Pedal your way through summer!

By Blog Coordinator Meghan Randolph

Fred Ross and friends pedaling away!

National Bike Month is almost over, but with summer coming up, it’s a great time to cycle through the lush green trees and feel the breeze!

SAIL Member Fred Ross has been biking for years. I caught him on the phone just as he had come inside from a twenty-mile ride.

“It’s been part of our lives for many years,” he said, referring to he and his wife. “We’ve biked all over the country and all over the world.” Destinations where Fred and his wife have pedaled the pavement include France, Italy, Ireland, and Czechoslovakia.

Several years ago, Fred started the SAIL Bike Club. In this fun group, a few SAIL members take a ride around Madison and stop for coffee along the way. “Yukking it up with other members is part of the fun,” Fred says. “It’s non-heroic. It’s for enjoyment and camaraderie.”

Biking is low-impact, low-stress exercise that’s great for everyone, especially older adults. Cycling’s circular movements that propel you forward are much easier on your joints than something like jogging. It’s also great for combatting heart disease, stroke, cancer, and heart attack, all of which are concerns for senior citizens.

Biking can even help with memory! When you cycle, your brain becomes fully oxygenated and stimulates the hippocampus, which helps to fight off dementia. For the same reason, it’s also good for mental health.

Biking is a good way to exercise safely during the current coronovirus pandemic. It’s a good solo activity, or an activity that can be enjoyed with members of your family.

Finally, biking is a wonderful, environmentally-friendly way to get around. Madison is often named one of the most bike-friendly cities in the United States. As of 2014, about 5.3% of commuters biked to work, with many more biking for exercise and recreation.

Fred and SAIL are still working to determine when the SAIL Bike Club can safely return. But in the meantime, Fred suggests trying biking or just getting outside somehow. “It really helps,” he assures. If you’re looking to get some fun in the sun after being cooped up and still maintain social distancing, biking is a great answer!

Thank you, Fred, for the advice and for your work with the SAIL Bike Club!

Keep an eye on the SAIL Messenger for information on when the SAIL Bike Club will return.

Further Reading

Bicycle commuting data
Smart Cycling
Top ten trails to try in Madison
10 benefits of cycling for seniors
Best bicycles for seniors
Complete guide to cycling and aging
How to start cycling

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