Commuters get in gear for Bike to Work Day

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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

Hundreds of Valley residents traded their cars for cycles on Thursday to celebrate National Bike to Work Day. The event is part of a national Bike Month initiative. The movement aims to encourage people across the nation to ride bicycles as often as they can as an alternative mode of transportation. Experts point out that riding a bike to work is not only good for the environment, but also good for your health.

More than a hundred cyclists gathered at Park Central Mall Thursday morning to make the four-mile bike ride to CityScape, where Bike to Work festivities were planned, and participants received free bagels and T-shirts. Community volunteers were also on hand to promote health, fitness and safety, and give tips on bicycle commuting.

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton and city and Maricopa County officials joined the cyclists on their trek, and even made it a friendly competition between the City and County.

"I would not say it is friendly," Stanton joked. "We want to beat them! We like the County and everything, but we want to win this thing."

But, he added, the event benefits everyone. "If we both do well, it's better for all of us," he said.

Stanton has always been a big advocate for making Phoenix more bike-friendly. He spearheaded several projects in that area, including introducing a bike-share program and installing more bike lanes.

Many cities around the Valley welcome bikers. For example, Tempe has some 170 miles of bike routes. And three percent of Tempe residents say they ride their bike to work every single day.

When you carpool, ride the bus or light rail, walk to work, ride your bike to the office or even take advantage of your employer's telework or compressed work week options, you are contributing to an important Valley wide objective: cleaner air. Not only do you save money and ease traffic congestion by using alternative modes, you help to reduce the estimated 770 tons of carbon monoxide and 3,000 tons of particulates released in Valley skies every day. Learn more about each mode by visiting SharetheRide.com

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