VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – Bike – check. Helmet – check. Car at home – check!

Expect to see many more cyclists out on the road this morning as Bike to Work Week begins in communities around the province.

Starting in 1998, this week is meant to encourage new and old cyclists to sign up, log your kilometres and win prizes.

If you ask any cyclist, they’ll tell you biking to and from work is better for your health and the environment.

Executive Director of HUB, Erin O’Mellin, says increased bike lanes around Metro Vancouver is another reason why more people are taking part.

“We’ve had thousands of people participate the past and we’re looking at increasing that by about 15 per cent this year,” notes O’Mellin. “There’s lots of attention that’s been put on Bike to Work Week, with the infrastructure getting better.”

She adds rising gas prices are influencing some people to leave the car keys at home.

“You’re saving money on buying a car, paying for gas, paying for parking. On average that’s about $8,000 a year if you don’t have to worry about those car costs.”

As part of Bike to Work Week, you’ll find water stations set up all around Metro Vancouver.

TransLink has also put together a cyclist route map of Metro Vancouver to make it easier for you to get around this week.

Last year, Bike to Work Week participants logged over 348,000 kilometres.