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Bike shop near Los Angeles partners with nearby auto dealership to highlight health and financial benefits of cycling

For a limited time this month, a bike shop in California is turning around the "How much!? You could buy a car for that!" remark so familiar to any cyclist with a decent bike by offering motorists the chance to trade in their car or SUV, and walk away the proud owner of a brand new bicycle.

Located close to Los Angeles – perhaps the first city that springs to mind when you think of car dependency and the pollution and gridlock that accompanies it – Santa Monica Mountains Cyclery (SMMC) is using aiming to encourage motorists to switch to two wheels to save money and get fit.

“It’s Los Angeles. Gas prices are near all-time highs, and the freeways are as congested as always, “ explained David Kooi, who owns SMMC.

“We want to give people the opportunity to get out of their gas-guzzling cars and SUVs and trade them for the most fuel efficient vehicle we know – the bicycle.

“I’ve heard it said that cars run on money and make you fat - and bicycles run on fat and save you money. That’s never been more true,” he added.

The promotion, which runs from Monday 18 March to Sunday 25 March, is being run in partnership with a car dealership across the road.

First, prospective purchasers pick out a bike at SMMC, then they pop over the road to Vista Ford to have their vehicle assessed for its trade-in value. Once that’s agreed, it’s back to SMMC to finalise the transaction and ride away.

With the bike shop selling brands including Ridley, Colnago, Litespeed and Cervelo, it's possible that "HOW much?!" question might get a good airing.

Just how many SoCal motorists will take Kooi up on his offer is open to question - but if nothing else, the initiative may make some realise that other modes of transport are available.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.