Replacing four wheels with two

FRESNO, Calif.

The goal of National Biking Month is to encourage Valley residents to get out and get pedaling.

With gas prices more than $4.00 a gallon many say it's the perfect time to get fit and save money.

A large group of bicyclists rode down Blackstone Avenue Thursday morning, hoping to show others that riding can be a fun, fat fighting, eco-friendly alternative.

A year ago Anthony Taylor quit driving to work and started biking. "I commute seven miles each way to work. From the Tower District out to North Fresno and generally speaking it's a beautiful commute. I ride up Christmas Tree Lane which is one of the most beautiful rides in the city and then I kick out at Palm and Shaw and ride straight down."

Many riders who pedaled from "mall to mall" are both leisure and commuter bikers. But, they say the more people who ditch four wheels for two will make riding a less dangerous sport for everyone.

Byron Watkins said, "The more bikers we have on the road the safer our bikers are going to be because they are going to be more of a fixture for cars and I think that's an important thing to make it safer for bikers."

The city of Fresno has taken many steps to make the city more bike friendly. In recent years additional bike paths and lanes have been created, and even more are planned.

Nationwide bike sales are up 9% the first quarter of this year over last year. Motorcycle and scooter sales are also up over 30% this year at Clawson Motorsports of Fresno. Sales manager Tony Audino says many people buying these bikes plan to use them for supplemental transportation. "In most cases when we actually work the numbers out customers actually pay for a scooter or motorcycle payment with the money they are saving just in gas from their SUV's and trucks."

For Taylor, what began as a way to get more fit and save gas, has ended up also being good exercise for the mind. "Honestly, I always tease my wife that it makes me a better husband. That ride home, it's a 45 minute ride for me home, I decompress. So by the time I get home I am a much better human being thanks to riding the bike, rather than driving in traffic."

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