June gloom may have come a bit early this year, but the gray skies and cool temperatures on Saturday did nothing to dampen the magic for those who donned their helmets and hopped their two- wheelers for the Magical Magnolia Bicycle Tour. Staged by the Magnolia Park Partnership, the event gave residents the opportunity to visit and get to know local merchants.

Well more than 300 participants registered to take a cycling exploration of Magnolia Park, said Gail Stewart, who serves as the manager of downtown activities and events for the city of Burbank. Those who participated enjoyed exploring the neighborhood and stopping by the dozens of shops and restaurants that were offering tours of their establishments, gifts and refreshments.

Registration took place on the Chandler Bikeway at California Street, where cyclists had the chance to peruse booths that showcased bicycle-related organizations. Among those that shared information were: Burbank Bike, the Burbank Department of Transportation’s initiative to promote bicycle travel; Cyclists Inciting Change through Live Exchange (C.I.C.L.E.), a Los Angeles-based organization that promotes cycling as a viable, healthy and sustainable transportation choice; and The Burn, a Burbank indoor cycling studio specializing in spin classes.

Once cyclists registered, they were free to explore Magnolia Park at their own pace by using a special passport that led them to participating businesses. When their passport was stamped at eight or more locations, they returned to the registration area, where they became eligible for two bicycle giveaways offered by Providence St. Joseph Medical Center.

Among the day’s participants were Vanessa and Paul Thiemann with their daughters, Emma and Gracie and the family’s bichon frisé, Lucy. Also caught pushing the pedals were Stan Lynch, John Wilson, Christine, Jack and Ellsworth Nitzsche; David, Nancy, Noah and Dru Kim; Lisa Jo and Siena Lamere; Alisa and Bart Tangredi; and Rob Moore and Ron Coyne.

Others who enjoyed the day in their volunteer capacities included Jazz Grant and Blaire Dollinger of Totz Only; Ira Lippman of The Jelly Bean Factory; Wendy Ansel and Jill Soggins of Rocks and Runes; Kristy Silic, Kerry Nicole and Isabella York of Wax Poetic Salon and Gallery; Councilwoman Anja Reinke and Burbank Unified School Board Member Debbie Kukta.

Also included in the 24 businesses that participated in the event were Brad Korb RE/MAX in Action, Cobblestone Gift and Florist, Bell Cottage, USA Baby, Urban Eats Simply Coffee and Boutique, Burbank Unpainted Furniture, Sheridan Gardens, Four Corners Custom Framing and Photography, Relax Spa and Beauty Lounge, AMR Real Estate, Porto’s Bakery, Healthy Bites, Mattress Connection, Bare Soul, Collectable World, Discount Gym Wear, It’s A Wrap, Monte Carlo Deli and Pinocchio Restaurant and Handy Market.

Among those who assisted Stewart in making the day’s magic a reality were Robin Faulk, Gracie Coronado, David Kriske, Brad Korb, Terri Stein, Donna Townsend and Ruth Davidson-Guerra.

The Magnolia Park Partnership is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the Magnolia Park district that is home to more than 500 neighborhood businesses.

The partnership also stages two other annual events — Be-Boppin’ in the Park in August and Holiday in the Park in November.

 DAVID LAURELL can be reached at dlaurell@aol.com or (818) 563-1007.

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