Bike to Work Week kicks off Sunday is your source for free news and information in the Wilmington area.

The Cross City Trail is one route commuters are encouraged to take during this year's Bike to Work Week. File photo.
The Cross City Trail is one route commuters are encouraged to take during this year’s Bike to Work Week. File photo.

It’s time once again to consider taking your daily commute from four wheels down to two.

The City of Wilmington is gearing up to celebrate National Bike to Work Week, set for May 10-16, by helping promote cycling as an eco-friendly, healthy alternative to driving.

The Wilmington Metropolitan Planning Organization, which is sponsoring the event locally, is encouraging area employees to sign up to participate at least one day during the week in its effort to recruit residents to become regular bicycle commuters.

The WMPO’s oversight area includes New Hanover and portions of Brunswick and Pender counties.

As in years past, the WMPO hopes to get participant input through online registration, which helps the city apply for funding for the annual event, as well as apply for a “Bicycle Friendly Community” designation from the League of American Bicyclists (LAB), which organizes Bike to Work Week, as part of the bigger National Bike Month.

In 2013, 62 bikers joined the cause. That number more than doubled last year, with 133 participants. Last year also showed a jump in the number of Cape Fear employers represented, up 21 from 2013’s county of 24. Both years, the greatest number of participants came from UNC-Wilmington. LAB has designated UNCW a Bicycle Friendly University, one of only six universities in the state to have received the accolade.

This year, WMPO aims to draw in 160 participants, with 55 employers represented, biking a total of 4,200 miles. Additionally, WMPO’s 2015 goals include 210 gallons of fuel savings and weight loss amounting to 60 pounds overall.

Local organizers say the city’s the Gary Shell Cross-City Trail–an off-street pathway visiting popular destinations all over Wilmington–and the River to Sea Bikeway offer safe routes for commuters during Bike to Work Week.