Alexander Bibby is just like many other ElliptiGO elliptical bike owners. He was slogging through rehab on an indoor elliptical machine while longing to be outside. “I was under doctor’s orders of no more running or jumping,” he said. “I happened to see two ElliptiGO riders go by, and I knew this was the bike for me.”
Alexander Bibby is nothing like most other ElliptiGO owners. He is a bilateral, below-the-knee amputee. Due to complications from congenital birth defects, both legs were amputated when he was three years old.
One of his birth defects was hip dysplasia, a deformation in the ball-and-socket joint of the hip that causes dislocation of the joint. At the age of 3, he endured 13 surgeries to rebuild his hip sockets. The condition can be extremely painful and can lead to early onset of osteoarthritis.
Going On After the Hip Gave Out
Bibby knows this all too well. Throughout the pain and the surgeries and the recoveries, Bibby turned to cycling. “Cycling was always my favorite form of exercise,” he explained. “I used to ride a ‘traditional’ bicycle and use exercise bikes in the gym. Then one day I was riding an exercise bike, and I felt a crunching/grinding feeling in my left hip. I immediately stopped all bicycle riding.
“My left hip socket finally gave out.” That led to another surgery in 2013, this one to completely replace his left hip. A short time later is when he spotted those two ElliptiGO riders.
As soon as he could, Bibby took a test ride and bought his 11R from Evolve Bikes in the fittingly named town of Celebration, Florida. “From my first test ride, the ElliptiGO has ridden as I thought it would – effortlessly. It is a fantastic workout, and I quickly learned how to adjust my ride to my own set of unique challenges.
“For me, standing for a long period of time is quite uncomfortable with prosthetic legs, and I assumed that could possibly be a drawback in riding the ElliptiGO. I was pleasantly surprised to find that because of the constant elliptical motion, my legs never felt the pressure I thought they would. Also, that motion was just what the doctor ordered for my newly replaced left hip.”
Besides his leg and hip issues, Bibby was also born without a fully formed left hand. Basically, he only has a thumb, no fingers – a fact that is so ordinary to him, he didn’t even think to mention it during our first exchange. This only came to light when ElliptiGO’s Jordan Trump met Bibby for a ride recently. When asked about his hand, Bibby laughed it off. “I forgot to tell you, and I apologize! I was concentrating on my legs so much I forgot about my left hand.”
Finding What Works
Despite the prosthetic legs and single-finger hand, Bibby doesn’t require any special set-up on his bike. Like every other ElliptiGO rider, he just puts one leg up on the foot platform, pushes off and goes.
Well … it’s not always quite that easy.
“I made a spectacular dismount this past Saturday, which was the stuff of Legend … and Band-Aids,” he said with a smile. To stop, Bibby normally keeps his left foot on the platform and touches down with his stronger right leg. “Saturday, I was so exhausted after my ride I couldn’t clear my left leg over the crankarms behind me, and down I went.” He explained that after a normal successful dismount, he then has to walk around the front of the bike in order to get into position to start riding again – once more using his stronger right leg for that first propulsive downstroke.
“The point is the only way to find out what works for me is to continue riding and that is something I know I can accomplish with the ElliptiGO.”
He gets out for a ride several times a week, often on the West Orange Trail near his home. On the weekends, he rides anywhere from 5 to 20 miles. “I love the smooth motion of the running stride. It’s exhilarating! Also, it is an incredible workout! So much better than what you can get on a regular elliptical gym machine.
“My ElliptiGO purchase is one that I’m glad I’ve made as it helps me to meet my exercise goals now and in the future.”