The City of Bath Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee and the League of American Bicyclists, the national organization for bicyclists, announced that May 14-18 is Bike to Work Week, and Friday, May 18, is Bike to Work Day.

Both organizations encourage people to bike to work or to try cycling for fun and fitness.

The Bath Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee will be hosting two events during the week.

Members of the committee will meet at the Bath YMCA parking lot on Tuesday, May 15, for the second annual Tour de Bath. The leisurely, guided ride will depart the YMCA at 7 a.m. for an approximately 6.5-mile ride.

A highlight this year will be a stop at Bath Middle School to ride a short distance with students participating in Riding for Focus. The program creates an environment where students learn that good physical health correlates to positive social, academic and emotional health.

The tour will continue to City Hall and a stop for coffee and a treat at a downtown business before heading back to the YMCA.

On Friday, May 18, at 6:30 a.m., the committee will be at the north gate of Bath Iron Works to greet bike commuters and hand out safety items. Bicycle Coalition of Maine and Specialized Bicycle are supplying the safety gear.

If you are contemplating commuting by bike, here’s some food for thought.

Biking to work saves money and is a great way to get exercise without having to find time during the day. The reasons for biking to work are many, but the main benefit for biking is the improvement in a person’s general wellness.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. and bicycling is a proven means of addressing cardiovascular health. A study of 2,400 adults found that those who biked to work were fitter, leaner and less likely to be obese. Those who bike to work also had better triglycerides levels, blood pressure and insulin levels than non-active commuters.

The annual operating cost of a bicycle is approximately $308, while it costs about $8,000 yearly for a car. Bicycle commuting saves on parking fees, parking tickets, fuel costs and maintenance. Bicyclists are less likely to be affected by traffic congestion, and bike commuters report lower stress and greater feelings of freedom and relaxation than car commuters.

For further information, visit the Bath Bicycle and Pedestrian committee’s Facebook page.