The Carmel Mountain Range is situated in the Northern part of Israel, along the Mediterranean coastline. It reaches over 500 meters in height, and offers a great playground for mountain bikes, with its many trails. I made a solo loop of 2 of the more well-known singles in the area, the “Alon” and “Shokef singles.
Since I was riding alone and not using a shuttle, I started my ride from the entrance of Kibbutz Beit Oren, which allowed me to cut a pretty grueling road climb in 2 parts – one half to start the ride, and one to end it. From Beit Oren I climbed up to the entrance of Osfiya, a Druz village. This is where the Alon single starts.
The Alon single was in fairly good shape, although it is late in the season and the area could definitely do with a little rain now! Rocks and dust were on the menu, keeping me on my toes.
Near the start of Alon, there is a choice…take a small drop on the left, or navigate a ridge on the right. I went left, as usual.
At the bottom of the Alon single, I took left on the jeep road, followed by a right to start the climb up Shokef. There’s a pretty tough climb awaiting you here, take your time because there are quite a few steep parts.
From the top of the Shokef single, amazing views over the Mediterranean greeted me as usual! Such a good feeling to be up here under your own power (although I admit I was dreaming about my shuttle truck on the way up).
The Shokef single is as rocky and loose as it gets, this time of year. Mixing fast and flowy sections with rough rock gardens, it is always a challenge. It lacks many built features, but has so much natural flow that it more than makes up for it. And the bottom section is legendary, feared by tires and rims alike! I got through with no mishaps, but I did pick my lines carefully today…
Reaching the end of the Shokef Single, only the last climb up the road to Beit Oren awaited me. This is where the shuttle truck would pick you up, if you were riding with friends…or on a Sababike Ride of course!
All in all, a great morning on the bike, about 2 hours to complete the loop, and a bit of climbing in the legs. Ride it now, or wait for a bit of rain – your choice! Either way is good.