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A Biking Record Built for Two

May 15, 1986|ED HAGEROTT

Riding a tandem bicycle isn't the fastest way to travel from Southern California to New York City, but it is one of the most challenging. Debbie Rocker and Cherie Moore will begin their journey May 30, but they won't be satisfied with just getting there.

They will attempt to break the women's tandem record of 10 days, 22 hours and 48 minutes, set by Cheryl Marek and Estelle Gray in 1984. Their ride will begin from the Huntington Beach pier and is scheduled to end at City Hall in Manhattan, a distance of almost 3,000 miles.

Rocker and Moore, who will be accompanied by a nine-member road crew, have never ridden more than 280 miles in a day but hope to average 275 to 300 miles while riding 20 hours per day. They have been training for 1 1/2 years, and moved to Palm Springs in January to adjust to extreme temperatures.

Since Jan. 1, an average week has included 600 to 650 miles of riding. The pair plan to ride 700 miles this week, then taper down before the start of the trip.

"It's the ultimate challenge for us," said Rocker, who lived in Tarzana for 15 years.

Rocker said she believes the first three days will be the toughest. After leaving Huntington Beach, she and Moore plan to ride for at least 24 hours before stopping. They hope to travel 350 miles the first day.

"We want to cover the most miles in the beginning," Rocker said, "before the fatigue sets in."

Rocker, 27, and Moore, 22, met two years ago in Hawaii, where both participated in a triathlon. At that time, neither had made an extended ride.

"We just began riding for fun and exercise," Rocker said. "Then we read about this record. But we had no idea at how much was involved."

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