Our ElliptiGO community has so much heart. Sometimes even the strongest hearts need a little help! This month, we want to tell you all about a rider who goes to show that finding a movement you love can make all the difference in your health, your fitness, and your overall resilience! Meet the January 2022 Rider of the Month: Angela Olson.
Angela has always led an active lifestyle. She ran cross country, played soccer, and played basketball as a young girl. She also had a great love of the outdoors, where you could find her snowmobiling, hunting, 4-wheeling, and horseback riding! When she moved to Kansas as an adult, she didn’t have access to a lot of those activities she loved. She took up running again and started participating in local races.
Unfortunately, she was plagued with shin splints. The pain spoiled her plans for a half marathon, and she eventually stopped running altogether! Looking for something low impact, she briefly tried mountain biking – but that uncomfortable seat was no fun.
Luckily, she then discovered ElliptiGO bikes!
Angela told us, “The first time I ever saw an ElliptiGO bike was in a running magazine, and I knew that I wanted one. I had never wanted a bike as bad as I wanted an ElliptiGO bike. In my mind, it was the perfect machine! It had the elliptical motion that mimicked running but was low impact, so no more shin splints, no uncomfortable bike seat and it had the freedom to be ridden outdoors!”
Angela got her first ElliptiGO bike, a green 3C in 2014. Since then, she’s also added an 8C and 8S to her collection.
“After almost 8 years of owning ElliptiGO bike’s, my husband will proudly tell anyone, that purchasing that first ElliptiGO was the best investment we have ever made because I proved to him it wasn’t going to become a garage ornament or a coat rack,” she told us.
Finding ElliptiGO was a happy ending, but this wasn’t the end of Angela’s story. Shin splints would pale in comparison to the diagnosis that she would receive in 2019.
“In my late thirties, I was diagnosed with Sick Sinus Syndrome, a heart disorder of the sinoatrial node, the heart’s natural pacemaker,” Angela said. Over the years, her issues with her heart progressed – impacting her rides and daily life.
“In December 2019, at the age of 40, I had to have a permanent pacemaker implanted.”
She took the challenge on like a champion, adjusting to life post-pacemaker and rising above the problems that had once caused her major setbacks. Our ElliptiGO community, namely the Global ElliptiGO Riders Club (GERC), provided motivation and exciting challenges to encourage her along the way!
“I had been a GERC member in 2019 before getting my pacemaker and rode over 2000 miles for the year. When I renewed in 2020 it was to prove to myself and to show my kids that I wasn’t going to let a pacemaker slow me down. I rode over 4000 miles in 2020 and the majority of those miles were ridden during the GERC season,” she told us.
“This past year I rode over 2500 miles and again the majority of the miles were due to being a GERC member. This December marked my 2 year pacemaker anniversary and, to date, I have put on over 6500 miles on my pacemaker. I renewed my GERC membership for the 2022 season because the monthly challenges motivate me to stay active and allow me to see just how many miles I can get out of my pacemaker!”
She said, “The ElliptiGO community has had a huge impact on me. I have been so inspired by other riders and the miles they have ridden. The whole community motivates me to get out there and ride. And I have learned so much from them, from bike maintenance, the best gear to buy and even how to become a better rider. Their knowledge is invaluable!”
We asked Angela, what’s next now that you’ve overcome this diagnosis and medical journey?
The farthest I have ever ridden is 53 miles, so one of my goals is to ride a metric century and then hopefully be able to ride a century,” she replied. “I would also like to try to increase my mileage every year. And I would love to try to achieve silver status in GERC. And, of course, I would love to see how many miles I can get out of this pacemaker! I also would like to continue to prove to myself and to show my kids that I am not going to let my battery-operated heart slow me down.”
She hopes that her story will remind others to not let bad days define them: “On days when I am feeling tired or unmotivated to ride, I tell myself this… I have never regretted going on a ride, but I have regretted not going on a ride. Telling myself this is usually enough to get me out GOing!”
Angela, we are so proud to see you taking control of your health and defying the odds. We are so glad that you are a member of our community. Thank you for being a perfect example of the heart and soul of ElliptiGO: the amazing people who choose to ride with us.
Contact ElliptiGO with nominations to Rider of the Month or share your own story. It may just be the next feature!