When ElliptiGO newbie Thomas Moench was challenged to ride a 200-kilometer timed cycling event on an ElliptiGO bike, he immediately accepted. To add a layer of intrigue, Moench’s challenger, Idai Makaya, set the terms: Moench was to train with Makaya once a week on the ElliptiGO bike for one month prior to the competition, the Audax Challenge.
Moench, a 33-year-old resident of Milton Keynes, U.K., comes from a cycling background. He completed an apprenticeship as a bike mechanic and raced for several years in Germany and Europe. He is Founder of Biotic Bikes, a company which produces revolutionary bamboo and carbon fibre bike frames. But the challenge was no small feat, especially for someone with a pure cycling background. On his first test ride of the ElliptiGO bike, he rode from his hometown to Northampton, a distance of 35 kilometers.
“It seemed an intimidating long distance at first but I managed OK,” he said. “After riding very few miles on Idai’s 11R, I simply got hooked.”
The rest is history. Moench successfully completed the Audax Challenge in May 2017 off of limited ElliptiGO training, and set his sights to other challenges.
When 200 Kilometers Is Not Enough
Moench decided to up his game and took on a 600-kilometer, 3-day solo unsupported adventure soon after in July. He carried all the items he would need on his journey – food, clothes and a tent – while riding his ElliptiGO 8S. He recounts his experience:
On Day One, I headed north through the Midlands and past two beautiful reservoirs (Pitsford and Rutland Water). The route was hilly at first and I was glad to reach Lincolnshire after eight hours of riding with a strong headwind. In Lincolnshire, I turned east and flat smooth roads together with a strong tailwind were a fantastic end to the first day. I enjoyed riding so much that I almost forgot to keep my eyes open for a good spot to camp. In fading daylight, I decided to pitch up behind a huge greenhouse as this meant a bit more protection from the elements.
The highlight of the tour was definitely the second day. I woke up when it got light outside and I was back on the road at around 6:30 a.m. The route took me past King’s Lynn and Hunstanton, where I had breakfast, to the coast of Norfolk. From here onwards it was easy to find the way. For the following 200 kilometers, I stayed as close to the coast as possible and I was rewarded with beautiful views all along the way. In Wells-Next-the-Sea, I even met another ElliptiGO rider who was on holiday. We chatted for a little bit and took an obligatory selfie. In Great Yarmouth, I stopped for an extended coffee break and I refilled my water bottles. This second day ended behind a hedge not far off the route in Suffolk. I decided it was a good place to stop with Ipswich being just 45 kilometers away.
The third and final day of this micro adventure meant heading West back to Milton Keynes. As planned, I stopped in Ipswich for a coffee and breakfast. The weather changed half way through the day and it rained several times in the afternoon. However, the motivation was high and Cambridge was near. The towns and villages sounded more and more familiar as I approached home. A highlight just a few kilometers from home was riding through Woburn Park, where the deer were intrigued by the unusual but rhythmic sound of the ElliptiGO bike passing by. From there it was just a five kilometer descent to where I set off two days ago.
When asked why a former pure cyclist who raced at the highest end of the sport would choose a new type of bicycle, he responded, “I love the fact that one is completely free when riding an ElliptiGO. Unlike riding a bicycle, where the saddle forces the rider into a particular position, an ElliptiGO rider will find a comfortable position naturally. I also like to fact that one can see a lot more of the surroundings due to the standing position. I love nature and I love the fact that I can see a lot more of it when riding an ElliptiGO.”
Limited only by his imagination, Moench is already planning his next adventure, astride his 8S.