli people seem to be on the road on their days off. Some jog, cycle, surf, others sit in the countless cafés or are busy with their many children. 4 children seem to be a kind of standard. Of course, Israel must grow, you need offspring.
3 years everybody goes to the military. Refusal is not an option.
Isrtael is small and yet in Tel Aviv you don’t notice the problems with the neighboring countries Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Gaza Strip and West Bank.
While bombs are falling all around and the world seems to be coming to an end, in Tel Aviv on the beach people fly kites, celebrate parties and live a colourful life.

Streetartist Imaginary Duck with an Elefant from Streetartist Berger H Elefant, Berlin

Bicycles and cyclists in Tel Aviv
Wow, the Israelis are sporty. Seen on the beach in Tel Aviv.
There is jogging, biking, surfing, playing matkot (similar to beach tennis) and everybody is somehow in motion in full sportswear.
The equipment is excellent!

We want to meet other Brompton riders. There are 2000 Brompton in Israel and certainly most of them in Tel Aviv.
Our inquiry on the Tel Aviv Brompton platform, who wants to go on a bike trip on the beach ends with an answer.
More answers got to the things, which all do not go.
Now I was surprised. A Brompton makes most sense if you take it with you on the train or bus, or if you go to a coffee or a museum or a gallery and are allowed to leave it in the dressing room.

Somehow there is no real Brompton community.

Yes, they have the small bikes, but maybe more because they saw them in London.
Then we did participate in a Critical Mass. Wow, there were max. 25 participants and we rather rode the side streets. Of the 25 participants, maybe 4 were real cyclists. All the others had a rental bike, or one that you rather don’t put on the streets or electric bikes.

The latter are the most popular means of transportation in Tel Aviv.
A bit disappointing. Unlike in Germany, they don’t need to pedal at all. The electric bikes are more like a moped.
One of the participants of the Critical Mass also thought about a Brompton, but he has his scooter.
You can find a small video here.

Tel Aviv

Israelis are sporty, are outside a lot, friendly, but for them „owning“ is much more important.
Their interest in the environment, political difficulties, a human togetherness (with everyone), are rather subordinate.
Of course, this is not true for everyone, but I had hoped for more, at least among the cyclists.
The older generation is more motivated to go to demonstrations, to express opinions, to think new.
Today are elections and as a good friend said: we try to minimize the damage instead of fighting for our ideals.

Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv

Conclusion: cycling in Tel Aviv is ok and the beach promenade is a dream. Otherwise without electricity you are actually too slow and more in the way than an enrichment for the traffic.
But… of course there is a but: without the Bromptons we wouldn’t have such a map of Tel Aviv in our heads now. 4 weeks we have visited the city and the surrounding area. What a wonderful experience.

Israel is different. I can tell you that. We do miss our friends over there and I would love to come back for a visit, but Israel right no is no option for living.

30. März 2020 Brompton, Reisebericht