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WHEELS OF PROGRESS BIKE RIDE RAISING MONEY FOR STUDENTS.

Byline: Charles F. Bostwick Staff Writer

LANCASTER - Hundreds of Del Sur School pupils cheered as parent Biff Baker pedaled away on a 2,000-mile bicycle trek to the Canadian border.

Replicating a cross-country ride he nade for March of Dimes when he was 21, Baker and a friend are bicycling north to raise money for student activities at Del Sur, which Baker's three children attend.

``We said we'd do it again when we were 50,'' Baker said Monday before setting off through the schoolyard between two lines of cheering youngsters. ``I'm 48. That's close enough.''

Riding north along Highways 14 and 395 to Bishop, then into Nevada, Idaho and Montana, the pair hope to average 75 miles a day and finish in 30 days. They'll be camping along the way.

``We've got out sleeping bags and all our gear,'' said Baker, an Antelope Acres resident who installs ceramic tile for a living and is semi-retired.

Baker and his friend - who didn't want his name used because his wife doesn't want it known he will be away from home for a month - have been training for about four months by riding 40 or 50 miles at a time.

On Monday, they were aiming to make it to the hamlet of Inyokern off Highway 395, about 75 miles from Del Sur School.

The school will keep track of the pair's progress with a map posted on a cafeteria wall. Baker's wife will bring in photographs and correspondence from the men.

A chart will also keep track of how much parents and other school supporters have pledged in donations.

Baker said the ride is hoped to raise a few thousand dollars for the school and its 780 pupils in kindergarten through eighth grade.

The money will be used to pay for school activities like field trips and sports and for classroom supplies, said second-grade teacher Ann Mendes.

``He raised $2,300 for March of Dimes in 1978. When he told us that, we said it's definitely worthwhile,'' Mendes said.

One goal for the trip is to help pay for sending Del Sur pupils next fall to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to see a traveling exhibit of ancient Egyptian treasures from Tutankhamun's tomb. Admission and buses will cost $16,000, of which Westside Union School District's education foundation is paying half.

People who would like to contribute can call Del Sur School at (661) 942-0488. The school is at 9023 W. Ave. H, Lancaster.

Charles F. Bostwick, (661) 267-5742

chuck.bostwick(at)dailynews.com

CAPTION(S):

2 photos

Photo:

(1 -- color) Biff Baker is cheered on by Del Sur School students as he departs on a bike ride to raise money for the school.

(2) Biff Baker is riding 2,000 miles to the Canadian border with a friend, a trip that should take about a month to complete.

Gene Blevins/Special to the Daily News
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:May 24, 2005
Words:485
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