In Keystone, South Dakota, at the foot of Mt. Rushmore, you will find a favorite tourist attraction—a steam-powered train that travels ten miles through the Black Hills to Hill City, South Dakota. The 1880 Train travels beside Highway 323, and as passengers look that direction, they might see a blur of bright colors speeding by.

The conductor announces, “That flash of red, yellow and blue to your right is a local cyclist, Fred, who often rides along beside us. Fred is a retired dentist. He is 67 years old.”

The train approaches a crossing, and there is Fred, big smile beneath his helmet, waving at the children as they shout, “Fred! Fred!”

The 1880 Train crosses the highway 20 times on its steep course from Keystone to Hill City, and at each crossing, passengers wave to Fred and snap his photograph. As the train pulls into the Hill City station, people are excited to talk with Fred, and ask him to sign their program or pose with them for a photograph. “I am the same age, and I couldn’t do that,” states one gentleman. “I’m half his age and I couldn’t do it,” replies another.

Fred Reth and his wife, Cheryl, work at the Black Hills Health & Education Center. Both glow with energy and good health so that one is surprised to learn Cheryl walks with braces and crutches, due to childhood polio, and Fred had his pituitary gland removed 18 years ago and is on life-long total hormone replacement therapy. They attribute their vitality to their lifestyle practices, the same practices taught to wellness guests at the Center, including a plant-based diet, plenty of fresh air and sunlight, adequate water and rest, and a strong faith in God.

“For both of us, exercise is very important,” Cheryl adds. “Fred rides his bike to and from work in Rapid City twice a week (58 miles round trip) in addition to riding along with the train.” Cheryl swims half a mile three times a week, and both work out regularly in the Fitness Gym at the Center. In addition to working full time, they continue with the upkeep of their home and property.

Fred began racing the train about 10 years ago, which explains why the conductors, brakemen and firemen all know him. “It adds something special for our passengers,” says Brakeman Ken.

After Fred talks with a young mother from Peru, she and her daughter pose with him for a photograph. She gives him a hug saying, “You are such an inspiration!”

What began as a recreational challenge for Fred has become a unique method of outreach. Fred gives God the glory as he shares his faith, a witness on two wheels.

Author Rhonda Clark, MSN, RN, is programs coordinator at Black Hills Health & Education Center.