Richard Schutt: The Difference WAS Programs & an E-Trike Make!

Richard Schutt is valued highly in our WAS community. He started with WAS over 5 years ago and continues to ride with a few WAS instructors for fun. Read about why WAS programming has made a difference in his life and how he’s graduated from our programs after purchasing an e-trike. 

Having gone through surgery that limited my athletic ability I consider myself fortunate to have found Wasatch Adaptive Sports.  After experiencing a spinal cord injury, Ed Chauner, a WAS instructor, shared with me the opportunities that WAS could provide me.  Not only is WAS able to provide the right equipment needed to help one rehab, but equally, if not more important, the staff that implements WAS programs was vital for me to ride.

When I first started out, it was on a regular self-run trike.  At first, I was riding with Ed and I had to climb over hills on my own.  Well, I was still learning the mechanics and they ended up pushing me up the hill.  I had to learn the mechanics of shifting down in order to get up and over a hill. It worked out well. In the five years I have been cycling with WAS, the association has been great.  So much so that the encouragement I received from Peter and the staff has led me to get my own e-trike from Utah Trikes.

Now, on my e-trike, I can go for longer miles. The longest I’ve gone was 50 miles. This all depends on the size of the battery and motor that helps me to be able to go this distance and how much work you actually do while pedaling. The more work you put into it, the further the battery will go. But you can’t count on anything until you learn how to use it.

I feel like I graduated from WAS.  I credit WAS for being there and helping me get to this point.  These e-bikes truly make a difference for me to be able to go out on my own. WAS’s lessons are only 1.5 hours long and I want to be able to go out longer. Programmatically, an hour is perfect in order to serve the number of individuals that WAS serves, but once you’ve graduated from that, the ability to go out on your own and for a longer time has made a huge difference.

Recently, I was able to go out from my house in Cottonwood Heights up Big Cottonwood Canyon, which would be impossible without an e-trike for me.  The going up was beautiful and the S-curves weren’t a problem. You just have to know what you can do and can’t do.  Going down was the hardest part because mechanically there are 2 breaks – a left and a right – but they function separately, so you have to be careful to squeeze them at the same time. I moved fairly fast and you have a bunch of cars behind you because there are only a few places to get out of the way, so you just have to be cautious.

Riding up Big Cottonwood gave me the feeling of empowerment to be able to go up on my own. I feel like I’m still working just as hard on an e-bike because I now go out longer. And I can finally keep up with Ed Chauner – and he’s not on an e-bike!

I don’t know if I would have gone and gotten an e-trike if it hadn’t been for Peter, continuing to encourage me to get my own. This has led me to be able to ride on my own but not be totally separated which is why I plan on continuing to provide financial support so others can benefit as I have. While the right equipment is critical, having access to people who not only know what they’re doing and who actually care for those in their charge, really makes the difference.  Seeing the WAS facility and the equipment involved, it requires donations to help people to be able to benefit from programs like this. The success of this program is knowing that the people responsible make sure that those of us in their charge are well looked after, and for that, I am most thankful.