Ever since I saw the ElliptiGO outdoor elliptical bicycle at The Death Ride last year, I've been fascinated with the idea. At first I thought "why on the world would anyone put an elliptical trainer on wheels"? It seemed just one step away from putting a treadmill on wheels. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized it was quite practical - you could race around outdoors without the pounding of running, yet be more upright and comfortable than a road bike. It fits a nice little niche right in between running and cycling, and presents a chance to get a helluva workout.
I was able to go out on a test drive in Woodside, CA, with inventor and co-founder Bryan Pate. Bryan came up with the idea after his hip and knee injuries prevented him from pursuing a passion in Ironman and other endurance events. After a 60-second overview in the parking lot of Robert's Market, we headed off into my favorite hills.
|(Inventor Bryan Pate shows me the ropes)|
The cross training appeal is evident, and Bryan let me know about the many elite athletes that have used ElliptiGO's and sung their praises. Brian Pilcher, 5k National Champion Lauren Fleshman, Dean Karnazes (who naturally took one 500 miles down Hwy 1 to the start of the LA Marathon to set an "unofficial" record), and more. Each cited similar high points - a way to work the major core and leg muscles with no jolting impact, all while feeling the breeze in your hair. As we cut our way through Huddart Park and began the climb, I had to agree. The workout felt more like stand-up paddle boarding than running or cycling.
I think the ElliptiGO is a great option for the multitude of former runners forced to turn in their shoes to save their knees and hips. In fact, there are so many type A competitors turning to ElliptiGO that this year they had their first World Championship up Palomar Mountain in San Diego, CA. I couldn't find many complaints about the unit, aside from the obvious like "you can't sit down". ;-) I was pretty tired within 40 minutes of cranking on it; with all of the balance required, it's far more of a workout than a stationary elliptical (which, BTW, you can create by mounting the ElliptiGO on a stand).
The ElliptiGO retails for $2199, and is available on their Web site or at a fitness equipment seller near you. There are 21 left of the original 2,000...get it while you can!