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Two 28-year-old Americans pedaled up steep mountain paths to...

By BHOLA RANA

KATMANDU, Nepal -- Two 28-year-old Americans pedaled up steep mountain paths to the 16,000-foot base camp of Mount Everest, becoming the first men ever to make the climb on bicE:les, a Ministry of Tourism official said today.

Brad Grunewald of Longview, Texas, and Craig Moffet of Boulder, Colo., reached the camp on May 1, one week after they left the village of Lukla on specially desgined 'mountain bikes,' the official said.

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The Americans reached their destination two days ahead of schedule, the official said.

The official said Grunewald and Moffet spent two days at the camp before pedaling down mountain trails and trekking across turbulent rivers.

'It was the climax of our trip,' Grunewald said before leaving for the mountain. He said he and his friend had been cE:ling around the world for 2 years through Fiji, New Zealand, Australia, Thailand, Burma and India before arriving in Nepal.

'Eventually, someone is going to do it. So we decided to be the first,' Grunewald said when asked why he wanted to cE:le up the mountain.

They flew with their bikes from Katmandu to Lukla, which is about 9,000 feet above sea level, on April 21, then rested at the foot of the mountain for three days before cE:ling up Mount Everest.

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During their brief stay at the Mount Everest base camp the pair met with an 11-member American expedition to Everest that includes two corporate executives who hope to become the oldest men to climb the 29,028-foot peak.

Before setting out for Everest, the pair had been cE:ling in tropical forests of Nepal to try to see the Himalayan kingdom's wildlife, including the royal Bengal tiger and the one-horned Asian rhino.

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