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2 Benefits Keep Cyclists Pedaling Night and Day

June 24, 1993|RICK VANDERKNYFF | Rick VanderKnyff is a free-lance writer who regularly contributes to The Times Orange County Edition. and

Last year, the Orange County chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society organized two unusual bicycling events as a way to raise money.

Both return this year, with the first taking place Sunday: the Tour of the Bases, which offers cyclists a chance to tour through normally off-limits areas of the Marine Corps Air stations in El Toro and Tustin. The second, the Midnight Ramble, is July 10.

The Tour of the Bases offers two extremely flat courses, both beginning at UC Irvine. A 25-mile ride takes in the El Toro station, while the 50-mile ride includes both bases.

Last year, 250 people took part in the ride, raising $21,000, according to Wendy Baker, director of fund-raising for the chapter. Participation in the ride requires a minimum $50 in pledges, but it is possible to register the day of the event, and riders have until Aug. 1 to turn in their pledges (you can sponsor yourself in the ride).

All participants receive a T-shirt, with larger prizes--from bike-shop gift certificates to vacations--for those who raise more money. A post-ride picnic is also included, featuring contests, rock bands and other entertainment.

Baker said families are encouraged to ride.

"We offer child care, which I think is unusual for these type of events," she said. "We want to emphasize the family nature of the event." (It is advisable to call ahead if you plan to take advantage of the child care).

The Midnight Ramble ride starts and finishes at the Tustin Marketplace, beginning at midnight. Riders can complete the 10-mile loop as many times as they like before the course is cleared at 2 a.m.

"It was extremely popular last year. Everybody had a great time," Baker said. About 500 riders took part.

The route was designed with the help of the Irvine Police Department and includes only right turns so that riders will not have to cross traffic. "It's very safe," Baker said. Lights and reflectors are required.

After the ride, the late-night event continues with a party and awards ceremony at Red Robin. Food and a long-sleeved T-shirt are included in the $35 entry fee; pledges are optional for this ride.

What: Tour of the Bases bicycle fun ride.

When: Sunday, 8:30 a.m. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m.

Where: UC Irvine.

Whereabouts: From the San Diego (405) Freeway, exit at Campus Drive and go south. The ride begins on campus at the corner of University and Campus drives.

Wherewithal: Minimum $50 in pledges.

Where to call: (714) 752-1680.

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