ENID, Okla. (AP) — When DeWayne Boese began bicycling in 2013, he was diabetic and needed to find a way to lose weight and keep it off, he said.

"That was the start of it," Boese said. "I was insulin dependent at the time, but I'm not insulin dependent now. It has changed a lot of things for me."

His overall health has changed, and he is more energetic, he said to the Enid News & Eagle.

Age has not slowed down some area bicyclists, like Boese, and many have found better health through the physical activity.

Health benefits of bicycling include muscle tone, cardiovascular health, keeping an active lifestyle and weight loss, cyclist Bryan Skaggs said.

Skaggs has bicycled on and off throughout his life.

"I like the challenges. I stay pretty active, so anything to create a challenge for me I'm in for, and just the health aspect of it. I'm 53, and I still feel like I'm 25 sometimes," he said. "I just want to stay healthy. I don't want to get out of shape, and (I want to) keep my mobility as I age."

Tim Harris rode bicycles as a child but got back into riding around 15 or 16 years ago for the health and fitness aspects.

"I was probably 40 years old or close to it and, like most people do at that age, had gained weight and just wanted to be in better shape," he said.

At the time, Harris was on cholesterol medication, and his doctor wanted to put him on blood pressure medication.

"I knew that I didn't need it," he said. "I knew that I could get the weight off and exercise and get my blood pressure back down. And that's what I did."

Harris has not been on blood pressure or cholesterol medication since.

"Good bicycles aren't cheap, but neither is the price you pay with the medications or just not feeling good," he said.

A lot of people get into bicycling for health reasons, Shannon Perosi said. A friend encouraged him to get back into bicycling five years ago because he was getting overweight.

"The first year I rode I noticed such a dramatic difference and an improvement. I didn't want to stop riding," he said. "At first I thought, 'No, it's not what I want to do.' But then, after you spend enough time doing it, you see the benefits. Ninety miles a week isn't anything."

Boese initially thought he would do more mountain biking than road cycling but has found he likes all three types of cycling — riding on the road, dirt roads and mountain biking.

Prior to having surgery last year, he typically tallied close to 4,000 miles of riding a year.

Boese has participated in riding events and typically rides 20 to 25 miles three times a week with a group of people through The Bike Shop in Enid.

"It's a lot of fun, it's great camaraderie, it's a good community and. It spans the ages. We have people in their early 20s, and sometimes teenagers come out with us. I'm probably one of the oldest at 66 — on a consistent basis I usually am the oldest person around. It's a lot of fun," Boese said.

What Skaggs most enjoys about bicycling is the camaraderie among people.

He usually rides with a group of people and likes both road and mountain biking, he said.

"I do mountain biking, I do road bikes, pretty much do it all, but dirt roads and gravel are probably my favorite," Harris said, noting dirt road and gravel biking has become popular.

Mountain biking should become more popular with a trail in Enid, he said.

"I'll embrace that because I like that also. Right now we have to drive an hour or so to get to a mountain bike trail," Harris said.

He enjoys the scenery that comes with dirt road and gravel biking.

"There's no traffic to speak of. You don't deal with cars passing you while they're texting or on the phone or whatever. It's quiet, and you still can have the camaraderie of your friends, but you don't have traffic," Harris said. "That and the scenery. Oklahoma's a pretty state. You get out away from town, there's a lot to see."

Perosi's favorite type of cycling is mountain biking, he said.

"I'm kind of an extremist, I guess. I'll see things that people go, 'I can't go up that," and I'll try," Perosi said.

He enjoys connections made with other riders.

"Some people want to get on their bike and just concentrate on their bike. I'm not that type. I like to talk and communicate. It makes it more fun when you carry on a conversation and ride," Perosi said.

Skaggs is president of The 580 Trails and said mountain bike trails are being constructed in Enid.

By spring, there are hopes to have 5 miles worth of trails open, Skaggs said.

"What we're finding out with this mountain bike project is we're finding a lot of riders that we didn't know that are now getting together and kind of building a community of people that like to ride," Skaggs said.

Work on the trails began recently, said Boese, who is vice president of The 580 Trails.

Everything has been donated for the effort, he said.


Information from: Enid News & Eagle, http://www.enidnews.com

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