Miles of Inspiration: Celebrating
the Life of Rick Hermelin

If you’ve been around the ElliptiGO community long enough, you’ve heard of Rick Hermelin and you know the tales of his epic rides. Rick was a remarkable individual known for his cheerful attitude and inspiring accomplishments. He passed away on February 27, 2024, leaving an indelible mark on the ElliptiGO community. His story is a testament to the power of setting ambitious goals.

Rick was born in Mexico City, Mexico, in 1941. He went to school in Brownsville, Texas, then served in the Marine Corps from 1959 to 1963 as an aviation communications technician. He went on to work as an aerospace engineer for more than forty years and as a massage therapist for 27 years.

In the 1970s, Rick started running. At age 35, he ran his first marathon. Over the course of 35 years, he completed 100 marathons, 100 half-marathons and 100 10K races. In 2011, at age 70, he began looking for a new challenge. The following year, Rick completed a history-making ride.

Riding Coast-to-Coast

In a 2012 interview, Rick said, “I had thought about running across the U.S. before, but I wasn’t sure if my body would hold up for the entire journey.” One of Rick’s massage therapy clients suggested he try an ElliptiGO bike as an alternative. Rick’s son, Zander Keig, says, “My father took a test ride and was a fan immediately. Shortly thereafter, he purchased his first ElliptiGO, and the rest is history.”

After decades of running, Rick appreciated how the ElliptiGO 8S took the impact out of the mileage. He decided to ride across the country to raise funds for the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund, a nonprofit that supports injured and critically ill members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families.

Rick began his self-supported journey on March 23, 2012, at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in Parris Island, South Carolina, and finished 100 days later at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego, California, on June 30, 2012. In doing so, he became the first person to ride coast-to-coast on an ElliptiGO bike. Rick not only exceeded his fundraising goal, raising $11,500, but he also captured the hearts of the many people he met on his 3,000-mile journey. Additionally, his record-setting ride gained the attention of numerous local TV stations and newspapers, as well as coverage by national shows like “Fox & Friends” and “The Rachel Maddow Show.”

After the ride, Rick said, “To finish this 3,000-mile trek is a great personal accomplishment, but raising money for the Semper Fi Fund and helping out other Marines is what makes my effort more meaningful.”

ElliptiGO CEO Bryan Pate says, “Rick had a saying that I always keep in mind: ‘Listen to the whispers and you won’t hear the screams.’ I think that practice helped him stay healthy and fit enough to ride across the country by himself when he was 71 years old. He really listened to his body and took care of issues when they were in their early stages so they didn’t become serious problems that would put him on the sidelines. Being healthy and fit enough to ride across the country by myself when I am in my 70s is something I aspire to achieve, so I am trying to follow his example as best I can.”

Joining the Century Club

Just a few months after his history-making ride, in November 2012, Rick completed a century on the ElliptiGO in the Bike the Coast 100-mile ride. That ride earned his spot (number 68) on a plaque at ElliptiGO Headquarters that honors the first 100 ElliptiGO centuries. The initial 100 riders’ names are listed on the plaque, along with the name of the ride they completed and the date.

A New Goal for 2013

One century just wasn’t enough for Rick, so in 2013 he set out to complete 12 centuries during the year. And as you probably know by now, if Rick set a goal, he accomplished it. In a 2014 interview, he cited the dozen centuries as his favorite ElliptiGO events, noting, “Each one was a different experience.”

Rider of the Month—Twice!

Rick’s riding continued to be so impressive that he was the first person to be named ElliptiGO Rider of the Month twice in one year. After averaging 150 miles per week for the month, Rick was named Rider of the Month in February 2014.

When participating in the Global ElliptiGO Riders Club (GERC) annual GOGO Challenge, he rode Every Day in May, and realized that he was averaging more than 30 miles a day. He calculated that he could complete 10,000 miles during the year, so he made that his mission. He even rode 73 miles on his 73rd birthday! Rick indeed rode 10,000 miles in 2014, garnering him the Rider of the Month title again in December 2014.

40,000 Miles

Rick continued to be a high-mileage rider, averaging about 150 miles a week. In 2017, at the age of 76, Rick achieved a distance milestone: 40,000 miles on the ElliptiGO. In an interview that year, Rick said, “Learning the importance of setting goals and GOing for them,” was what he had discovered while riding those thousands of miles. He also noted that ElliptiGO bikes made it possible for him to ride high mileage without any trauma to his body. He added, “I am pain-free and medicine-free … and I have all of my original body parts!”  

First ElliptiGO Lifetime Achievement Award

Rick Hermelin Lifetime Achievement AwardRick’s enduring commitment to the ElliptiGO community solidified his status as a loyal and beloved member. In 2021, at the age of 80, Rick was awarded the first ElliptiGO Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his many accomplishments. 

When presented with the award by his son, Zander, Rick shared, “I’m very pleased with the award, and I want to thank the ElliptiGO staff for all their hard work.” Zander says, “The ElliptiGO gave my father the opportunity to remain active without damaging his joints, provided him with a network of people to socialize with, and made it possible for him to realize a lifelong dream to run across the country.” 

Despite retiring from riding, Rick continued to inspire and uplift his fellow riders. Clint Greenbaum says, “I knew I had accomplished something when, recently, I finally surpassed Rick’s lifetime ElliptiGO mileage. He did it all in his 70s, while I did mine in my 50s and 60s.” When Lamorna Brown Swigart was considering a cross-country ElliptiGO trek, she met up with Rick to pick his brain. She asked Rick if he had ever worried about riding alone. He responded, “My attitude is to expect the best from people and they usually live up to that,” which inspired her to look for the good in people. ElliptiGO Lead Enthusiast Erin Whiting says, “Rick was a natural on the ElliptiGO and such an awesome supporter of our brand and community. I hope to be as active and as positive as he was as I age! We were very blessed to have him as a customer, example, and friend.”

Rick Hermelin’s legacy serves as a testament to the power of setting and achieving ambitious goals. His remarkable achievements and the impact he had on the ElliptiGO community will forever be remembered and cherished.


19 Responses

  1. Richard Ramones says:

    RESPECT!!! Rest-In-Heaven GO Brother.

  2. Zander Keig says:

    Thank you, Wendy and ElliptiGO for sharing such a beautiful story about my father. His absence is felt. I have purchased an 11R and look forward to GOing! My father kept a blog on his cross-country trip. Here is the link

  3. Philly Dee says:

    God rest his soul. What an extraordinary man! My husband and I met Rick shortly after his cross-country trek. We were traveling somewhere in So. Cal. and saw him park his Elliptigo outside of a Starbucks. I said to my husband, “What is that?! That thing looks so cool.” He suggested we talk to Rick and we did. He was such a nice man, generous with his time and knowledge. My husband was also USMC, so they had a nice brotherly chat about his charitable ride to help their fellow Marines. Rick even gave us a business card that commemorated his ride. He showed such love and enthusiasm for the Elliptigo that we drove to Solana to test ride an Elliptigo, and though my very first ride was not the smoothest, I loved the way I could feel my core tighten with just a little ride. It took years for me to gather up enough funds to get an 11R. I’ve had it for a couple of years and love it! It was worth the wait. Thanks, Rick!!!

  4. Glenn Cole says:

    Amazing story

  5. Marta Selvi says:

    Thank you, ElliptiGo for sharing this story of an inspiring and remarkable man. What a ride! What a life!

  6. Jodi says:

    Beautiful tribute, It’s easy to see how Rick’s legacy will live on. He raised a wonderful son, Zander, who cared so deeply for his dad, also a testament to his character.

  7. Neil says:

    I grew up with Rick and joined the Marines with him. We continued our friendship over the years. Rick and I went thru highs and lows together, a great guy and like a brother to me. So proud to have been a friend and shared a good deal of life with him. On his cross country tour I met him by Austin TX for two days, he was up and positive – the trip was his. R.I.P. Marine.

  8. Aussy Levi says:

    I had the pleasure of knowing Rick as family – he truly was inspiring- intelligent and witty! What an incredible tribute- beautifully done❤️

  9. Reggie says:

    Very inspiring story! He definitely earned the respect that others have given him and showed the toughness of a true Marine. Putting up that type of mileage isn’t easy. He is a champ in my eyes. Rest in heaven champ!

  10. Allen Imbarrato says:

    I first met Rick in a sauna at a local gym in TO. We had a great talk and we continued to get to know each other mainly from him performing hi very thorough and deep massages. He was very spiritual and knowledgeable about his the body worked and what it needed to heal itself. We lost touch for a few years and then we ran into each other at a Starbucks in Camarillo. Since this was a good distance from where I lived I felt the synchronicity to invite him over to do another massage. Rick would give massage like he did everything else with great passion and going as deep as I could tolerate it. Thanks Zander fro letting me know of his passing as it was definitely a privilege and honor to know your Father

  11. Pammy K says:

    Beautiful tribute to a beautiful soul! RIP Rick

  12. Cantor Marc Bachrach says:

    Such a great reminder of a gentle warrior, a great and gifted soul who touched us deeply.
    Rick was a mainstay at all the house concerts in the area… front row, and totally focused on the music and the artists.
    And always ready to help those of us running them.
    My life is infinitely better for knowing Rick: a loyal Marine, a thoughtful and gifted body mechanic, and a true Mentsch.
    Shine Brightly in the Heavens, Rick!

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