March 2024 Rider of the Month, Doug Hanna

You may have seen Doug Hanna on the Global ElliptiGO Rider Club’s (GERC) leaderboard or at an ElliptiGO event. He’s a top 10 rider in several speed categories and an enthusiastic participant in the ElliptiGO community. But this former runner nearly chose traditional cycling over riding an ElliptiGO. Find out how he went from being unsure to becoming an ElliptiGO evangelist.

Doug Hanna grew up in Sacramento, California, with his parents, two sisters and an older brother whom he says is his best friend. He works as a teacher and lives in Elk Grove, California, with his wife, Becky, and his adult children, Nate, who is 21, and Sydney, who is 19.

Growing up, Doug and his brother, Rich, were highly competitive in a variety of sports. After years of baseball and other team sports, they both excelled in running.  Rich gravitated toward long-distance running races, while Doug preferred the track. Doug was a top runner in high school, with a 1:57 PR for the 800 meters and a 4:20 mile. He continued running in college, though he didn’t see much improvement in his times since he was working and studying in addition to running. Still, Doug enjoyed running 5Ks on the road and achieved a 15:20 as his personal best.  

Doug recalls, “I did run some half-marathons but seemed to get injured if I tried to train and race any distance farther than that. I think I was hard on my body, aggressively playing all kinds of team sports as I grew up.” Eventually, that caught up with him. Multiple surgeries and injuries ended Doug’s running career when he was in his mid-40s. In 2013 he had a torn labrum that had to be reattached. In 2015 Doug had his first hip replacement, and in 2020 he had his other hip replaced. “Combine those with a broken ankle and foot surgery, I was a bit of a mess over the years!” says Doug. “The ElliptiGO was the answer to my prayers.” However, it didn’t quite seem like that initially. 

Doug first test rode an ElliptiGO bike in 2019. Bob Rowden and John Burmeister met Doug near the American River Bike Trail, outside of Sacramento, and Doug rode the 11R for about eight miles. While many test riders immediately fall in love, Doug’s reaction was low-key: “I thought it was unique,” he says. He liked that the 11R replicated the feeling of running, which he missed, but he was doing a lot of cycling, and he didn’t think he’d give up conventional biking for an elliptical bike.

Turns out, Doug just needed to get to know the ElliptiGO a bit better before he fell for it. A few weeks later, he decided to try riding an ElliptiGO bike again. His friends Ron and Barbara Richardson happened to have an 8S for sale, and Doug decided to buy it. Doug shares, “The more I rode it, the more I loved it. … And I rode my road bike less and less, and the ElliptiGO more and more!” He realized that his body didn’t hurt riding the ElliptiGO, compared to the neck pain he got from being hunched over on his traditional bike. He also felt the ElliptiGO bike was safer to ride because standing tall on the 8S gave him a better view of his surroundings — and gave cars a better view of him. And best of all, he says, “I also felt it was a return to running!”

While he prefers riding outdoors, Doug appreciates the Fluid 365 Stationary Trainer for rainy days. He notes, “The indoor trainer allowed me to ride and recover from my second hip replacement.”

Now Doug owns two ElliptiGO 8S’s. He also found another love: the RSUB. He test rode an RSUB in 2021 and wasn’t sold on it. But, in what is now a familiar pattern, he rode it again later that year and then bought it. Just like with his first 8S, Doug says of the RSUB, “The more I rode it, the more I enjoyed it! I now prefer the RSUB because it works different muscles and provides a different workout, but I still ride the 8S twice a week.”

Doug admits, “I am not a strong rider in the hills, so I need all the help I can get to get up a mountain.” So, one of his two RSUBs has been modified with very lightweight components, and that’s what he rides for special events and in higher elevations. “Where I live there are no hills,” Doug explains. “I have to drive 40 minutes just to ride some hills!”

While he may be lacking easy access to hill rides, what Doug does have are the fast-twitch muscles that propelled his running and a love for pushing the tempo when riding his ElliptiGOs. These factors have made him a speedy rider who’s in the top 10 on the Global ElliptiGO Riders Club (GERC) leaderboard for 16-kilometer and 80-kilometer distances, and number three for the one-hour time trial.

“The one-hour time trial is a favorite of mine, and I still think I can improve upon that,” Doug says. He completed 18.37 miles in one hour a few years back on his 8S, but he thinks he can ride faster this year on his RSUB. In fact, Doug already did ride 18.8 mph recently, but it was during a 24-mile ride, so it didn’t count for the one-hour time trial. Doug is a strong proponent for time trials being ridden solo, with the rider racing against the clock individually. “It’s called ‘The Race of Truth’ for a reason,” says Doug. 

Doug says there are no real secrets to his speedy cycling. He knows that he rides his fastest when his diet is good, he’s lean and he’s gotten elevation rides in. When he can’t get to the hills, he incorporates one- to two-mile intervals and hard tempo rides periodically into his regular rides. Last October he did the Sacramento Century in inclement weather and managed to average 17.1 mph for that ride. He says, “That stands out in my mind as a ride I’m proud of.” 

But Doug doesn’t just ride to chase speed records. “I enjoy the Tour de Big Bear because several GERC riders attend, and it is so much fun attending an event with members of our community,” he shares. “We have had some great dinners out there and lots of laughs!  

“I cannot say enough good things about GERC and the ElliptiGO community,” he continues. “The community is so supportive of each other, and it seems everyone is each other’s biggest fan. I have met so many wonderful acquaintances, fabulous friends and even some of my best friends through our community.” That’s why Doug makes the drive every October to Solana Beach for the annual ElliptiGO World Championships and Rally Weekend. He has also attended the Winter Classic in Arizona for the last two years.

This year, Doug’s number-one goal is to enjoy riding injury-free. But he’s also aiming to improve his one-hour ride distance, targeting 19 mph or more. He’s also planning to complete the 12-hour Sun City Challenge in Arizona with fellow ElliptiGOer Britt Brewer. And at the annual ElliptiGO World Championships and Rally, which are slated for October 11-13 this year, he’d like to set a personal record riding up Palomar Mountain. He notes, “That shouldn’t be too hard since I’ve been so slow up it in past years!”

Additionally, Doug is looking forward to GERC’s annual September Team Tournament, which is part of the GOGO (Get Out and GO) annual riding program.  Doug says, “I know I’ll get fired up when September rolls around because it’s so much fun being on an ElliptiGO team! This event is where I’ve met some of my BEST friends in the GERC community!”  

2024 is a big year for Doug, because after teaching for 26 years, he’s retiring. He’s happy he’ll have more time to spend with his family. “My kids are the best kids ever, not only because they are mature young adults but also because they are so supportive of me. And my amazing wife, Becky, is also incredibly supportive,” shares Doug. He notes that Becky has become an ElliptiGO believer and now rides a bit, too. She doesn’t mind the time Doug spends riding. And that’s a good thing, because Doug says, “When I retire, it will give me more time to ride my ElliptiGO bikes!” 

Doug concludes, “I don’t know where I’d be now if I didn’t have an ElliptiGO. It’s just such a godsend! When I’m riding, I feel young again. I don’t hurt and I feel as though I’m 20 years younger! It’s an incredible machine and a great riding experience.”

Doug, we’re delighted that you fell in love with ElliptiGO bikes! You are an incredible rider and a valued community member. Congratulations on your retirement! We look forward to seeing you at Palomar Mountain in October!

You can contact ElliptiGO with nominations to Rider of the Month or share your own story. It may just be the next feature!


10 Responses

  1. Jane Cremer says:

    Congratulations, Doug!! Always fun to catch up with you at ElliptiGO events and nice to read more about your background. How did I not already know that you also have two hip replacements?? I look forward to your many accomplishments throughout the coming year. Cheers to you!!

  2. bob rowden says:

    Doug, it has been so great knowing you since 1995 when you were volunteering in the Team-In-Training marathon training program. I feel privileged to be part of the reason for your exposure to the products. Your energetic and positive attitude has always inspired so many of us well before you found ElliptiGOs. I have tremendously enjoyed our friendship over the years ( even though you are a faster GOer than I am) and I look forward to so many great years ahead.

  3. Kathi Karen says:

    Congratulations Doug! Keep on Going, especially now that you are retiring this year! You have accomplished so much on your ElliptiGOs, incredible stats. Hope to see you soon at the next ElliptiGO event!

  4. Sydney Hanna says:

    Yay go dad!!!

  5. Henry Wigglesworth says:

    Doug’s bio lists incredible achievements both as a runner and elliptigoer. I share Doug’s feeling that the Elliptigo gives former runners a new lease on life. It’s a wonderful invention. Like best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell once said: “If the ElliptiGO had been invented before the bicycle, nobody would be riding a bike.”

  6. Eric Korevaar says:

    See you at Tour de Big Bear!!!

  7. Jim Pringle says:

    Congratulations Doug on your selection as March ‘24 Rider of the Month. Very well deserved as you are a motivation to all GOers! I feel fortunate to have met you (via Strava) and others whose daily rides and support provide the motivation I need to keep GOing and improving! Thank you!

    • Sham Sidhu says:

      ELLIPTIGO definitely got it right!

      Congratulations on a brilliant career in education and your fitness accolades, my friend!

      Enjoy your next pinnacle of life!

      “Keep Moving Forward!”

  8. Alice Long says:

    Wow Mr. Hanna! Good job being rider of the month 🙂

Leave a Reply