Tour de TA to make White City a bike city

Tour de TA to make White City a bike city

From Festival of Booths to Festival of Bikes: Sovev Tel Aviv is an extravaganza so massive it shuts down the Ayalon Highway

Debra writes for the JTA, and is a former features writer for The Times of Israel.

Riders take to the streets at Sovev Tel Aviv 2012. (photo credit: courtesy Sovev Tel Aviv)
Riders take to the streets at Sovev Tel Aviv 2012. (photo credit: courtesy Sovev Tel Aviv)

In Tel Aviv this year, the Festival of Booths will also be the Festival of Bikes.

That’s thanks to Sovev Tel Aviv, a massive cycling event that will see some 30,000 two-wheeled riders swarm the city’s beachfront, avenues and even the Ayalon Highway during the week-long harvest festival of Sukkot.

Now in its fourth year, Sovev Tel Aviv spans three days and offers four different events — an easy 9k (about 5 and a half miles) for beginners and children; a family-friendly rollerblading 24k; a biking 24k for families with older, more experienced children; and the flagship “Tour de Tel Aviv,” a 43k bicycle ride through the streets of Tel Aviv and the Gush Dan metropolitan area. All races will be held on September 25 after a kickoff of fitness and fun events in Rabin Square on September 23-25.

“Sukkot is a great time,” says Ofer Shitrit of Kapaim, the company producing Sovev Tel Aviv in conjunction with the Tel Aviv Municipality. “There’s good weather, students are not at university and people are not in school. Families can come. This is a family event, an event for young people, and it’s not a competition. It’s the largest cycling event in Israel, it’s the only time of the year that they close the Ayalon Highway, and it’s going to be incredibly fun.”

Interested riders should register in advance and can find more information at

The Tour de Tel Aviv will start at 6 a.m. on September 25 in Park Hayarkon, loop its way through the city and finish around noon at Rabin Square. The smaller events will have their start times staggered throughout the morning, culminating in a noontime festival of athletes and families at the iconic Tel Aviv plaza.

While the event is meant to take advantage of the recreation days of Hol HaMoed Sukkot and also to promote healthy living, Shitrit says that at its core it’s simply about having a good time.

“All across Tel Aviv you can see new bike lanes,” he says, adding that the popularity of the city’s Tel-O-Fun green bikes rental system is exploding. “Biking helps the environment, cuts down on traffic in the city and is also good for health. But beyond all these serious reasons, there’s another reason: having fun together.”

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