August in Tel Aviv: Getting to interviews by bicycle

I am not officially looking for work,  but if I see a nice job within cycling distance of home I am not averse to checking it out. Managing this on a bicycle can be a problem, especially in August when its a cool 32 degress centigrade (90 Fahrenheit to the metrically challenged) with over 60% humidity. In the world of Israeli hi-tekkers to which I ostensibly belong, it is not unknown to turn up dressed for the beach, but I like to play up my English origins and turn up wearing everything but a tie: I draw the line at voluntarily putting my head in a hangman’s noose.

Being what the British call a “lycra-lout” (although I wear cotton), I persist in arriving at interviews by bicycle. This means that I always arrive on time and never fail to find a parking space next to the office.  The problem is appearing decent.

Recently I got invited for an interview at a start-up who occupy a 40th+ floor in the Azrieli tower.  I am now drilled at this and I packed my fancy gear, shoes, trousers and ironed shirt in a pannier bag and cycled over.

Once there, I found a discreet place in the car park and stripped off. I find car parks more convenient then toilets which are often smelly and a bit wet on the floor. My cycling gear then went in the pannier except the helmet and sandals which I attached to the lock.  Any problems I have with public nudity I lost on the 2004 Naked Bike Ride in London.  I should write about that sometime.

The major problem with cycling to an interview is cooling down. I don’t just get off the bike and immediately stop sweating, and on this occasion I misjudged it and although I immedately went into Azrieli’s aggressive air-con, I discovered wet patches developping round my chest. I bought a cold drink and tried both drinking it and pressing it against my jugular (to cool the blood directly) and by the time I had ridden the elevator shaft to the 40 somethingth floor things seemed to have calmed down.

It was like being interviewed in an airplane, up in Azrieli, with extended views across the city and beyond. Looked great except they had a ping-pong table and lots of quality food in the kitchen.  When a hi-tek company have great food, a great view and a ping-pong table it means they don’t want you to go home: Ever.  I prefer the ones which draw the line at coffee machines and give me views of industrial car-parks.

In the car park afterwards, I re-stripped and then mounted my steed for the ride to hi-tekk obscurity in Petach-Tikva. It only took 25 minutes.

Hopefully they won’t read this blog because they still haven’t decided if they want me.  They got my “I’m not here until dawn” vibe but realized I was good at my job.  

About the Author
Jonathan Lowenstein is an Anglo-Israeli who has lived half his life in England and half in Israel, but has never spent longer then a decade continuously in either country, Both Tel Aviv and London are his native cities and he has almost always commuted by bicycle. In the 1990's, he helped found the Tel Aviv Bicycle Association, arguably Israel's most successful bicycle advocacy organization, now known as the Israel Bicycle Association.