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Marty Shukert has been cycling to work for nearly 40 years. He said group rides, like those planned for Friday’s Bike to Work Day, are a good way to ease into the practice.

Grab your helmet and dust off the bicycle, commuters.

Friday is National Bike to Work Day, and a handful of local organizations plan to mark the occasion with group rides.

Group rides will depart from a number of locations in the metro area and will end with coffee and pastries at City Hall, 1819 Farnam St.

“We’re trying to provide an easy way for people to bike to work for the first time,” Ben Turner, board chair of Omaha Bikes, said in a statement. “Riding to work for the first time can be really intimidating, so we want to create an environment in which people felt comfortable.”

Marty Shukert has been commuting via bicycle for about 40 years. The former city planning director now rides about 7 miles to work at RDG Planning & Design. He rides in most weather, though he opts for other transportation if it’s icy or temps dip below 20 degrees.

Group rides, like the ones on Friday, are an easy way to test the waters, Shukert said.

“Things like Bike to Work Day, where people ride in groups, reinforces that activity and does really show people that it’s not that difficult to do,” he said. “Those hills that seem like they’re unclimbable aren’t. The traffic that seems too difficult or too scary can be routed around.”

The commute doubles as Shukert’s daily workout and it leaves him feeling better. He also said it’s environmentally friendly, even if you only cycle to work once or twice a week.

Bike to Work organizers include Omaha Bikes, the Omaha-Council Bluffs Metro Area Planning Agency, Heartland B-cycle and Metro Transit.

Those who can’t make group rides can find aid stations set up at City Hall, the Aksarben Transit Center, the Culver’s trailhead in Bellevue and at the Peony Park Hy-Vee. Aid stations will offer free drinks and snacks to riders. A number of organizations will host pop-up stations on bike routes, too.

Heartland B-cycle will offer free bike rentals, metro YMCA locations will provide free shower facilities and commuters combining a bike ride with a bus trip will get a free ride on Metro Transit buses.

Find more information at Facebook.com and sign up for a group ride at bit.ly/2LzxVR7.

Group rides are:

» Papillion, 6:30 a.m., 225 S. Washington St.

» Bellevue, 6:30 a.m., Lied Activity Center

» Millard, 6:30 a.m., 131st and Q Streets

» Council Bluffs, 7:15 a.m., 33 S. Main St.

» North Omaha, 7:30 a.m., North Omaha Transit Center

» Bemis/Gifford, 7:30 a.m., Gifford Park

» Benson/Dundee, 7:30 a.m., Metcalfe Park

» South Omaha, 7:30 a.m., Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium south gate

» Aksarben Village, 7:45 a.m., Aksarben Transit Center

Kelsey covers health and fitness for The World-Herald. Follow her on Twitter @kels2. Phone: 402-444-3100.

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