SAN FRANCISCO -- Fed up with sitting in traffic and paying more than $50 to fill his tank, Scott Morrison ditched his gas-guzzling pickup and started biking to work.
Rain or shine, Morrison now bikes the 6 miles from his home in Fairfield, about 45 miles northeast of San Francisco, to the packaging plant where he works as a machine operator. Six months after switching to two wheels, he feels more relaxed and healthier, having lost nearly 50 pounds.
''Every time I get on the scale, it's like I'm getting rewarded for riding to work," said Morrison, 38. ''The two biggest complaints people have are not having enough money and obesity. I'm taking care of both."
As gas prices climb to record highs, more Americans seem to be abandoning their cars and biking to work to save money at the pump. This week, as cities across the country celebrate National Bike to Work Week, advocates are promoting bicycle commuting as a way to trim transportation costs, get in shape, and help the environment.
''Every additional person who rides their bike to work would start reducing our dependence on foreign oil immediately," said Tim Blumenthal, who heads the Bikes Belong Coalition in Boulder, Colo.
Cycling to work is just one way Americans are seeking relief from skyrocketing gas prices. Many who normally drive to work are riding buses and trains, working from home, and carpooling.
Bike shops nationwide are seeing more customers who want to buy new bikes or repair old ones for commuting, said Fred Clements, who heads the National Bicycle Dealers Association in Costa Mesa, Calif.
''They have seen a surge in interest from the public about riding bicycles as a way to reduce the impact of high gas prices," Clements said. ''People that already have bikes suddenly realize this would be a great way to save money."
About 20 million bikes were sold in the United States in 2005, one of the industry's best years ever, and retailers are optimistic that gas prices will lead to record bike sales this year, Clements said.
Organizers are promoting National Bike to Work Week with a series of events aimed at getting drivers to try commuting by bicycle, if only for a day. Many cities, including Minneapolis, Salt Lake City, and Washington, D.C., will host special events for commuters Friday, National Bike to Work Day.
The San Francisco Bay area is marking its 12th annual Bike to Work Day tomorrow, when volunteers will hand out refreshments, breakfast foods, and biking information at 170 ''energizer" stations in nine counties.
Bay Area organizers expect up to 100,000 people to participate tomorrow, given the widespread frustration over gas prices that have surged past $3.50 per gallon in the Bay Area and elsewhere.
''The biggest challenge is that people think the car is more convenient," said Cole Portocarrero, who heads the Bay Area Bicycle Coalition. Once they try biking to work, ''they realize it's convenient, fun, and enjoyable."
About 550,000 Americans -- fewer than 1 percent of US workers -- bike to work regularly, according to Blumenthal.
Advocates are trying to boost those numbers.