Ahwatukee bike shop Cactus Bike, Landis Cyclery, Trek Bicycles of West Phoenix and Bicycles of Phoenix have collaborated together on a free bicycling app. The app, called My City Bikes, was designed to help make a positive change in the health and well-being of Valley residents.

Sara Villalobos, community outreach director of My City Bikes, believes the app dedicated to the Phoenix area will help residents to make a change not only in personal health but the environment as well.

“People are always looking for a way to make a difference, and biking is a simple activity that has profound effects. Individual residents will improve their own health, and in the process improve the well-being of the entire community,” said Villalobos.

The free My City Bikes app features six categories for users to explore, including road and commuter, mountain and trail, recreation and touring, bike maintenance, heat monitor and local experts. Each category contains prevalent information on different aspects of biking, including the correct type of bike for what activity is being done and how to bike safely when it’s scorching hot.

“My City Bikes app is a local, all-in-one guide to beginner-friendly biking,” Villalobos said. “For new bikers, it can be very overwhelming to figure out where to start when there are so many options, especially in a place with so many great options like metro Phoenix. The Phoenix Bikes app pulls together not only rides that are great for beginners, but also bike care basics and a heat monitor to make it easy to have a fun, safe ride.”

Ranked one of the most polluted cities by the American Lung Association, Phoenix has an “F” rating both for its number of days of high ozone and year-round particle pollution. On average, a car will produce 1 pound of pollutant for every mile it drives. Riding a bike instead of using a car just once a week can significantly reduce pollution while also allowing the rider to save money at the pump.

“Biking is a simple pleasure, and yet it does so much. It helps strengthen cardiovascular fitness, maintain a healthy weight, gives the mental benefits of physical activity, and does all this while transporting you where you need to go! It’s an incredible way to connect with the city and the nature that surrounds it,” Villalobos said.

The Center for Disease Control reports that 63.9 percent of residents in metro Phoenix are overweight or obese, with 18.5 percent reporting that they do no physical activity or exercise. Bicycle riding is an activity that can be done by nearly anyone, despite age or fitness level. My City Bikes can help new and experienced bike riders to get the most out of the activity.

“My City Bikes is nationwide, and we are so proud to have metro Phoenix included as one of our flagship cities. Metro Phoenix is very important to include because of the city’s challenges with air quality and the fact that more than two-thirds of the population is at an unhealthy weight,” Villalobos said.

To download the Phoenix My City Bikes app, search “Phoenix Bikes” in the iTunes or Google Play app store, or visit mycitybikes.org.

• Kaitlyn Thompson is a junior at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. She is interning this semester for the AFN.

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