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Challenge for Cyclists Turns Into Event for Charity

Two Orange County cyclists will take off Wednesday from Newport Beach and cross the United States on a 51-day, 5,777-mile trek through 23 states, to raise money for the American Paralysis Assn. Michael Kohler, 23, of Costa Mesa and Mike Reed, 21, of Irvine, will pedal north to Oregon, across 12 states to New York and down the East Coast, finishing at Tallahassee, Fla.

Though they have known each other about nine months and have been training seriously only three months, both men expressed confidence about the ride.

“The people involved with the APA have been a real inspiration to us, and very supportive,” Kohler said.

Kohler described himself and Reed as best friends. “We’re like Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, except he’s Tweedle Dum. We get along so well, it’s sickening.”

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Reed said cycling across America was something that he’d always wanted to do.

“I really enjoy doing challenging things,” Reed said.

“We were at dinner one night about three months ago, and we started discussing the idea of cycling across America. We wanted to do it as sort of a personal challenge, but we also wanted to help others somehow.”

After deciding they would indeed go for it, Kohler and Reed started “charity shopping.”

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“All but one of the charity organizations we approached asked us what we could do for them,” Kohler explained, “and that was the APA. “

The men have formed their own organization, Christian Cyclists, and plan to speak out about those with spinal cord injuries and new technology being developed to treat those injuries.

They will stay with other Christian families at prearranged stops, and plan to ride an average of 140 miles a day. Kohler has been studying road maps to plan the best route, and supply packages have been mailed ahead to designated stops so the riders will not be bothered with heavy packs. They will not have a support vehicle until they reach the East Coast.

Ken Kelley motored into Disneyland Friday in his 1966 Mazda with the license plate frame that reads “I’d Rather Be At” surrounding the plate DIZNYLD. But this wasn’t just any old Friday, and Kelley wasn’t just any old Magic Kingdom visitor.

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It was Kelley’s 300th visit to the “Happiest Place on Earth.” He’s been going to the park on an average of 35 times a year since he first saw it a as 5-year-old in 1959.

Now 31, Kelley describes Disneyland as sort of an “international marketplace.”

“I find that it is really easy to get into conversations with people, especially those from other countries. They are curious about things in the park, and I guess I must look like someone who knows,” Kelley said.

Kelley, born in Detroit, now lives in Moorpark in Ventura County. His favorite hangout is in front of one of the shops on Main Street, U.S.A.

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“I’ll pull up a chair on the porch and watch the people go by, since everyone coming in or going out of the park passes by,” he said.

His favorite ride is the Mark Twain Steamboat. He calls it “sort of a mind ride . . . I can get real lost on it. It seems to me that they really caught a certain section of the country and embodied it there,” he said.

He said his strangest visit to the park was with his brother, Rick, on May 12, 1979.

“It was in the midst of the gas shortage. Driving to Anaheim from the San Fernando Valley, we saw a total of 12 cars on the road! The park was practically empty, it was very eerie but still a lot of fun because we felt like we owned the place.”

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History Prof. Henry S. Panian has been named Outstanding Citizen of 1985 by Orange Coast College. He is the first faculty member honored in the 35-year history of the award. He was cited for his 30 years of public service. Panian has served on many committees for the City of Costa Mesa, where he lives with wife, Barbara. These include the city charter study, housing element, general plan, redevelopment, and Bicentennial committees.


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