- Dena Nechkash
Pedaling Toward A Healthy Lifestyle
Scott Wright spun his lifestyle-changing health condition into something positive by discovering biking on the Platteville trails.
When Scott Wright faced a lifestyle-changing health situation, he turned to the Platteville Community Arboretum Trail for his physical activity. Scott has been using the trail since it started.
“The big benefit for me personally has happened in the last few years,” Scott said. He explained that he was a runner and participated in half-marathons. At the 12-mile mark of the Madison Mini several years ago, he felt something in his back that was awkward. It didn’t limit him from finishing the race, but he felt discomfort the rest of the weekend.
“I went to the chiropractor and over the next two years I went to 12 doctors, chiropractors, massage therapists, acupuncturists, sports medicine doctors, you name it, and I continued to be in significant discomfort,” Scott said. “We couldn’t figure it out.”
He was sent to University Hospital in Madison and within 10 minutes the doctor diagnosed him with a significant spinal issue that he has had all his life and hadn’t caused any issues until now. “The doctor said ‘Our goal is to keep you out of a wheelchair by the time you’re 60,’” Scott said.
He was told he could never run again and could never lift anything over 6 pounds the rest of his life. As an avid bowler, he needed to make some significant life changes. He was told he would never pick up a bowling ball again.
“I immediately asked what I could do for exercise,” Scott said. “When you’re a runner and you’re used to working out and enjoy the gym, which I hadn’t been able to do for that time period, what am I able to do?”
The doctor offered two avenues for exercise: swimming or biking.
“I’m not really a swimmer, so literally that day I drove from Madison to Momentum Bikes in Platteville and I bought a bike,” Scott said. “I hadn’t really been into biking before that, but I had to have some form of exercise, so that is where the trail is a lifesaver for me. I use it three to four times a week. It’s my way of exercising and being able to do something that my body now, at 54 years old, will allow me to do. For me, personally, the trail has made a huge difference.”
For Scott, having a variety of routes has been key. “The trail has been amazing. The addition to Belmont has been really nice, too. For people like me, having different routes you can take might not seem like a big deal, but it is pretty cool,” Scott said. He commented on the beautiful views along the trail and he really likes that it is lit at night. He hopes someday soon the trail can be picked up in the city’s industrial park to make a safer route for crossing the busy four-lane intersections.
“There have been lots of studies done about why people stay in communities, why businesses come to communities, and it is all designed around quality of life,” Scott said. “And sometimes quality of life can be your education system, sometimes it is your healthcare available. Multiple things can be part of those studies, but parks and recreation is a huge part of it. The trail is a major contributor to the quality of life for our entire community.”
He sees a wide variety of people, from couples to families, to pet owners and individuals, all using the trail in different ways. “It’s one of the big reasons we contribute to the trail and believe in it,” Scott said. “It isn’t just for me, personally, but for our community.”
Scott mentioned how lucky Platteville is as a community to have so many supporters of the bigger projects within the community. For a city of 10,000 people, it is unusual to see the generosity, volunteerism and support that Platteville has for all of the great ideas people have to improve the quality of life. And it isn’t just financial support he sees as valuable.
“We are also very blessed to have the number of people in town who volunteer to keep the trail maintained, because it is not an easy thing to do,” Scott said. “I feel very fortunate to be in a community that has volunteers that will take the time to keep the trail clean, maintained and mowed. When you have the distance that you do and the amount of trees and the beautiful scenery, it takes a lot to keep that maintained. I see it happening on a regular basis.”
Scott and his wife, Connie, have owned Lifeline Audio Video Technologies since 1990 and seven years ago they bought out their business partner, Mike Mair, to be sole owners. They are audio and video contractors, assisting churches, schools, auditoriums, conference centers, banks and more with high quality audio and video systems. Scott and Connie have twin daughters, Maggie and Kylie, who are 22 years old.
Scott hasn’t picked up a bowling ball in four or more years, but he continues to coach. He is a youth coach to 84 kids every Saturday and coaches the Cuba City High School program. He gives 100 individual lessons a year, he just can’t physically pick up a bowling ball.
“It was a life-changing thing,” Scott said. “My hope was that I could go to physical therapy, that I had pulled a muscle or something, but it ended up being more than that. I’ve learned to live with it. I’ve made the best of it, stayed positive and made the best of the situation. And I’m blessed that I can bike.”