“Water, water, everywhere, and not a drop on me.”

Water is a precious resource in Israel. People and businesses make an effort to use it carefully and preserve it. Fortunately, it’s one of the areas in which Israel has extensive experience and has built up world class expertise, closely associated and growing out of (er…) its equally successful efforts at making the desert bloom.

To take a simple example, the public garden and similar areas in Ra’anana are carefully nurtured using the least amount of water, applied by time controlled sprinkler systems delivering the right quantity at the most effective time. And they look very nice too. To take another example, because water usage is metered (and you pay penalty rates if the usage exceeds a certain level per person living in the house) you don’t see an abundance of people at the weekend, washing their cars. It’s also rumoured that some people join a gym so they can shower there at their (er…) leisure and cut down their home usage of water. And many home owners also water their gardens using timed sprinkler systems.

The other part of the water story is how important it is to drink enough of it, and avoid dehydration. So, when we are out cycling for any length of time, we both carry water bladders in our backpacks. We try to drink as much as possible since experience has shown how easy it is to become dehydrated without noticing – at least at the start. Essentially, you must drink, drink and drink. There are certain practical consequences which mean that we (er…) recycle the water in off road areas.

Then, when we get back from a ride, we face the opposite challenge of cleaning the bikes while minimising the use of water. When we first started, we used a garden hose. However, that was horribly inefficient, and wasteful. We then moved on to using a single bottle of tap water, and alternating between a damp cloth and a dry cloth. Unless the bikes are really filthy, we can get both cleaned with the one bottle, which is acceptable.

On our last Friday morning ride, we did about 40km partly along Nachal Alexander. We stopped to see the turtles and some of the other wildlife, and went for a coffee at Netanya beach. (Sadly, no pictures because I forgot my camera. Next time…) It was hot and we were quite tired at the end.

We drove home and started the process of cleaning the bikes. We put them on the front lawn, got out a bottle of water, the cloths, and a brush. This is the scene: it’s about 11am and hot, hot, hot. We are both on the lawn. Susan is cleaning her bike and I am cleaning mine. We are tired, sweaty, stiff and just want to get this over and lie down for a wee rest.

Then it became 11am. Why is that significant? Well, apparently it’s the time our sprinklers go on, on a Friday morning. And they went on. And we (and our bikes) were drenched. It was like standing in a big shower with no place to hide. We stood there, holding our bikes, and laughed and laughed and laughed. Our bikes are extra special clean this week…