Global solidarity cycle for release of hostages gains momentum to #RideToBringThemHomeNow

Kidnapped cyclist Ran Binyamin.

(TEL AVIV)– The Israeli professional cycling team Israel – Premier Tech, together with The Hostage and Missing Families Forum and the Israeli Cycling Federation, announced this week that it will hold a mass solidarity ride around the world to mark the 100th day since the October 7 attacks and the kidnapping of hundreds of people to Gaza. Tens of thousands of cyclists are now expected to take part in the ride and in special cycling events held simultaneously at the Velodrome in Tel Aviv and several major capitals across the globe.

Since the announcement of the global ride, there has been an inspiring mobilization of cycling enthusiasts all over the world. In addition to cycling events planned for Barcelona, Paris, London, Melbourne, Los Angeles, Hong Kong and elsewhere, cyclists everywhere are being encouraged to go for a ride on January 14 with yellow ribbons tied to their bikes, and to upload photos of their rides to social media with the hashtag #RideToBringThemHomeNow.

In Israel, the main riding event will take place at the Velodrome in Tel Aviv, where 133 family members of the hostages and cyclists from the Israeli cycling community, representing each of the hostages, will encircle the cycling stadium.

Chris Froome, the legendary four-time Tour de France winner, considered one of the greatest cyclists in history, has joined the campaign, calling on his millions of fans and the entire global cycling community to tie a yellow ribbon to their bikes on the 100th day of the kidnapping, and to dedicate their ride to calling for the release of the hostages.

“As a human being, as a father myself – I cannot stand idly by,” said Froome, who competes for Israel – Premier Tech, explaining that he was moved to action by the story of the Kalderon family, whose father Ofer and 12-year-old son Erez, both cyclists, were abducted on October 7. The son, Erez, was released after 51 days in captivity, but his father is still being held by Hamas.

“Their suffering and that of all the other hostages deeply affects me, and I call on all cyclists to come out for a solidarity ride that day – just as I will myself – in the hope that this show of support will bring them closer to returning home,” Froome said.

Sylvan Adams, owner of the Israel – Premier Tech team, said, “I hope that January 14 will become a day of freedom. It will be a call from those who believe in human values to free those children, women, the elderly, and adults who were taken as hostages by the Hamas terrorists in complete contradiction to every human norm. Our freedom ride showcases our values of sportsmanship and fairness in contrast to the brutality of Hamas. I hope that a massive number of people join us internationally in this ride for freedom. Am Yisrael Chai.”

Global Events 

In Los Angeles, a Jewish/Israeli cycling club named “Team Israel,” led by 66-year-old Isaac Goren, swiftly initiated an ambitious operation with the objective of recruiting 136 riders to symbolize the 136 hostages. Within days, the small club received an overwhelming response, prompting the creation of an additional ride in Santa Monica and a planned helicopter flight carrying a “Bring Them Home” banner to fly above the riders. Isaac Goren said, “The response was enormous; they all want to be part of this initiative to see those hostages return to their families. It’s a humane message that everyone can relate to; it’s not political.”

Meanwhile, over 10,000 kilometers away in Melbourne, Australia, a similar enthusiasm has taken hold, with more than 350 riders already signed up for Sunday’s ride. Zady Lawrence, Executive Director of Zionism Victoria, said, “I am not surprised. The Jewish community has never been more engaged than in the days following October 7th.”

The Israeli Foreign Ministry has played a pivotal role in encouraging global participation, with events planned in Mar del Plata, Argentina; Atlanta, USA; Madrid, Spain; and Brussels, Belgium. Independent communities, such as fans of Team IPT, joined the cause, including Hong Kong Jewish Community activist Hayley Goldberg, who said, “We can’t ignore a call to do something as basic as tying a yellow ribbon and making the world aware of this tragedy.”

Barcelona’s Israeli community has also embraced the challenge, with hundreds having so far signed up for the ride from Olympic Park to City Hall. Eran Shlingbaum, an Israeli living in Barcelona said, “There are many people in Barcelona behind us and certainly behind this cause.”

However, the true essence of solidarity lies in the multitude of individual riders worldwide dedicating their weekend rides to the hostages. Notable among them is 28-year-old Czech rider Lukas Klement, inspired by Israeli riders who supported him when his bike was stolen during a visit. In a remarkable effort, Klement plans to ride for 24 full hours this weekend, creating a course in the shape of a Star of David and the number “100.” Undeterred by freezing temperatures in the Czech Republic, Lukas Klement said, “I have the time, the passion, and, especially, the most important cause to ride for. I just need to find a yellow ribbon.”

Response of Hostage Families 

Hadas Kalderon, Erez Kalderon’s mother, thanked Froome and the Israel – Premier Tech team for their support and for the initiative to unite the global cycling community: “This is an incredibly important show of support. Erez regained his freedom, but his father and all the other hostages are still languishing there. Erez deserves to be reunited with his father, to have the opportunity to ride with him like any father and son. He is so waiting for him. And we have no time to lose. Every moment that passes for him and the other hostages in Hamas captivity is critical.”

With over 240 captured on October 7, 133 people, including women and children, are still being held by Hamas, with the harrowing testimonies of released hostages causing great distress among many family members whose loved ones are still there.

“Since October 7, I have not had a day or night, just a continuous nightmare,” said Shai Benjamin, daughter of 57-year-old cyclist Ran Benjamin, who was taken hostage while out for his Saturday ride. “Everything haunts me. Thoughts of what they are doing to him there. How he manages to survive. How can I sleep when I have no idea if my father can sleep at all? When I want to eat, I am tormented by the question of whether he is starving there. And why do I deserve to cover myself with a blanket when he might be cold?”

Shai expressed hope that the international cycling event would garner support among a public that could easily identify with her father’s fate and story: “I ask them to stop and think for a moment: my father was abducted, and his world and our family’s world were destroyed when he went out to ride his bicycle. That was his only ‘sin.’ What if it happened to them?”


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