Firefighters Bring Back Unique Bike for Screenland 5K

Can a renovated five-seat Culver City Fire Dept. bicycle pedal past a restored antique Culver City Police Dept. car in a race to the downtown Culver City fire station from Ivy Station? The first conveyance to reach the post in a wacky start to the Screenland 5K, Mar. 10, 9:20 am, will add $500 to fire or police association charities.

The friendly competition in the “Jesse Luna and Mike Nagy Memorial Mile” was inspired by the fundraising efforts of retired fire officer Mike McCormick on behalf of his late colleagues. McCormick’s son, Matt, is a Culver City fireman. Several firefighters in full rescue gear will run the 3.1-mile course.

The owner of the vintage cop car doesn’t know how far or for how long it will go, and a firefighter calculates that the bike might be able to travel only the length of a football field.

“We never know what the bike will do. It has a mind of its own,” said CCFD Battalion Chief Rob Kohlhepp.

Retired Culver City Building Maintenance Supervisor Steve Newton, who owns and rebuilt the 1930s-era antique police vehicle 15 years ago, said it’s a crapshoot. He converted his Model A into a vintage crime fighter by installing parts from his collection and a friend’s police car.

“I keep it looking original by not cleaning or shining it,” said Newton jokingly.

He also built a replica Culver City mail truck for his father, a retired longstanding local mailman.

Battalion Chief Kohlhepp said five firefighters could successfully pedal 100 yards only if their feet were allowed to touch the street for balance.

In disrepair, the 5-person bicycle was overhauled in 1986, noted Newton.

“I was afraid to touch the bike, much less ride it. It was unwieldy, just impossible to ride, and it still is,” said Newton.

Retired Culver City Building Engineer Jeff Wolf said the last time officers seriously rode the bike was before Covid.

“They were able to maneuver the bike with three riders, but they were fighting each other to stay upright with five on top,” said Wolf.

Wolf, who now owns a custom fabrication shop, said he helped rebuild the bike.

“It had collapsed with flat tires, so the first thing I had to do was reinforce it with new spokes,” said Wolf.

Newton said his Model A was in terrible condition before its conversion.

“We took it down to everything, put it in the shop, and day by day, got it into shape,” he said.

For parity, Kohlhepp said the race director should flatten the tires of the police vehicle.

He guarantees his firefighters would win the bucket brigade if instituted in the race. To extinguish a fire, it’s a race to shuttle water via plastic fire helmets into a large bucket.

“When our families get involved, we always win,” said Kohlhepp with a smile.

Alliance Culver City, 3961 Sepulveda Blvd., will host a free Screenland 5K training workshop on Sunday, Feb. 18, at 3 p.m. The final session before the race will be Feb. 25, 3 p.m., at the Culver City High School track.

Enter code CCFD for a 15% race discount at

Culver City Firefighters will race a vintage Culver City Police Dept. Model A from Ivy Station to the downtown fire station in a fundraiser for police and fire charities. CCFD firefighters are (from left) Cameron Soden, Matt McCormick, Doug Furano, Brett Nagel and Joe LaRiccia.

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