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12:43 PM Sun, Sept. 23rd

Editorial: Start pedaling for your health and pocketbook

Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier<br>
Sara and Danny Murray with the Back Country Horsemen talk with members of the Prescott Mountain Bike Alliance about sharing trails Saturday morning at the Cayuse Trailhead in Prescott.

Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier<br> Sara and Danny Murray with the Back Country Horsemen talk with members of the Prescott Mountain Bike Alliance about sharing trails Saturday morning at the Cayuse Trailhead in Prescott.

The weather is fine. No snow or rain falling upon us. It's time to roll those bicycles out of the garage and go for a spin in spring's refreshing air.

And, those who are so inclined may want to start that pedaling today, the beginning of Prescott Bike Month, which is sponsored by Prescott Alternative Transportation, a group that would like to encourage more residents to park their cars and hop on their bicycles.

In keeping with the month that features their preferred mode of transportation, PAT members have planned a host of activities. While some of you may not be up to the Whiskey Off-Road endurance mountain bike ride April 29-May 1, the month-long calendar of events offers something for everyone who enjoys biking or is thinking about taking up the sport for just leisure.

On the calendar are bike rides, maintenance clinics, movie nights, trail work days, bike lane symbol painting, skills training and bike polo, to mention a little of what's going on. PAT plans to add even more activities before the month ends on May 20 with the annual Ride to Work Day.

Those who want to join in some of the events should keep an eye on PAT's website, www.prescottbikeped.org.

PAT has been around since the late 1990s, working diligently to encourage local governments to make way for this viable option of transportation by providing safe bike lanes on major streets. Slowly but surely, we have seen these bicycle-friendly pathways emerge so that bicyclists can safely share the roads with other vehicles.

More than being a means of travel, health experts tell us bicycling is good for our bodies. Pumping bike pedals strengthens the abs, thighs and glutes, and it tones the upper body, as well. Cycling is a low-impact aerobic workout that improves cardiovascular fitness, burns calories, and boosts energy. Besides these pluses, the sport is easier on your joints than walking or running, and this exercise also can be a way to reduce stress, anxiety and depression and even lower blood pressure.

If all of these benefits of choosing a bike rather than a car to get your destination haven't been convincing enough, consider your wallet a beneficiary, too.

The only pump a bike requires is the one that puts air in its tires. Air carries no price tag and sure beats paying $4 at the gas station.

So, get on your bicycle and go. You will be healthier and your pocketbook will be a bit richer for it, too.