You might say ElliptiGO bikes have made quite an impression on Francois Lamothe. So much so that he has taken to working them into his “cover” versions of famous paintings.
For example, we’re certain that Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” was inspired when someone (Munch himself, perhaps?!) missed out on joining an ElliptiGO group ride. And did you know that after a long day of painting and riding, Vincent van Gogh would park his ElliptiGO 8C right at the foot of his bed? Lamothe’s painting proves it!
“I’ve always been interested in drawing and doodling,” Lamothe said. “I took a six-week oil painting course over 42 years ago. This and that and life and such happened, and I was able to re-kindle my interest in painting in 2000. Pastels, oils and acrylic on board and canvas are my standbys. I call my style ‘Whimsical’ after a comment by the New Hampshire Art Association: ‘Pastels take the hard edge off reality – without Valium!’”
Lamothe’s infatuation with ElliptiGO bikes began in 2014 when he first saw one on a trail while visiting a friend in Florida. “I immediately looked it up on the web. I was so intrigued,” he explained.
As a former runner, with what he describes as “a trick knee,” he knew he needed an aerobic exercise that would get him back on the streets. He tried several times to ride a traditional bicycle, but that wasn’t the answer for him. “Maybe I never got a bicycle to fit me right, but I was disheartened by wrist aches and forearm numbness, not to mention saddle soreness.”
When he tried an ElliptiGO bike and didn’t encounter any of those niggling pains, he quickly purchased an orange 8C as soon as he returned home.
Living in Maine, Lamothe has to get his rides in any way – and anywhere – he can. He strives to fit in five rides a week of about 6 miles (10K) each, and he especially relishes the outdoor rides on dry, sunny, weekend days. When the weather doesn’t cooperate, and throughout the too-long Maine winters, he mounts his 8C on a trainer and rides for 40-45 minutes on his screened-in porch, which he has enclosed in plastic coverings to keep some of the chill out.
How well does that work? “I have done training in single digits,” he said. “My feet get very cold.”
To keep his mind off his freezing digits, Lamothe rigged a box on a stand to hold his iPad. The box reduces glare on the tablet’s screen. “I have wireless ear buds and usually watch one episode of a favorite TV classic, which winds up being 42 minutes.” He determined that was an ideal length of time for a training ride. “According to the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, 42 is the answer to the question ‘What is the meaning of life, the universe and everything?’”
Lamothe, who turns 69 this month, has a keen sense of metaphysics and karma. He gets so much joy from his ElliptiGO bike and paintings, he decided to “pay it forward” by donating all of the profits from two of his prints, the Munch-esque “Oh No, Elliptigo” and “Arch de Triomph,” to Jim Hansen’s charity of choice, a grade school in the Mathare Valley slum of Nairobi, Kenya. (Read about Hansen’s charity work.)
To date, Lamothe has created six ElliptiGO-themed paintings, all of which are available on his website www.artbyfrancois.com. Some of his originals are still available, as are prints, coffee cups, pillows and t-shirts of all six works.
Besides the creative inspiration, what Lamothe enjoys most about his ElliptiGO bike is the feeling of standing tall, losing weight, and enjoying being on the road again. He said, “Someone in our group called it ‘the most fun you can have standing up.’ I am enthusiastic about my orange machine and have even become a stockholder in the company.”
This year, he plans to continue riding 10K “on any day I can get out,” and he has firm plans to record that distance during the annual Every Day in May challenge, which will be organized this year by the Global ElliptiGO Riders Club.
He also hopes to join the Boston Marathon Midnight Ride and other events where he can meet some of the people he follows in the ElliptiGO private Facebook group. “I want to lose another 20 pounds and enjoy riding with my son, who has a green (ElliptiGO) machine.”