Last summer, as the big “5-0” milestone approached, Lamorna Brown Swigart was looking to get fit. She knew she needed to improve her fitness to combat a genetic predisposition to diabetes. She tried fitness classes and working out on elliptical machines, but she longed to be outside.
Lamorna and her friend and colleague Malinda Walker rented ElliptiGO bikes and quickly discovered they enjoyed them immensely, so they each bought a bike. They launched a blog called We GO for Good, and set their sights on riding their ElliptiGO bikes around San Francisco Bay to raise money for breast cancer research, earning them “Riders of the Month” honors. For Lamorna, the 230-mile trip over 8 days was just enough of a challenge at the time.
As it turns out, that first excursion was just enough to whet her appetite for bigger, longer goals. In July of this year, Lamorna rode her ElliptiGO 11R from the Oregon/California border 473 miles to San Francisco. That was merely a tune-up for her main event – a 10-day, 703-mile trek from San Francisco to the Mexican border. True to her “GOing for Good” pedigree, Lamorna slipped a charity ride – the California Coast Classic – into her itinerary. She raised $4150 for the Arthritis Foundation while traversing 525 hilly, windy miles.
“I was thrilled to accomplish my ride, and I had such a great time,” she said. “There were a few times when it was truly hard work (head winds!), and I wondered if I would be able to keep GOing. But it was such an adventure in so many ways. I am home now and back to reality, work and home life, but every night I dream that I am still ElliptiGOing.
“I was tickled by how curious many of the cyclists were about the ElliptiGO. They were curious about how it compared to biking, how it did going up hills, how did it go down hills, what speed did I go, and why I chose it. I was also rather gratified by how many of them expressed admiration for my determination while climbing and pluck while descending. They seemed to think that descents would be very scary, being so much taller/higher up. I love descending and told them that was my reward for the long climbs!
“The scenery was stunning, from the coastal cliffs of Big Sur, with sunlight streaming through the Pampas Grass, to the fog-shrouded fields of black earth south of Oxnard and the beaches from Rincon to Ventura. Somehow, it is the scents that I will always associate with this ride. You don’t get the same sensory experience when you are shut up in an air-conditioned car.”
Malinda Walker shared her thoughts on Lamorna’s athletic growth in a blog post. “If anyone had told me in May of 2014 that just over two years later Lamorna would regularly be commuting twenty-two miles to work on an ElliptiGO, doing back-to-back rides on weekends and covering sixty mile distances all on her own, I would not have believed them.”
And what does she think now? “Who is this woman? Strong, confident, and wearing smaller pants, she has made amazing things happen for herself. Lamorna is a testament that real people can make real change – positive improvements in their own lives and for the greater good.”
Lamorna is not about to stop. She is prodding Malinda to circle the San Francisco Bay again, but doing it in three or four days instead of their original 8. Of course, there will be a fund-raising element to it. “I’d like to turn that into a bigger fundraiser for cancer research,” she explained, “Maybe a relay around the bay for anything human-powered on wheels!”
When Lamorna has those dreams of ElliptiGOing, one trip that keeps swooshing its way into her subconscious is a cross-country ride. She knows that’s far in the future, but each day – and night – brings her a bit closer.
For now, she says, “I am delighted to be GOing strong. My ElliptiGO has revolutionized my fitness and my life! I cannot begin to tell you how much fun I have had in the past two years thanks to this machine.”
Show your support for Lamorna by donating to one of her causes.