A common thread between our Rider Of The Month honorees is that they always find a way to give their ride a deeper meaning. Some are beautiful tributes to late family members. Others are moments of finding confidence and self-love again. With Earth Day happening this week, we wanted to highlight a rider who turns his rides into an opportunity to care for our planet. We’re excited to introduce you to our April 2019 Rider Of The Month, Luke MacDonald.
Just this year, Luke has logged picking up more than 5000 pieces of trash in his community. He sets out to ride his usual 26 kilometer route in his neighborhood on his ElliptiGO 8S (named Ellwood) and spots the most heavily littered area of the ride. He returns on foot following the ride and proceeds to remove all the trash he can!
Luke’s litter removal inspires others in his city and around the world. His local running group The Halifax Running Club now picks up all litter on their courses, and there are even groups in Gambia, Kenya, Cameroon, Kenya, Ethiopia, Qatar and Muscat picking up trash in their communities as a part of Luke’s #WorldLitterRun movement. Luke has become a trendsetter for sustainability and GOing green. He helped the Blue Nose Marathon donate and cut back on unused medals and shirts. This Marathon now has a negative carbon footprint thanks to his program, and won the Prestige Award for the most sustainable sporting event in Canada!
We’re so proud that Luke makes his ElliptiGO bike a part of his efforts to make the world a better place. Luke was an accomplished runner early in life, but often experienced injury. Later, Luke would find himself out of shape and getting ready for his wife to deliver a baby girl. He decided to set a goal to be back to racing weight and be ready to play with his new daughter Bria. After a year, he had lost the weight and was running 10ks in under 33 minutes. Yet, he got injured once again. He retired from running, the weight came back, and a dream he’d once had felt out of reach.
Luke had long desired to own the running store in town, Aerobics First. By the time he bought the store, he had gained a lot more weight. Luke felt so frustrated, saying, “Now I own this prestigious store, I’m overweight and can’t run a step!”
He decided that biking to the store might help him lose weight.
“The first ride was a miserable day,” Luke said. “My employee saw me come in on the bike. He laughed and said, ‘Luke, you’re always gonna be a runner on a bike…Come over here and take a look at this thing.’
He showed Luke an ElliptiGO bike. Luke says he’ll never forget what he said next: “Holy shit, this thing was made for me!”
Luke soon got a trainer, who encouraged him to workout outside, but to keep his heart rate low. Trying to run took his heart rate up too high, and Luke realized he would have to walk before he could run. Luke took pride in his running background and in owning the local running store, and was struggling with the idea of having locals seeing him out for just a walk. His solution? He donned a vest, took a trash bag along and made it look as though he was simply volunteering to pick up litter. Though this lovely act of kindness started as a guise, it was the first step towards what would become the #WorldLitterRun project.
Luke was able to start riding his ElliptiGO bike often, and his trainer included two hours of biking a week as part of a training plan. Soon, Luke was down in weight and ran a 19:55 5k, his fastest since 1996, 22 years after stepping away from running. He set a goal to run a 5k under 20 minutes for as many years as possible, and he’s at 6 and barely missed last years goal with a 20:17. He vows to duck under 20 this year.
Luke, we’re so thrilled that you’ve been able to regain fitness and your ability to run using our bikes. We’re even more glad to see you using your bike to inspire random acts of kindness, care for our environment, and new attitudes towards healing our natural spaces.