Thursday, January 20, 2022

Cycling Milestone Goes Beyond Numbers for 62-Year-Old Iron-Bound Gym Staple

Butch Easton celebrates completing his 1,000th indoor cycling class at Iron-Bound Gym (
Butch Easton celebrates completing his 1,000th indoor cycling class at Iron-Bound Gym (Photo courtesy of Iron-Bound Gym).

Butch Easton’s passion for cycling burns more than the legs of a Tour de France rider approaching the peak of the Col du Tourmalet.

Easton, 62, is a cycling fanatic who completed his 1,000th indoor cycling class at Iron-Bound Gym on New Year’s Eve 2014. The milestone, which took about 21 months to accomplish, was met with much fanfare around the establishment.

Cycling for Easton has become an integral part of his life, something he said he cannot foresee going without. While his motivations for cycling changed over the years, his love for the sport remained steadfast.

Easton’s parents bought him his first bike when he was 15 years old. He took to the bike and began going for longer rides as he grew older and became more accustomed to the physical tolls of cycling.

When he attended college at the University of Maryland, Easton found a practical use for his new hobby.

“At the time, the University of Maryland was really short on housing,” Easton said. “So if you lived within 25 miles of the campus, you couldn’t live on campus. So I commuted, and a lot of the time I just rode my bike to campus.”

Cycling transformed from an activity done for leisure into a way to make sure Easton reached his classes on time. Following his graduation from college, with no more classes to attend, Easton resumed cycling for personal enjoyment and exercise.

Easton’s passion for cycling spans decades, with the sport taking new shapes and roles as his life has progressed. Most recently, cycling took on its most important role for Easton: survival.

In 2008, five weeks after becoming eligible to retire from his job at the Federal Reserve, Easton underwent a quadruple bypass as a result of genetic cardiovascular problems.

Easton’s doctor encouraged him to continue his active lifestyle during his recovery. For Easton, the procedure meant he needed to push himself harder than ever to prevent any further health issues.

Now in retirement, Easton has found a new job with which to devote himself.

“I kind of look at going to the gym as my job now,” Easton said. “Spinning is a way to stay healthy. It’s also a great stress reliever.”

After moving to Williamsburg in 2010, Easton took up indoor cycling classes at Iron-Bound Gym in New Town.

In May 2013, Iron-Bound Gym started a program aimed at promoting indoor spinning classes. Members who complete 100 spinning classes get to add their name to a designated wall that acts as a Hall of Fame for the program.

For Easton, taking on this challenge was a no-brainer.

“Since my main form of exercise is spin classes, it was sort of natural to me,” Easton said of the incentivized spinning classes.

Easton crushed the challenge in 59 days, becoming the first member to complete 100 spinning classes.

Initially intending to stop counting, Easton began fielding inquiries from other members about how many classes he had completed. The tally of classes took on a life of its own.

His running total of completed spinning classes became personal for Easton, so he decided to set a goal for 1,000.

Achieving this goal would prove more difficult than his previous accomplishment of 100.

Easton began experiencing different aches and pains all over his body, ranging from his back to his rotator cuff. In an effort to alleviate the pains, Easton decided to become a certified spin instructor.

“It was mostly for personal benefit, making sure I was doing the moves correctly,” Easton said.

His certification paid off.

Combined with advice from one of his cycling trainers, Easton found positioning techniques that allowed him to cycle with little to no pain, allowing him to continue on his cycling journey.

Easton continued cycling at break-neck pace, completing between 45 and 50 classes a month. Cycling became a crucial part of Easton’s days, sometimes doing two or three classes a day.

“Taking a day off doesn’t work for me,” Easton said of his cycling routine. “It almost doesn’t feel right if I don’t cycle. On the days when I’m doing two to three [classes], if I only do one I feel like I’m slacking.”

Throughout the process, Easton became a staple at Iron-Bound Gym. To those at Iron-Bound, days where Easton is not cycling are almost cause for concern.

“If I miss a day, I get emails like, ‘Are you OK,'” Easton said.

In about 21 months of near-daily cycling, Easton completed his 1,000th spinning class.

Easton still plans to continue cycling – indoor and outdoor – but he has no more plans to continue counting his classes.

Beyond helping to keep his heart healthy, cycling has served as the top stress reliever for Easton. The passion Easton shares for cycling is something he hopes to pass on to the younger generations who are growing up in the midst of obesity epidemics. He said he wants his story to help inspire people of all ages to improve their lifestyles and get active.

“If you have the markers or genetics for heart disease, you can slow down cardiovascular disease but it’s going to be there sooner of later,” Easton said, encouraging others to heed his words. “So you need to stay active. You need to get out there and do something. Staying active can be fun. Just get out there and enjoy it. Get with your friends. It’s just a great stress reliever.”

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