Gearing Up for L.A. Bike Tour

Bicyclists will be rousted out of bed March 5 by a 6:30 a.m. starting time for the first L.A. Marathon Bike Tour. The non-competitive race--which precedes the L.A. Marathon--follows the same path as the footrace, beginning at 28th Street and Figueroa, winding through traffic-free streets of Downtown, Hollywood, Hancock Park and Koreatown, ending at USC.

"This (bike marathon) will probably be the most wide-age event, from young to people in their 90s. This is a family-style event," says William Burke, co-founder and president of L.A. Marathon.

The 26.2-mile tour takes 50 minutes to three hours. Anyone needing more time will be diverted onto shortcuts. "For those riders whose eyes are bigger than their legs," Burke says, "we will be providing lag wagons--a bus and a truck running tandem." There will be water stations on the 17th mile.

The bike tour lineup includes actor Ed Begley, Jr., who's been using his bike for transportation since his paper route days. "Everyone (should) join us. It's going to be a great day. I hope the mayor comes out. We take bike rides together."

Begley's wish comes true. Mayor Riordan will be riding, according to his office.

* Call (310) 444-5544 for information. The $25 registration fee includes T-shirt, goody bag, water bottle and bike repair on the route.

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