If you walk up to most people and call them “insane,” you can expect to get an earful in return, or maybe even a fat lip. But if you ask Rick Kligman, “Are you Insane?” he’ll likely smile and nod. He not only acknowledges his nickname, “Insane Diego,” he coined it for himself.The San Diego native explains: “I saw a bumper sticker once that said ‘Welcome to Sandy Eggo.’ That was a reference to the breakfast waffle. Being a computer nerd, I was online in the ‘80s, but I didn’t want people to know my real name. So I twisted that reference and came up with my online name, ‘Insane Diego.’ I’d go to tech conferences and introduce myself by saying ‘I’m Insane Diego.’ People would say, ‘Ah, you’re the guy! Cool.’”
His sanity came into question again in the ‘90s when he took up mountain biking. “I had a road bike back then, but I never did anything beyond a 15-mile ride. It was beyond my comprehension that it was possible to go much farther than that. I switched to a mountain bike when I was in my 30s because I wanted to be able to ride over horrible terrain, jump off curbs, stuff like that.”
Stop the Insanity
As the years crept by, the desire to jump off curbs waned. By the time he was 50, Kligman had stopped riding altogether. Without the exercise, his weight started climbing. Finally, he reached a point – 255 pounds on a 6’1” frame – that he didn’t like. Diabetes runs in his family, and his work keeps him tied to a desk all day, so he knew he had to do something.
He pulled the old mountain bike out of hibernation. “It had gotten pretty dusty over the last five years or so. I started riding it again in May 2016, but I found I could only go a few miles before my back started aching along with my rear. I did ride it 17 miles one day but was awfully sore when I got home.”
He also has an elliptical machine in his house, and he always appreciated the low-impact workout he got from it. Living in San Diego, home of ElliptiGO World Headquarters, he frequently saw ElliptiGO riders on the streets.
“It just looked so fun! I thought, ‘It’s my elliptical machine on a bike! How cool is that?’ Last August 23, I took advantage of your 30-day guarantee and bought an 8C, and I’ve been riding it ever since.”
Chasing a Milestone
Kligman, now 55, said he was immediately “smitten.” He hopped on his green 8C every chance he could, and the miles began to rack up quickly. By early December, he realized he had a legitimate chance to hit 1,000 miles by the end of the year.
There’s something about big round numbers that drives us forward, and Kligman was determined to reach that milestone and the bragging rights that came with it. “I totally wanted that comma on my 2016 Strava stats!”
Mother Nature gave him a good challenge with a cold, wet December, which kept him inside more than he wanted to be, but a little rain is no match for a man on a mission. On December 31, Kligman checked his Strava log and smiled: 1,030 miles in just over four months.
“The funny part is I only drove my car about 600 miles in the same time frame. That’s pretty surreal.”
Kligman now rides at least three times a week, 10-14 miles on each weekday ride and a long ride of 20-35 miles on the weekend. Unlike with the now-retired mountain bike, he’s not sore afterward.
“Since I’m not bending or sitting, it allows me to ride virtually pain free. I also have a mild form of neuropathy in my feet. Fortunately, I can ride for hours at a time and it doesn’t bother me at all. My back is loving it. My knees are loving it. My rear end is loving it. My mind is loving it!
“I can’t believe I can stand up and ride a bike for three hours, covering 30-35 miles, and never wish I had a seat. And since I’m on a bike, I get to enjoy all aspects of my city. Since I can transport the bike in my vehicle, I’m able to kick start my rides and go to some really neat places. I love riding up and down the San Diego Coast. I can’t tell you how exhilarating that is – to be 50 miles from my house on two wheels that are powered by my legs!
“I also enjoy the ‘cool factor.’ The ElliptiGO has a way of making you feel like a rock star when you ride. People turn their heads, give you a thumbs up and say, ‘Wow, that’s cool’ or ‘That looks fun.’ I think yep, it’s all that and more.”
Setting Sights on Bigger Goals
With several months and miles of experience on his feet now, Kligman has set several goals for 2017. “First, have fun. If it’s not fun, it’s work. Second, I want to get fit. I lost 40 pounds on my elliptical machine over a year period. I’m hoping that I can continue that trend on the ElliptiGO. I’ve got plenty more to take off. Third, I’d like to ride 2,500 miles by the end of the year.
“Finally, I’d like to not only break 50 miles in a single ride but at some point do a Metric Century (62 miles). I did a 45-mile ride in November, and it was very tough. But that was only with just over two months of riding under my belt. My hope is that my fitness will improve as I continue to ride, and I’ll be able to stretch out and hit those two milestones.
“The bottom line is that I can literally see and feel myself getting more fit. I’ve just started to tackle hills, and that should open up a variety of rides. My normal rides have been between 300 and 600 feet of elevation gain. I’ve now begun to do some rides of 1,200+ elevation. It’s tough, but after I’m done I feel a real sense of accomplishment.
He hopes that his experience will help other people see what they are capable of accomplishing, just as he gained inspiration from the ElliptiGO Group on Facebook.
“What a great pool of inspiration from people around the world. Some of their feats are amazing. They post some of their personal challenges and how they overcame them. Reading all of that, you can see that anything is possible if you put in the effort.”