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Some call it exercise plus¬Cycle 30, 60 or 100 miles, with 5,000 other riders, and at the same time raise funds to help fight a dreaded disease.

So it was that on Sept. 26, New York's FDR Drive and West Side Highway were filled with cyclists riding in the 15th annual MS Bike Tour.

Among the 5,000 riders was a team from The First Rehabilitation Life Insurance Company of America, a Great Neck based insurance company which specializes in group employee benefits and state disability insurance.

Last year a team of 32 from First Rehab Life raised $19,000; this year, with 50 riders, they expect to raise more than $30,000 before the deadline.

The MS Bike Tour has become one of the largest and most successful one-day cycling events in the country. The teams ride rain or shine. Participants get a chance to circle Manhattan Island free from car and truck traffic. The tour offers rides of 30 to 100 miles and those who opt for the longer routes get the once-in-a-lifetime experience of bicycling through the Lincoln Tunnel.

Carol Kurzig, executive director of MS Society, said they project that this year's tour will raise more than $900,000, which would break their record.

To join the next MS Bike tour in September 2000, call Richard Weinstein at First Rehab Life¬829-8100.

Now that's a healthy way to start a new year!

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