Bike to Work Week 5/16-20; $2,500 in gift cards and baskets to be given away

The Merced County Association of Governments said Bike to Work Week will be next week, May 16-20.

Commute Connection, the Merced Bicycle Coalition and major sponsors are organizing raffles and events in Merced County. The events will be held during the annual nationwide promotion of bicycling to work as a way to reduce congested roads and improve air quality.

Now in its 23rd year, the event is an awareness campaign and a call to action for commuters, urging them to get out from behind the wheel and give biking or walking to work a try, MCAG said in a news release.

Commute Connection will hold drawings to give away $2,500 worth of gift cards and "Smart Commuter" gift baskets. Communters are encouraged to pledge to bike or walk to work, or to a location where they can take transit to work, at least one day during Bike to Work Week.

Register to enter a drawing at www.commuteconnection.com or during county specific events May 20 in Merced, San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties.

The Merced Bicycle Coalition will sponsor a variety of Bike to Work Week events within the city of Merced in May. Go to www.mercedbicyclecoalition.org for a list of events. On May 20, during your bike to work or school, you can visit local "energizing stations" at Paulson Road and Yosemite Avenue at the Promenade, Mercy Hospital, 26th and M streets, and downtown by Bob Hart Square. Stations are hosted by UC Merced, Mercy Hospital and the Merced Bicycle Coalition.

Register at one of the energizer stations for prizes and T-shirts.