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Pedal to better health during Bike to Work Week in Parksville Qualicum Beach

The battle is on as Parksville and Qualicum Beach gear up for the annual competition to get the most people out to their respective rides with council for Bike to Work Week.

The Oceanside Cycling Coalition is helping organize three events that week, said president Jim Swanson, including the two council rides and the Bike-Bus-Car Community Challenge.

The mandate of Bike to Work Week is to encourage and promote the use of the bicycle as transportation to work and to help riders experience the joy of an ever-increasing number of people safely commuting by bicycle, explained Parksville communications officer Debbie Tardiff.

The week encourages cycling to promote healthy lifestyles and prevention of health issues through regular exercise.

Parksville council invites everyone to join them Monday, May 26 to kick off the week with their annual ride. Starting and finishing at the Parksville Community and Conference Centre, they will do a casual loop along Despard Avenue and back.

The next day (May 27) Qualicum Beach town council will try to top the number of Parksville riders, starting at the PQB Links trail near the LEgion and looping around to town hall. The council with the most riders wins the coveted Pacific Bike Challenge trophy.

Both rides start at 4 p.m. and will have "celebration stations" at the end, Swanson said.

That Monday is National Bike Day and Swanson said they have permission from Canada Bikes to include both council rides under the official bike day umbrella.

Later in the week, but not yet scheduled, there will also be a Bike-Bus-Car Commuter Challenge to compare commute times for the three modes of transportation.

The coalition and municipal councils also encourage businesses and individuals to register any cycling that week online for a chance to win prizes.

Register and get more information at  http://biketowork.ca/oceanside. For more on the local group, which is always looking for volunteers, visit www.oceansidecyclingcoalition.blogspot.ca.

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