Tel Aviv is the ultimate cycling city.
Not only is there hardly any rain, but it’s also virtually flat and quite small. The ever-growing bike paths throughout the city make it increasingly easy and fun to pedal your way through it.
To give you the lowdown on everything bike-related in Tel Aviv, ISRAEL21c caught up with Jake Teper, owner of the Yalla Bikes bike rental shop.
“People don’t realize how extremely bike-friendly Tel Aviv is,” Teper says. “Everybody that I hear from, they were renting scooters every day or taking buses, and as soon they took bikes they felt the whole city opened up to them.”
@israel21c Want to know 3 best (and 3 worst!) spots to go biking in Tel Aviv? Check out our website for the full list! Link in bio ???? Special shout-out to Jake from Yalla Bikes for sharing us around! #bike #biking #travel #travelisrael #israel #telaviv ♬ Morning with U – Tollan Kim
Teper founded Yalla Bikes last summer, drawing inspiration from an experience he had in another city famous for its cycling culture – Copenhagen. Originally from the US, he studied for a while in the Danish capital, where he and his friends took out long-term bike rentals to get around the city.
Upon reaching Israel with the Masa program in 2020, Teper looked for a similar service and was surprised to learn that none existed. (Tel Aviv’s Tel-O-Fun bike-sharing service offers regular or electric bikes from stations on the streets, but rentals are only for 30 minutes at a time.)
Fast forward a couple of years, and his store now offers daily or weekly rentals. Customers can also opt for a monthly fee, which includes a bicycle, lock, helmet and maintenance.
“I’m still the only person offering this service,” he says. “I put the focus on customer service and the friendliness side of it and I think people have appreciated it.”
Teper admits that conditions in the city (crazy driving, never-ending construction and crowded surroundings) “definitely can be a little intimidating at first, but just stick to the bike lanes as much as possible,” he advises.
“There are currently over 160 kilometers [99.5 miles] of bike lanes in Tel Aviv, but the city plan by 2025 is to have 250 kilometers. I really feel the effort that the city is putting into it,” he says.
Teper recommends avoiding Allenby Street (lots of buses and no bike lanes), King George (ditto) and Ibn Gabirol (its bike lanes are on the sidewalk and unprotected.)
Here are Teper’s favorite bike-lane routes:
- The beach
“You can go north almost all the way to Herzliya. It’s separated on bike lanes from the rest of the street. And in the other direction it’s all the way past Old Jaffa. It’s one straight bike lane, really easy to follow and really beautiful at sunset or any other time of day.”
- Yarkon Park
“It’s full of bike lanes – and really nice, brand-new ones. You can bike along next to the river. I’ve spent whole days in the park, stopping to read, stopping to snack.”
- A loop that packs in top cultural hotspots
“Start at Atarim Square, go up Ben-Gurion Boulevard to Rabin Square and then continue down Chen Boulevard to Habimah Square to Rothschild Boulevard. And at the end of Rothschild, connect to Mesila Park and ride all the way to Jerusalem Boulevard in Jaffa.
“Then head north back to Atarim Square, where you started. You never need to get off a bike lane and it’s a perfect afternoon ride. You can stop for coffee, or park your bike and walk around the shuk [flea market] in Jaffa,” Teper suggests.
For more information on Yalla Bikes, click here.