I had a really cool experience this weekend while driving the Lake Michigan Shoreline. We are staying in Saugatuck, which is about an hour southwest of Grand Rapids, Michigan. It rained all day on Sunday, so instead of spending time at the beach, we decided to drive up the lakeshore to Muskegon, stopping in Holland and Grand Haven along the way. All of the towns we stopped in were small and cute, and Holland even has a wooden shoe making factory and lots of signs posted in German.
After several hours of walking in downpours through these little towns and visiting beaches that were abandoned because of the rain, we arrived in Muskegon. As I was navigating to the downtown area of Muskegon a small icon appeared on my digital map that said, “Birthplace of snowboarding.” When we were first working on ElliptiGO back in 2005 and 2006 I did some extensive research on other industries that I thought were similar to what we were contemplating. Three that I studied the most were mountain biking, in-line skating, and snowboarding. So I took a keen interest in this little icon that seemed to recognize the birthplace of snowboarding about a thousand miles from where I thought it was created.
Turns out there’s quite a bit to the story of how snowboarding was “invented” and a very cool statue that discusses it on a street-corner in Muskegon, Michigan. I won’t get into the details of the story here, but for me, it was a reminder that the world is in a constant state of change, with new creations happening all the time and in many different locations concurrently. It took about 30 years for the snowboard to become part of the mainstream. That may sound like a long time, but it took stand-up paddleboards even longer. We believe that elliptical cycling and stand-up bikes have the potential to become even bigger industries than SUP and snowboarding, but it is going to take time and a lot of different people are going to have to contribute along the way.
Hopefully, someday there will be a cool statue of an ElliptiGO on a street-corner in Solana Beach, with a little icon of its own on Google Maps. Until then, we’ll just keep doing the best we can to build this sport and industry.
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