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Working Up Appetite for Breakfast

July 29, 1993|RICK VANDERKNYFF | Rick VanderKnyff is a free-lance writer who regularly contributes to The Times Orange County Edition. and

Breakfast has been an important meal in the history of the Bicycle Club of Irvine.

It was at a breakfast meeting July 30, 1983, that the first members shaped the direction of the club.

"That's when we decided we were going to be a recreational, social, non-racing group, and that's what we still are," said founding member Bill Sellin.

The club had its genesis in a group started by the city three years before, the Bicycle Club of Deerfield. It was intended primarily for junior high-age children, but as more adults became involved, the club changed its focus and its name and eventually became independent from the city.

Now, BCI has more than 500 members from all over the county and organizes 35 group rides a week. The most popular is the Saturday morning breakfast ride, which draws an average of 100 riders in the warm months, and usually at least 50, even in winter.

The rides begin at Deerfield Park in Irvine. Restaurants change weekly, with at least three routes offered each week to accommodate a variety of riding skills. Round trips can range from as little as six miles to 40 or more. The restaurants usually cooperate by offering a $1-an-item buffet.

Rides depart at 9 a.m. (riders are asked to get to the park by 8:30), and breakfast starts at 10, so riders are asked to choose a distance they can comfortably cover in an hour. "We all go to the same restaurant; it's just that some people do bigger loops," said Patty Nielsen, organizer of the breakfast rides.

Most riders carry a $5 bill and find that it is more than adequate to cover the cost of the breakfast, Nielsen said.

Beginners and non-members are welcome. "We invite people to come ride with us as often as they like before they join," Nielsen said. On the shorter rides, club "sweepers" will ride at the rear to make sure everyone makes the destination OK.

This Saturday's ride is unusual in that the destination is not a restaurant, but rather Irvine Regional Park, where riders will be offered pancakes, oatmeal and other entrees for the usual $1 an item. The occasion is the 10th anniversary of the club in its present form. As many as 200 riders may take part.

The minimum round trip will be 20 miles for this event. Sellin said four routes to the park have been outlined, and four different routes back, allowing riders to mix and match. The longest round trip is 51 miles (24 miles there, 27 back).

For the first time, two of the routes will offer some off-road riding for mountain bike enthusiasts, in the new Peters Canyon Regional Park and in Santiago Oaks Regional Park. On the longest route, there will be 7 1/2 miles of dirt trail.

There will be a club information booth at the breakfast. Non-members who are interested in finding out about BCI can simply drive to Irvine Regional Park for the 10 a.m. breakfast if they wish.

Membership in the club, which includes a monthly newsletter, is $20 for the first year and $17 in subsequent years.

* What: Bicycle Club of Irvine, Saturday breakfast rides.

* When: Meets at 8:30 a.m each Saturday. Ride starts at 9 a.m.

* Where: Riders leave from Deerfield Community Park, Irvine.

* Whereabouts: From the San Diego (405) Freeway, exit at Culver Drive and go north to Irvine Center Drive. Turn right, then left at Deerwood West. The street dead-ends at the park.

* Wherewithal: Ride is free. Breakfast is usually less than $5.

* Where to call: (714) 650-3995.

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