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Washoe County Health District racks up Bike Month



washoe-150x150-4288863-2278913The Washoe County Health District is launching the Keep It Clean and Rack ‘Em Up campaign for National Bike Month this May. National Bike to Work and School Week means Washoe County schools and students can gear up when the Washoe County Health District holds its 2013 Rack ‘Em Up Bicycle Contest Wednesday, May 8 in commemoration of National Bike to School Day.

There will be $1,500 in prizes awarded to the schools with the best decorated and fullest bike racks, with first, second and third place prizes for each contest. Judging will be based on photos sent to the Washoe County Health District Air Quality Management Division (AQMD).

To register a school and submit photos, visit www.ourcleanair.com. Submit photos online by Sunday, May 12, to be included in judging. Winners will be notified Monday, May 13.

The contest is a collaborative effort of the Washoe County School District’s Safe Routes to Schools Program and the AQMD. The contest is also a part of the communitywide, monthlong celebration of bicycling activities sponsored by the Truckee Meadows Bicycle Alliance (TMBA).

Washoe County and TMBA encourage everyone to ride a bike to work or school or just try cycling for fun, fitness or transportation. Local participants are eligible to win or receive special incentives at various events including the Commuter Challenge and the Coffee Shop Stops, May 11-17, Bike to the Ballpark, May 12, and Pedal for Pancakes May 17. For more information or to register for the events, visit www.bikenevada.org.

Motor vehicles are the largest source of ozone pollution in Washoe County, and according to health officials, there are numerous health and environmental benefits to bicycling. Adults who bike have better weight, blood pressure and insulin levels, and women who bike 30 minutes a day have a lower risk of breast cancer. A 30 minute round trip bicycle commute is also associated with better mental health in men.

Adolescents who bicycle are 48 percent less likely to be overweight as adults, and statistics also show that for every mile pedaled instead of driven, nearly one pound of carbon dioxide is saved.

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