ElliptiGO Riders Push Their
Limits and Inspire the Community

One of the many things we admire about you, our customers, is how you challenge yourselves. You smile at the sight of quad-shattering inclines. You ride long distances — some of you even rack up thousands of miles a year. You take on the toughest rides in any city, state, or country. You are proud to be the rare ElliptiGO cyclist in a sea of bikes with seats. And we’re proud of YOU!

In this article, we share some of your stories about your toughest, most memorable rides. On those days when even riding around the block feels like a challenge (and those days do happen!), let your fellow ElliptiGO cyclists inspire you. And know that you, too, can do hard things.

Teresa Fukumoto-Beebe says that her hardest ride was a recent century in beautiful Big Bear, CA. The route climbed nearly 8,000 feet. “There were three long, tough hill climbs,” she says, “with the last one coming at mile 75! My legs were tired, it was getting hot, and then I had a slow, long climb over eight miles!” She had to push through the heat and exhaustion to stay mentally engaged as she rode on a narrow shoulder alongside cars. 

She says, “Another cyclist at the summit aid station said, ‘I would rather do Palomar than this climb!’ As I was climbing, I knew I was training for something bigger than this … The ElliptiGO World Championships.” We look forward to seeing you there, Teresa!

Alan Dupre shares that he completed his first century, riding 100 miles from England to Scotland in the Ride to the Sun. Check out his video review of the event! He’s the first and only person to have completed the Ride to the Sun on an ElliptiGO bike. That’s awesome, Alan!

Rick Hermelin Lifetime Achievement AwardRick Hermelin did so many hard things that we recognized him with our first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award! Among his accomplishments are riding 10,000 miles in one year and being the first ElliptiGO cyclist to ever ride 40,000 miles. Perhaps even more impressive is the fact that he did those things in his 70’s! Rick also was the first to complete a cross-country ride on an ElliptiGO. He rode from Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD) Parris Island in South Carolina to MCRD San Diego in California. He completed the “100-Days for the Corps” ride in exactly 100 days, and along the way he raised $11,500 for families of wounded Marines. Amazing, Rick!

Molly Tveite’s hardest ElliptiGO feat occurred during the most difficult year of her life. She shares, “After my partner passed away unexpectedly in spring 2021, grief threatened to drag me down.” She found comfort in the Global ElliptiGO Riders Club (GERC). The community offered a way to connect with nature through exercise and encouraged Molly to focus on her own health. She worked to increase her riding distance and elevation over the summer, with the goal of completing the Crater Lake Rim in September. The scenic ride around the Oregon National Park is 33.1 miles with 3,975 feet of elevation gain. Molly says that though it was a daunting adventure, “I was ready. My first 10 miles were strong and were buoyed by the amazing azure views of one of the most beautiful places on Earth.” 

However, she did not account for the altitude — the start of the ride was more than 7,100 feet above sea level. Molly recalls, “Quickly those steep elevation gains became about focusing on one agonizing breath at a time, sometimes a tenth of a mile at a time, gasping for breath and thankful no one else was on the road to see me ‘failing.’” At mile 24, when she was about to give up, she reached a beautiful viewpoint. In addition to enjoying the view, the various drivers and motorcyclists who were stopped there commented on her novel elliptical bike. “I was happy to answer their questions and promote this wonderful device,” says Molly. She got back on her GO and finished the ride. “To date, this is one of my proudest physical accomplishments!” Molly says. “Will I do it again? Probably not, but I’m glad I did it.” We’re glad you did, too, Molly! Outstanding!

TJ O’Connell shared that he maintained an average speed of 17.4 miles per hour over a 26.2-mile ride in September. We see you, speedy! 

Denise Williams maintained an average pace of 15.3 miles during a 100-mile ride in September! What a pace!

Kim Bligh Calderon completed the 206-mile Seattle to Portland ride after only having her GO for two years — and, she admits, not training. Still, you did it, Kim!

Carol Galgono’s hardest ride was a local route in New Jersey. She describes the scenic ride as being “very challenging, yet very pleasant.” She explains, “The ride is approximately 60 miles with 6,000 feet of climbing. What I love about the ride is that the distance numerically runs parallel with the elevation. If I’m at 25 miles, the elevation is 2,500 feet.” After each climb on the hilly route, Carol was rewarded with the rejuvenation of a downhill recovery, which helped her carry on to the end. Well done, Carol!

Other ElliptiGO riders weren’t tooting their own (bike) horns, but Didi Hendricks Schenck was happy to do it for them. She reports that last month Billy Grace was the first ElliptiGO rider to do the Pendleton 600. Kitty Vernooij has been cranking out the centuries. Greg Ito has been doing epic challenges and completed a fast 300-kilometer randonneuring ride. Stephen Hughes is on the cusp of surpassing two million feet of climbing on his GO! Didi herself recently completed a 200-kilometer ride with a lot of elevation. Toot toot! Way to go, Billy, Kitty, Greg, Stephen and Didi! And thanks for supporting the ElliptiGO community, Didi!

In 2020, Nahla Summers challenged herself to ride 5,000 miles across Great Britain on her ElliptiGO bike. Nahla is the founder of Sunshine People, a social movement to promote kindness, and her route literally spelled the word “kindness.” Alas, the route was not always kind to her. One day she battled a relentless headwind that left her 25 miles short of her intended destination. The next day she missed an afternoon ferry and wound up finishing her “day” at 2:30 a.m. Then she had to depart at 7 a.m. and ride another 48 miles. Despite injuries, setbacks, and the loneliness of riding solo during the pandemic, she accomplished her mission after 114 days and inspired countless people along the way. Thank you, Nahla, for choosing to ride an ElliptiGO bike on your amazing ride!

Anthony Van Rhyn rode his ElliptiGO bike on a stationary indoor trainer for 12 hours, from 6 AM to 6 PM, not just once, but four times in November, which is men’s health awareness month. His goal for what he calls his “4 x 12” ride was to raise awareness for male testicular cancer. Anthony also completed a 24-hour ride on the stationary trainer. You’re incredible, Anthony! 

If you’re a member of the ElliptiGO Facebook community, you know that Lewis “Lefty” Leftwich puts a lot of miles on his GO. He says that so far, his most challenging ride was the Greater Allegheny Passage (GAP) and C&O Towpath. He and Jim Stahlman rode from Pittsburgh to Washington, DC. Lefty rode his MSUB and also pulled a trailer that weighed about 40 pounds. That was tough enough, but the weather posed an additional obstacle. Lefty says, “The plan was to camp the entire trip, but the weather had us hoteling it two of the six nights.” But you did it! Congratulations, Lefty and Jim!

Paris-Brest-Paris ElliptiGO finishersIn 2015, six ElliptiGO bike riders became the first athletes to complete the one of the world’s oldest, largest and most prestigious cycling events, the Paris-Brest-Paris Randonneur (PBP), on elliptical bikes. The 1,230-kilometer (764-mile) ride has a strict 90-hour cutoff time, so participants ride fast and sleep little. Idai Makaya was the first elliptical cyclist to finish, establishing a PBP record for elliptical bikes of 83 hours and 38 minutes. Close behind were Billy Grace, Stuart Blofeld, Alan McDonogh, Bill Pinnell and Carl Nanton. What an incredible accomplishment! The PBP is only held every four years. Stu attempted the PBP again this month on the RSUB and finished in an unbelievable ElliptiGO record time of 77 hours and 15 minutes! He’ll share the details with us in an article next month — stay tuned!

In 2015, Thomas Russo’s longest ElliptiGO bike ride was just a dozen miles. But he was so inspired by the PBP riders that he started training for his own epic event. He took on a five-day, 440-mile trek along the Lake Huron shoreline to benefit Leader Dogs for the Blind. The ride included back-to-back centuries, followed by an 85-mile day. Thomas says, “To this day, this solo, unassisted endurance effort ranks as my toughest ride both mentally and physically.” No doubt you inspired so many with your amazing ride, Thomas–and you raised money for a great cause!

At ElliptiGO HQ, our leadership team inspires us, too. CEO Bryan Pate says, “The 2009 Death Ride was the hardest thing I’ve done on my ElliptiGO.” The aptly named Death Ride is a monster 129-mile ride through California’s Sierra Mountains. Participants climb more than 15,000 feet as they summit and descend five mountain passes in one of the toughest cycling events in the United States. 

Bryan says, “No one had ever done something like that on an elliptical bike before ElliptiGO cofounder Brent Teal and I set out to attempt it, so I wasn’t sure if it was possible for someone like me to even complete it. I was very happy to finish within the time cutoff, although it did take me a couple of days to recover!” Check out the video recap! Bryan and Brent’s success inspired other ElliptiGO riders, including Anna Thatcher, to take on the Death Ride. We salute all of you who have faced the Death Ride!

Chief Enthusiast Bryce Whiting says the hardest ElliptiGO bike ride he’s done was the Hell’s Gate 100 in Death Valley, CA, in 2010, which climbs over 8,500 feet in the hottest place on the planet. Originally Bryce had planned to drive the route to document ultramarathoner Dean Karnazes’ first century ride on the GO. When officials announced that no vehicles would be allowed on the course, Bryce had to get on his GO. “I quickly realized that the only way I was going to get any decent images of Dean was to sprint ahead of him. He’d then pass me and I would scramble to put the camera equipment away, get back on my ElliptiGO and catch back up to him,” Bryce recalls. 

After 50 or 60 miles of what was essentially high-intensity interval training, Bryce’s legs started locking up. He told Dean to press on without him, and Bryce stopped and consumed any electrolytes and salt tabs he could find. Then Bryce decided to finish the race. “I was happy to see the finish line! I’m proud that I didn’t give up, and I will always remember the atta-boys Dean gave me for persevering,” Bryce shares. Atta-boy, Bryce! What a ride!!!

Feeling inspired? The road ahead is waiting for you. If you’re ready to challenge yourself with longer distances, ElliptiGO HQ has training plans for you. The ElliptiGO community is here to support you and cheer you on. You never know who you might inspire by sharing your rides. And you may find that your biggest accomplishment lies in surpassing your own expectations.

2 Responses

  1. Ricky Hammer says:

    Great feats, by great people on great bikes…

  2. Bob Rowden says:

    Great job, Wendy! That is so funny about Hell’s Gate. Only someone as tough as Bryce would end up finishing that event in those circumstances. Dean Karnazes is the most resilient and talented high-volume endurance athlete on the planet. So for Bryce to have to chase him through the race like that hard to believe.

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