How Cycling Changes Lives: A Veteran's Story

For many people riding a bike is a great way to get outside and enjoy the outdoors, all while getting in some exercise. For Army veteran Jasen Watts, cycling is so much more.

For Army veteran Jasen Watts, cycling is much more than enjoying the outdoors.

In 2005, Jasen was on a patrol mission in Iraq when his vehicle was struck by an IED. The impact of the explosion severely damaged both of Jasen's legs and forever changed his life.

IED explosion

After recovering from the cosmetic damage to his legs, Jasen entered rehab where he would attempt to mend the deeper injuries. And so he began a long battle to overcome the discomfort from joint pain, back pain, hip pain and arthritis. Prior to his injuries Jasen stayed in phenomenal shape by participating in running, hiking, playing baseball, football and anything else that got him outside. With the onset of arthritis and continual discomfort Jasen was forced to quit all of these activities – but would soon find a new love.

A friend of Jasen's introduced him to bicycling through the Wounded Warrior Project and a local Soldier Ride. That ride was the first of many for Jasen and he has developed a love for the sport. "The best part is because it is a very low impact sport I am able to participate in the sport pain free" Jasen said.

And it's no wonder. Veterans who participate in cycling-based programs see speedier recovery from injuries, improved general fitness and health, reduced pain, improved sleep and an increased ability to perform normal day-to-day activities – just to name a few. The positive impact of cycling is real and can be seen in success stories just like Jasen's all over the country.

Jasen stays in shape on his CycleOps bike trainer

Now you can see Jasen on his bike year round. He is involved with veteran rides throughout the year and during the winter he stays in shape on his CycleOps bike trainer, waiting patiently for spring. Jasen is also contemplating joining a cycling group this summer to ride with other people, one of his favorite aspects of the sport.

Company and comradery

"What I like most about cycling with other people is the company and comradery. It is always nice to be around people who share a liking in the same thing that you do."

Jasen Watts

Here at Saris Cycling Group, home of CycleOps, we know and believe in the power of the bicycle. This June 20th we'll be partnering with Ride 2 Recovery to present the 4th annual Madison Honor Ride. Local veterans and non-veterans alike will gather at our world headquarters to ride bikes, raise awareness of life post-war and raise funds for Ride 2 Recovery's programs which provide incredible benefits our nation's healing heroes.

We believe this is a great opportunity for veterans to find a new passion that will allow them to exercise while simultaneously plugging into the community that greatly appreciates them.

Please join us on June 20th so that together we can Ride 2 Recovery. Register today.

Honor Ride Madison