(Photo: Erik Issakson/Getty Images

Biking is the perfect way to spin away a summer afternoon. You can see the sights, nurture your spirit with Mother Nature, hang out with friends, boost your health, and burn calories all at the same time.

Even if you do not own your own wheels, bikeshare programs have popped up all over the country making it easier than ever to rent a bike and hit the streets or your local nature trail. Here are a few great benefits of a summer afternoon bike ride, you can:

Build a better body. Cycling not only builds strong (and shapely) legs, it also strengthens muscles throughout the body. Biking regularly (to work, for example, or as a workout) is related to lower rates of heart disease, cancer, and other serious health problems.

Bring the whole family. Because it’s a low-impact activity that can be carried out at almost any pace, family members old, young, fit, and not so fit, can participate. Just agree to a speed that works for everyone, wear helmets, and play it safe. Don’t learn to ride on city streets. Try the local park trail.

Meet new friends. Groups like Black Women Bike and  Black Girls do Bike plan events that may be in an area near you. Check out their sites and other organizations or online meet-up boards to find a crew that’s ready to hit the road.

Free your mind. Like all great forms of exercise, biking lifts your spirits and helps you feel more positive, but research shows that biking also boosts cognitive skills, so you can cycle your way to a better brain.

Have a great day: The #1 reason to cycle is simple—it’s fun! So hit the road and have a fabulous weekend.

About Fierce Fridays — Tips for Weekend Well-Being

We each cherish those precious days off at the end of the week, but increasingly those of us who are charter members of the sisterhood of the stressed and overworked are losing our Saturday and Sunday leisure time to weekend work and domestic duties.

To make sure that you do something every weekend that’s just for you, we’ll be sharing a little advice to make those 48 hours a great time to recharge your batteries, bring a little good news into your life, or discover a quick and easy way to improve your health.