When people encounter an ElliptiGO bike for the first time and notice it doesn’t have a saddle, they sometimes say “don’t you get tired riding that?” Several intrepid ElliptiGOers are empathetically answering that question this year with epic rides. The goals for these rides are varied: from a youthful college celebration to a milestone birthday, from book-writing expedition to world records. But they all had one thing in common: showing what’s possible – if only to themselves.
Bob Redwanc and Ted Jenal kicked off the marvels of endurance with a six-day, 702-mile ride to celebrate Redwanc’ s 60th birthday. They began near Redwanc’s home in Yountville, California, and finished the trek in Las Vegas. Along the way, they persevered through headwinds, heavy rains, flat tires and the occasional re-routing. They even had a “visit” from a California Highway Patrol officer who shooed them off a freeway.
“This was a test to see what I still had in the tank at the age of 60, a test of mind, body and strength. I passed the test, but I think that from now on I’ll do rides with my wife to, say, the local wineries.” Read more about their adventure.
After a personally disappointing showing in the US Olympic Marathon Trials, Tera Moody also had something to prove to herself. “Marathon running can be a heart-breaking sport. I had a really tough day in LA (at the Trials). It was hard to pick myself back up. Calvin’s Challenge was the perfect fit: no stress, a fun group. Just ride long and ride hard.”
Calvin’s Challenge is a 12-hour event in Springfield, Ohio. Ten ElliptiGOers rode in the event on a day that saw temperatures in the 40s and nearly eight hours of rain and wind. Moody was one of four ElliptiGO riders to cover 150 miles. For her, it was three times farther than she had ever ridden. “What drove me on was the thought of achieving something that sounded so ridiculously hard. Afterwards was an incredible feeling. I completed an extremely high goal in terrible weather. It got me to believe in myself again, and that’s my life motto: If you work hard ANYTHING is possible as long as you BELIEVE.”
Idai Makaya is no stranger to endurance rides, having been the top ElliptiGO finisher in last year’s Paris-Brest-Paris ride, a 764-mile ride with a strict 90-hour time limit. This year, he set his sights on riding across Britain, an 850-mile trip. But merely completing the ride from Land’s End to John O’Groats was never his sole goal – he also sought to break the Guinness World Record of 6 days, 10 hours for covering the distance on an elliptical bike.
The solo trip traversed “massive climbs” and frost-covered fields. And in what seems to be a prerequisite for epic rides, he also rode through high winds and pouring rain, all while allowing himself just 45 minutes to an hour of sleep at a time. After one such cat nap, he said, “I was still quite drowsy, despite having just slept, and that ‘alertness situation’ was not improving as I rode along. I became disoriented and could not really remember why I was there. I could not figure out whether this ride was my own idea, or someone else’s idea. I sometimes could not remember what the objective of the ride was. I think I even forgot who I was, at some points that night. But I had an overshadowing instinct to just ride on – and to follow the map – whilst waiting for the rationale of why I was there to somehow come back to me.”
Makaya beat back the sleep deprivation and overcame many other challenges en route to finishing his quest in 5 days 4 minutes, shattering the Guinness World Record. Read his full account of the journey.
At the time of this writing, four riders were in the middle of three separate epic rides on two continents.
Casey Perry is a 25-year-old woman who has struggled with mental health issues since she was 12. On her blog, she wrote, “My life thus far has been somewhat of a bumpy journey. But with bumps, although you go down, you must come back up. I have decided to finally speak out about my bumpy road in the hopes that it will help someone else out on theirs. And what better time than as I leave university and spread my wings to fly into the rest of my life.”
In early June, Perry embarked on an island-hopping adventure around the Scottish Isles in what she has dubbed the “Isle-ipti-GO Journey.” Her steed is a bike borrowed from Dave Cornthwaite, who once rode an ElliptiGO bike more than 2000 miles around Europe. Follow her progress in photos on Instagram and chart her course visually on her Isle-ipti-GO journey tracker.
In the wee hours of June 17, Andrew Nuttall and Stuart Blofeld crossed the start line of the 2,100km (1,310 miles) Wild Atlantic Way Audax (WAWA) cycling event, which track the west coast of Ireland. Both men also began the Paris-Brest-Paris quest last year with Makaya. Blofeld finished in 87 hours, 28 minutes. Nuttall encountered difficulties and didn’t make it to the finish line. He’s out for redemption in WAWA.
They have 7 days and 7 hours to complete the challenge. That time limit allows for a slightly less demanding pace than the P-B-P quest, but they have to sustain it for nearly twice as many hours as last year’s event in France. In their first two days, they riding for nearly 21 and 22 hours, covering 640km. You can follow them live on this tracker – Blofeld is rider #53 and Nuttall is rider #55.
Another Brit decided the mother land wasn’t large enough for his grand expedition, so Tim Woodier crossed the ocean “to explore the new world,” as he wrote on Facebook. In a unique twist, Woodier charted a nearly 6000-mile course largely based upon where he could connect with other ElliptiGO owners. He will pass through about 25 states and two countries in his travels, staying with ElliptiGO owners almost nightly.
He launched from New York City on June 2, riding a custom-painted 11-speed white ElliptiGO borrowed from 2015 ElliptiGO Rider of the Year Carol Galgano. “I admire him for taking this journey,” Galgano said. “It’s a brave step that he’s completely ready to conquer.”
From New York, he traveled north, eventually crossing the border into Canada on his way to Ottawa. In what he called an “incredibly tough four days … [with] lots of climbing and rain on Saturday, brutal headwinds on Sunday and Monday,” Woodier covered nearly 600 miles. His course turned south and west from there, bound for Toronto on his way back to the States, where he will re-emerge in Michigan before dropping straight down toward the Florida Keys.
At the end of most every day of riding, he joins one or more ElliptiGO riders for dinner and “whatever they want to do.” Of course, most of his hosts want the honor of riding with someone who is undertaking such an adventure. Woodier, always the grateful guest, obliges, “as long as they don’t want to do a massive 3-hour ride.”
After one especially long day – 210 miles from Buffalo, New York to Akron, Ohio – Woodier enjoyed a large plate of pasta, served at 2:30am by his ElliptiGOer hostess, Jeanne Wilson. The next day, he relaxed with a rare rest day by riding the roller coasters at Cedar Point amusement park, home of the Valravn, the tallest, fastest, and longest dive coaster in the world.
The ElliptiGO community readily opened its arms to Woodier, starting with Galgano lending one of her bike’s to a virtual stranger for three months. Along the way, ElliptiGOers such as Clint and Elisa Greenbaum welcome him into their home for the night. “People have said, ‘Well, how do you know he’s not a murderer?’ And I said, ‘Well, how does he know we’re not murderers?” Elisa Greenbaum quipped.
For traveling such a massive distance, Woodier has had to make special adjustments to his gear and borrowed bike. For one, his wife, Therese, designed and made a triangular pack that hangs off the bottom of the bike’s frame in an otherwise open slope. Another important customization came in the form of “open-toed shoes” – supportive running shoes where he cut off the toe box. He said on rides longer than 100 miles, he would experience pain in his toes and balls of his feet. “Cutting off the end of my shoes solves that completely.”
Woodier, a professional photographer, will be documenting his escapade in words and photos for a book he plans to publish. Follow his travels on the GO GO GO Tim Facebook page.