Monday, May 24, 2010

Chris Igleheart Bike in Israel

Levinson with his Igleheart bike overlooking the Ella valley where young David felled Goliath.

Recently, I went riding in the Judean foothills near Ramat Bet Shemesh, with my friend Jeff Levinson. It turned out that Jeff was riding a unique steel frame bike crafted by Chris Igleheart. The bike is so unique that apparently, it’s the only Igleheart bike in Israel.

Chris Igleheart designs and builds lightweight, custom steel frames and forks from his shop in Wenham, Massachusetts. However, the bike that Levinson owns was built by Igleheart in Portland, Oregon back in the mid 90’s. Despite being about 15 years old, the bike looks great to me and handles smoothly according to Levinson.

Below is a little “interview” I conducted with Jeff about his recent move to Israel, his riding experiences, and of course, his Iglebike.

When did you move to Israel and from where?
We moved to Israel from Los Angeles in August 2008.

When/where did you buy your Igleheart bike?
I bought my bike around January 2008, in anticipation to our move to Israel. I bought it in Los Angeles from a guy named Dave who is a bike aficionado in Westwood, California. At any given time, he'll have about 10 to 15 bikes, both road/racing bikes and mountain bikes, Many of his bike are vintage. He posted the bike on Craig's list and I was fortunate to get it.

Can you provide some details about the bike?
The bike is an all steel frame made from Reynolds 653 tubing hand welded by Christopher Igleheart in 1994 or 1995 in Portland, Oregon.

Is your Igleheart the only one in Israel?

Is the Igleheart significantly better than other bikes you have ridden?
The bike is a GREAT ride. It is quick, responsive and nimble. There are no shocks in the fork or in the tail, which for me is perfect because I want to maximize the efficiency of my peddling and do not want to lose any energy to shock absorption. I just use my arms and legs to absorb.

Did you go riding in the US?

I did many years ago in high school in Calabasas, California, and during college at the University of California in Davis. Davis is known as a biking town, and my friends and I used to ride to Lake Berryessa in Napa.

Which trails have you ridden in the US that are comparable to the ones here in the Judean foothills?
The terrain is very similar to where I grew up in Southern California -- Calabasas, Malibu Canyon and Agoura. There, we had chaparral that was dry and brown in the summer and very green in the winter with wild flowers in the spring, just like the hills here in Israel. There, we had coyotes, raccoons, skunks, and occasional rattles snakes. In these hills, we have vipers, jackals, gazelle, deer, porcupines and loads of other creatures. (Up north there are wild boars and wolves…down south we have ibex, hyrax, wild camels and leopards.)

How do you feel about riding hills that are saturated with Biblical history?
It’s amazing exploring our land and of our ancestors. I have encountered ancient wine and olive presses, ritual baths and numerous other ruins from the 1st and 2nd Temple periods. Within a 15 or 20 minute peddle from my home, I am overlooking Ella valley where David battled Goliath. Past, present and future all come together. It is a real merit to live and ride here.

Close up shot


ltrsktr said...

vipers, wolves, leopards!! I'm not leaving your house. Ever!

Hermon said...


For the record: No wild deer in Israel, only in captivity. The closest thing that we have are gazelles, which look pretty similar.

Zev Schonberg said...

Deer and Gazelle don't look similar. Gazelle have horns and deer have antlers. For the record, there are indeed deer in the Israeli wild. See these links:

I also recall Persian fallow deer being introduced to the wild near Jerusalem a few years back.