Across the country more and more people are hopping up on two wheels to get to work. According to the League of American Bicyclists and the 2010 US Census Bureau data, the number of Americans who pedal to and from work has risen 40 percent since 2000. However, it is only slightly more than half of one percent of all working Americans who commute by bike regularly. With a variety of personal and global benefits, it’s hard to believe more people don’t park their car and commit to their bike. Commuting regularly by bike can improve your health, save you money, and help improve overall air quality.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week in order to maintain a healthy body weight and decrease risk of chronic diseases, such as high blood pressure and heart disease. Commuting by bike guarantees that you reach the minimum amount of recommended cardio each week as a part of your daily routine. Not to mention, moderately paced cycling burns around 500 calories an hour, so go ahead and treat yourself to an ice cream cone on the way home.

According to AAA, the average cost of operating and maintaining a vehicle for one year is $7,800. However, the League of American Bicyclists report that the average cost of operating and maintaining a bicycle for one year is only $120. In addition, purchasing a new or used commuter bike is far less expensive than purchasing a reliable car. Just think of all the things you could do with the thousands you’ll save by trading in four wheels for two.

Roughly 80 percent of carbon monoxide and 55 percent of nitrogen oxide emissions in the United States are from motor vehicle transportation. Although cars and trucks are cleaner and release less pollution now than in earlier years, the number of vehicles on the road has increased significantly and negatively impacted the overall air quality. According to the World Watch Institute, a four-mile roundtrip bicycle ride keeps nearly 15 pound of pollutants out of the air. Help keep your community clean by pedaling to work and around town.

The benefits of regularly commuting by bike reward the individual as well as the community. The transition from four wheels to two can be intimidating, but there are a variety of resources available to help you get started. Join the thousands of Americans who enjoy their daily bicycle commute and toss your car keys in the junk drawer.

To stay hydrated on your commute: