On yer bike to the Dead Sea

If you’re into cycling and a fan of the Dead Sea (and who isn’t?) you might fancy killing two birds with one stone by getting on your own two-wheeler to take part in two big cycling events down at the Dead Sea over the next couple of weekends. Alternatively, you could just watch from the sidelines if you’re not up for a pedaling fest…

This Saturday (28th November) sees the Tour de Dead Sea, while next weekend it’s the Veolia Desert Challenge. Two big cycling events not only about the cycling; they are also aimed at bringing awareness to the environmental issues facing the Dead Sea.

The Tour de Dead Sea (I love that name!) is a race along the edge of the Dead Sea and offers three different routes for participants (all of which start from the solarium in the Ein Bokek hotel area at the southern end of the Dead Sea) :

  • A 12 km family route on which to bring the kids along (from age 6 and above) which takes place along the flat hotel strip around Ein Bokek.
  • A 60 km route for road and off-road cyclists, accompanied by a police and rescue vehicle escort, and plenty of “taking on liquid” stops.
  • A 100 km route for the hardcore cyclists, including some steep climbs up Metzoke Dragot.

This annual race will also have plenty of fun and games for families not so keen on getting their feet wet, so to speak. Apart from the amazing scenery around the Dead Sea area (bring your camera!), there’ll be plenty of ecological activities related to the Dead Sea, arts and crafts corners, refreshments, music and more.

The Veolia Desert Challenge happens next Saturday (5th December), with lots of nice challenges for the hardcore cyclists out there:

  • A night race lit up by the full moon on the night of the 4th of December (there are three different levels to choose from – 12km, 20km or 30 km).
  • Mountain bike race (again, three different levels – 27km, 40km or 75km).
  • The Ultimate Challenge – the longest and most challenging duathlon race in Israel (which means running and cycling).
  • A non-competitive ride through 24km of prime Dead Sea scenery, including Nahal Pratzim and Sodom.

The action also kicks off at the solarium at Ein Bokek, though the fun starts for all the family at 9:30am with plenty of sporting goodness going on, including exhibitions and other free activities.

You can register for both of the above events at the www.ezharim.co.il (Hebrew only) website, or just simply turn up on the day.

Don’t forget to vote for the Dead Sea in the New 7 Wonders of Nature contest at www.new7wonders.com!

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