By Staff Sgt. Robert Cloys
50th Space Wing Public Affairs
Biking 30 miles to work before a 24-hour shift is not an idea that would appeal to most, but for Dominic Hagen, it’s about fulfilling a passion.
Hagen, a Schriever firefighter, bikes on average 200 miles per week.
“I ride my bike from my house to work as much as I can. If I can’t do that, I’ll spend anywhere from an hour to two hours riding [when I get off work in the morning],” he said.
“In high school, from my house near Lyndon Station, Wisconsin to Wisconsin Dells, where I had a part time job, was about 10 miles. I would ride to work first thing in the morning. That’s really when I started biking,” said Hayden as he reflected back on when his love for two wheels began.
After high school, bike riding still hadn’t become a full time hobby. Hagen moved on from his part time job after graduating and followed in his father’s footsteps by joining the Air Force.
Hagen’s first duty assignment as a weapons loader was to Bitburg, Germany. It was the perfect place for his passion for biking to grow.
“I started riding out there even more,” he said. “I made several trips with other guys to places like Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxemburg.”
After cross-training from weapons and becoming an Air Force firefighter, Hagen’s hobby quickly merged with his career.
“Even mentally, [riding] preps you,” he said. “If you’re in a real situation, a real fire, just being able to cope with the heat and know your limitations helps you find your boundaries.”
In the similar way biking helps Hagen’s career, being a first responder also allows him to give back to the cycling community as a medic.
For the past two years Hagen has participated as a bike medic for a charity bicycle ride, called the MS 150, organized by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society to raise money for MS research and other services supported by the MS Society. Typically, the rides take place in two days and are generally around 150 miles. As a medic, Hagen is riding right along with the others, assisting where needed.
“Since I’ve been a bike medic, we’ve had several people fall off their bikes or get scraped up,” he said.
Cuts and scrapes aren’t the only thing the team of bike medics respond to. They’ll even stop to lend a hand with flat tires and anything else the riders need.
With riding as a primary passion and quite a few accomplishments under his belt, Hagen still has a few more things he’d like to add to an already impressive list. Completing a ride across the top of the U.S. from Washington to Maine and participating in a triathlon “just to say I did it” are among those goals.
Taking a moment to put a finger on exactly what it is that he loves most about riding his bike took a bit longer than he anticipated.
In his years riding, Hagen has been chased by dogs down the highway, seen magnificent sunrises and sunsets over the mountains, witnessed a deer giving birth and even performed CPR on a stranger he encountered.
“I like riding because it gives you a view of the world from a different aspect,” said Hagen as he tried to describe his experience riding. “It’s different than driving a car where you’re just going from point A to point B. From a bike, you see everything.”