Senior cyclists ride for fun, the benefits of health, camaraderie

BY CURTIS HANZEL, Viera Voice – Jul 1, 2022

They call themselves Tour de Farce -— a group of retirees who do some serious biking and break along the way to shoot the breeze.

While many local residents enjoy a regular bike ride, this group of area cyclists is out to show that cycling is not just a sport for the young.

Indian River Colony Club, a gated golf community in Viera, is the starting point for the group of seniors who cycle three mornings a week. On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturday mornings you are likely to encounter the group making the 19-mile trek to Cocoa Village. They call themselves the Tour de Farce.

The group started in 2013 as the Brevard Social Ride, an open Saturday ride on Rockledge Drive. As more residents of Indian River Colony Club joined, the group evolved. Currently there are nine riders ranging in age from 61 to 85.

Pat Giancatarino moved here from Madison, Alabama. He biked a lot when he was in his 30s, but his exercise interests changed over time.

“When COVID kicked up, I knew I had to do something because all of the gyms were closed,” Giancatarino said. “So I started biking again. That was February 2020. I got involved with this group later that summer. It’s a great way to keep active and a great way to burn calories.”

Giancatarino has lost more than 50 pounds since he started riding again.

Exercise and weight loss aren’t the only benefits of riding with the group. One group member, Bob LaBonte, started riding with the group in 2017 on an old used bike he referred to as Old Huffy.

“I hadn’t been on a bicycle since I was a kid,” LaBonte said. “When I retired, I went from a moderate exercise level to the sedentary game of golf. That’s the reason I started to ride.”

In the five years he has ridden with the group, LaBonte has found an added perk.

“The guys I ride with are a great bunch of guys,” LeBonte said. “We have a spot in Cocoa Village that we refer to as The Nook. That’s where we sit and talk about current issues. We’ll sit for half an hour or 45 minutes and solve all the world’s problems. Then, we get back on the bike and pedal home.”

So for those looking for a little more exercise or just to hang out with a great bunch of guys, the Tour de Farce might be calling you. They meet in Indian River Colony Club on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings between 7:30 and 8 a.m.

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