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Westchester Bike Shop Promotes Healthier Lifestyle With New App

Biking and health advocates, pointing to a decline in bike riding and a rise in obesity rates, are offering a free app to help more Westchesterites take part in the outdoor activity.
Biking and health advocates, pointing to a decline in bike riding and a rise in obesity rates, are offering a free app to help more Westchesterites take part in the outdoor activity. Photo Credit: Wikipedia

PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. -- Ride of Pleasantville, a Pleasantville bike shop, has teamed up with My City Bikes, a public health campaign, to help reverse a trend of declining bicycle ownership.

The My City Bikes Westchester County app is, Ride said, is a basic utility that provides a guide to local beginner biking, as well as information about bike safety and maintenance.

In the first global study of its kind, researchers at Johns Hopkins University have found that bicycle ownership has declined by half, according to biking and health advocates.

According to the study, which analyzed data from 1.25 billion households around the world, bike ownership dropped to 32 percent in 2012 from 60 percent in 1989. It was published in the Journal of Transport & Health.

Some health and biking advocates -- linking the decline in bike riding to a rise in obesity rates -- have come up with an app they hope will reverse the trend.

"It may seem small, but just getting out for a ride for 15 minutes or biking to the park or a friend’s house with your family instead of taking the car does make a difference," said Gabe Wallace, co-director of public health campaign My City Bikes.

"It's a tragedy that more than two-thirds of Generation Z are growing up in a household without a bicycle," Wallace said. “This is an especially stark fact when mirrored against the simultaneous rise of one of the greatest public health crises of our time: obesity."

According to the orgnaization, obesity rates in New York have more than doubled -- to 23.6 percent in 2012 from 9.3 percent in 1990.

"From a public health perspective, cycling promotes wellness, and the benefits of cycling outweigh the risks," the Johns Hopkins study said.

Cycling is key to making cities more "livable," the study said, because it connects easily to other modes of transit and can “stimulate local businesses via the addition of new cycling routes."

For more information about local biking and to access the free app, click here .

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