According to the Arthritis Foundation, more than 50 million Americans have arthritis, making it the number one cause of disability in the country. It affects one in every five adults and 300,000 children. Those are some sobering statistics that make many people pause. Fortunately, ElliptiGO elliptical bike riders are not the kind to face adversity sitting down.
Six ElliptiGO cyclists participated in the California Coast Classic, riding 525 miles over eight days while raising more than $22,100 to fight arthritis. For each of the riders, the cause was personally meaningful.
Jane LeGore, who organized the group, was diagnosed with osteoarthritis at a young age and eventually had a total hip replacement in 2012. She currently has labrum tears in her other hip, but she has been able to stay active with her ElliptiGO bike. “I learned so much more about the many types of arthritis once I got involved with this event, and I am honored to be part of the movement to make a difference. I want to inspire others to help and encourage those that live with pain to do what they can to stay active,” she said.
Like LeGore, John Pilkington also deals with the daily pain of osteoarthritis, along with spinal stenosis and disc degeneration, yet he said, “After meeting many of the riders and guests, it became clear that my condition is not even close to what they suffer on a daily basis.”
Mary Decker-Slaney echoed that sentiment. The former world champion runner had her athletic career cut short by injuries and arthritis, but she said, “Learning how much arthritis impacts children blew me away. It’s one thing for all of us older people managing it, but for kids that never know a life without arthritis, this is a bigger cause that needs to be supported.”
The other three riders on Team ElliptiGO – Anissa Andres, Eric Korevaar and Jeanne Wilson – all know someone who is battling arthritis, or they themselves have debilitating injuries that help them appreciate what arthritis sufferers endure.
Wilson, for example, has loved riding a bike since she was five years old, but what she calls “a silly ski accident” led to a knee replacement. Then she injured the other knee and developed a “catch” that prevents her from riding a regular road bike. But when she first took an ElliptiGO bike for a test ride, “within 15 seconds I knew it was for me!”
Wilson is recovering from an accident in June, so her riding has been limited. “I was one of the last riders each day, but I didn’t care. I had to stop to take in all the sights and smells. The people, farmland, homes, ocean, beaches, seals and whales made for an exciting and awesome ride each day.”
While none of the six can run as much as they used to, if at all, they certainly have not slowed down. Andres, for example, routinely rides 200+ miles a week, including a long ride up to 75 miles and 4000 feet of climbing. Decker-Slaney goes 200-250 miles per week regularly. Korevaar used to run every day. Between age 30-40, he says he ran at least five miles a day without missing a day. Now, he rides. He’s contemplating a riding adventure that would take him through all 48 of the contiguous United States.
LeGore isn’t planning a trans-continental journey (at least, not that she told us about), but she is looking forward to hosting the ElliptiGO Winter Classic in Phoenix, Arizona, in January. Beyond that, she says, “I look forward to creating more opportunities for people to connect. I also want to find more ways to travel with the ElliptiGO – to ride and explore new places in hopes of sharing the experience and inspiring others to reach out and connect with people more often.”