Trying to figure out how to get more activity in your life? You could do all — or part — of your daily commute on a bike. The 2012 Census Bureau’s American Community Survey reported that some 865,000 Americans commute to work by bicycle, which accounts for about .61 % of all working adults, and a slight rise over the previous year.  That number of commuters on bikes is significantly higher in regions around the country with good weather all year round like Palo Alto, Santa Barbara and Gainesville. However, there are a growing number of cycling commuters in places like New York City, where now 1% of the population bikes to work. More and more U.S. cities, like New York and Boston, are offering bike-sharing programs that enable users to rent bikes in one location and return them to another, which makes commuting easier. In addition, several cities now have special bicycle only lanes on many major streets, which make it safer for cyclists to navigate through heavy traffic.

According to biketoworkinfo.org, a website run by the Pedestrians and Bicycle Information Center, there are some compelling reasons to consider biking to work for your wallet, your health and your community. First, it’s a lot cheaper. Owning and maintaining a vehicle can cost about $9,000 a year, as compared to $120 a year for owning a bicycle. Second, if you ride your bike to work for four miles a day round trip, you can burn on average 36,000 calories each year. If you live too far away to bike to work, even a two-mile ride each day, back and forth to a commuter train, adds up in terms of health benefits. Third, it helps the environment. For every mile pedaled instead of driven, there’s one pound less of carbon dioxide, the primary green house gas implicated in global warming. The last is perhaps the best reason of all to ditch the car in favor of a bike: cycling to work is a lot more fun than sitting for hours in traffic!

If you bike to work or just for fun, and want to track your calories, log your food and share your data with friends, try mapmyride, a mobile app that does all that and more.