Up to 1,800 bicycle riders are scheduled to pedal across the Bay Bridge this summer as part of the sixth annual "First National Bank/Cycle Across Maryland TOUR," scheduled July 24-31.
"This is the first time the span will have been closed expressly for bicyclists," said Pat Bernstein, founder and president of Cycle Across Maryland Corporation.
The Bay Bridge closes annually for walkers, however. (This year's Chesapeake Bay Bridge Walk is scheduled for May 1.)
Being billed as "Shore to Shore in '94 -- The Historic Bay Bridge Crossing," the 320-mile bicycle tour begins July 24 in Leonardtown, in St. Mary's County. Scheduled overnight stops include Largo, Millersville, Centreville -- following the Chesapeake crossing on Wednesday, July 27 -- Salisbury, Crisfield and Berlin.
Organizers say the ride is open to anyone capable of biking an average of 55 miles daily. Riders under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
Last year, almost 1,500 riders, ranging in age from 8 to 80, participated in the FNB/CAM TOUR. The Cambridge-to-Towson route also included a midweek Chesapeake Bay crossing, in a flotilla of excursion boats, from the Eastern Shore to Baltimore's Inner Harbor.
To help riders prepare for the tour, a "CAM Bike Rally" is scheduled April 16 at Southern Middle School in Anne Arundel County.
Registration for the tour is $175, with a discount offered for application before May 1. Applications are available at local bike shops and athletic centers, First National Bank branches, or by calling (800) 842-2265.