Braving cold and old age
ASHLEY SMITH/Times-News Chuck Breault, 65, left, of Twin Falls and his brother, John Breault, 67, of Venice, Calif., tackle the ride to the top of Galena Summit on Oct. 2. They were riding in the Sawtooth Cycle Challenge Bike Ride and Race to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Idaho. ASHLEY SMITH/Times-News

Many Wood River Valley residents spent Oct. 2 avoiding the bitter cold, but brothers Chuck and John Breault were pedaling up Galena Summit.

The 35-mile ride wasn't the first for the two seniors. They meet up for long-distance rides every year, not only strengthening their brotherly bond but reaping the benefits that cycling can give to older bodies.

Chuck, 65, and John, 67, started their long distance cycling in 2001. John lives in Venice, Calif., and Chuck lives in TwinFalls.

"Every summer, we try to get together,"Chuck said. The two meet up to go on long-distance rides, and their previous conquests have included three passes in Wyoming and riding across Nevada.

"We just said we're getting old, we'd better start doing something,"Chuck said.

This month's Galena Summit ride was for charity. TheSawtoothCycle Challenge raised money for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The brothers saw the ad in a cycling magazine and decided to make the ride this year's challenge.

Eric Snow, fitness director at YMCA TwinFalls, said that cycling can provide seniors with a great aerobic workout while being easy on the joints. It also strengthens core and lower body muscles, Snow said, "which as we age, is a huge thing when it comes to balance and preventing falls."

If seniors - or others - are interested in starting long-distance cycling, Snow recommended starting slowly, and adding distance as your body becomes more accustomed to the exercise. Also, new cyclists should make sure their bikes are fitted properly, ensuring a comfortable and safe ride.

Not interested in biking up mountains in the freezing cold?Try a spinning class, Snow suggested. It offers the same benefits in a controlled environment.

But Chuck and John are a little more hard-core. They brave the weather and road conditions and monitor their heart rates, altitude and distance covered.

"It keeps us fairly fit,"John said.

Melissa Davlin may be reached at 208-735-3234 or melissa.davlin@lee.net.

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