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Ready for Takeoff

Ready for Takeoff

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May 29, 2005

Super time for a superhero

Who wouldn't want to adopt a guy who flies? More than two decades ago, the state of Illinois designated Superman as a ''distinguished son" of Metropolis, a city that bears the same name as the flying crime fighter's fictional home in the comics and movies. Since then, a Superman Festival has been held annually, both to do some good and provide a good time. This year's event is scheduled June 9-12.

The Man of Steel will be honored with arts and crafts, a SuperTrek Bicycle Tour, food booths, a Superman road race, a Superman drama, a car show, a living history event at historic Fort Massac State Park, and other contests and entertainment. Who knows, maybe someone will finally figure out that Clark Kent and Superman are one and the same.

More information: www.metropolischamber.com.RICHARD P. CARPENTER

Biking Europe -- all the way

With all the bicycle tours offered in Europe, you would think several would cross the entire continent. But no. So Henry Gold, a Canadian who organizes the grueling Tour d'Afrique, decided to create its European counterpart: the Orient Express Bicycle Tour. As with Tour d'Afrique, riders can go the entire course, in this case 2,300 miles from Paris to Istanbul over 56 days, or cycle a shorter section of their choosing, such as Paris to Vienna or Bucharest to Istanbul. The eight-week tour, which starts July 31 at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, goes through Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria before ending in Turkey on Sept. 24. Riders get a total of 15 rest days, which they can use to see the local sights and, one would hope, get leg massages. Thirteen-day segments start at $1,400 and get more expensive according to countries and level of lodging (from camping to upscale hotels). The full tour ranges from $5,000 to $10,000 (including the $100 registration fee). Luggage is transported for the cyclists, and most meals are provided.

More information: 416-364-8255 in Toronto, or www.tourdafrique.com. DIANE DANIEL

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