“My Legs Were Strong, Life Was Good Again”: Getting Back on the Bike (and Getting My Own!) After My Stroke

By Michael, WAS student, cyclist and mountain biker

I had been an avid mountain biker for over 40 years, when I suffered a debilitating hemorrhagic stroke on July 2021 at the age of 62. With complete right side paralysis I thought my active life was over. I was in the hospital (Craig Nielsen Rehabilitation Hospital) for over 40 days fighting to get as much function back as I could. When I left there, I had to use a crutch to walk, and luckily got most of the use of my right arm and hand back.

I met a gentleman named Kerry, who was an amputee, and he told me about an agency that could get me back into cycling. I called Wasatch Adaptive Sports (WAS) and spoke with a gentlemen named Jared, and he told me about the adaptive sport programs they had available for people with neurological deficits. When he mentioned the word adaptive mountain biking/cycling, my outlook suddenly changed. I looked them up online and saw the 3-wheeled bikes they were using and I got really excited to try it.

I was invited to meet WAS along the Jordan River Trail to try out a recumbent bike. Even though I couldn’t walk on my own, I was able to cycle. My legs were strong and luckily had retained their muscle memory for cycling, and I realized I could bike for miles at a time. I was hooked. This was sometime in September of 2021. Life was good again.

As winter was approaching, I knew the cycling would be coming to an end soon. I asked Jared if I could possible rent or use one of their recumbent bikes during the off-season, and to my surprise, he obliged me. So I rode that recumbent bike almost every day that fall and winter, until WAS needed it back in the spring of 2022.

A year after my stroke, a neurologist at University Hospital, decided to scan my brain again to look for the cause of my stroke. To everyone’s surprise, a small olive-sized tumor was found, and it was surgically removed on June 8, 2022.

A couple weeks later, I got a call from Jared at WAS. He told me that an agency, Challenged Athletes Foundation, and a famous skateboarder named Ryan Sheckler (The Sheckler Foundation), wanted to partner with WAS, and give a new recumbent bike to someone who would use it. Jared said he thought of me because he would always see me out riding the bike that WAS was letting me use during the offseason, riding along the Jordan River Trail often. He asked me if I wanted a trike, and I enthusiastically said yes!

A month later in July of 2022, I was invited by Jared from WAS to meet with Ryan Sheckler at Woodward in Park City, to be gifted the new bike. I had previously visited Utah Trikes and picked out the model of the mountain trike that I would like, to my surprise they all went along with it. So I was gifted an HP Velotechnik Scorpion FS Enduro, and got the opportunity to meet with Ryan and his mom. I was blown away. Even though I was still recovering from the brain surgery, I still got on my new bike and took it for a spin. Life was good again.

So I have WAS to thank for bringing me back to life. Their programs are amazing. I just underwent a knee replacement surgery this last August of 2023, and am undergoing an ankle surgery on October 11. So in January of 2024, I’m going to give the ski bike a try with WAS.

I’m really looking forward to it.

Thank you Jared and WAS