When ElliptiGO’s founders set out to create a new product, there was something else that would be created: our amazing community of riders. That community has fostered a culture of camaraderie, inclusivity, and FUN. Throughout the Global ElliptiGO Riders Club, the Private Facebook Group, it’s easy to spot the very dedicated riders who keep that spirit alive and keep the community engaged. This month, we honor one of those riders: Lewis “Lefty” Leftwich. His welcoming attitude, his dedication to driving awareness for our brand, not to mention his love of riding for sweet treats have earned him the title September 2019 Rider Of The Month.
While Lefty is not his true name, it is a nickname that has stuck. He told us, “My college diploma has ‘Lefty’ on it.” He lives in Roanoke, Virginia, has been married for 30 years and has a daughter that will soon graduate from college. Lefty is a retired naval officer who now works in quality control for a steel mill.
Lefty had grown up playing all kinds of sports. While he says he was never the star athlete, he loved being a part of the team in high school and during his military service.
“While stationed in New Orleans, LA; I discovered running,” Lefty said. “Where else can you run a 5K at 8:00 a.m. and be eating red beans and rice while drinking a beer by 8:30 a.m.”
He began to challenge himself by running longer distances. He said, “I worked my way up to running a couple of marathons and even tried a 50 miler. Eventually, I just stuck to running the trails. Again, not for speed, but just to run.”
This is part of Lefty’s philosophy that helps him foster an inclusive and supportive culture in our community of riders.
“I tell everyone I have two speeds; Slow and Slower. I start out slow and get slower as I go. I’m a firm believer in the ‘DL>DF>DS’ concept. ‘Dead Last’ is better than ‘Did Not Finish’ is better than ‘Did Not Start.’”
Eventually, Lefty was forced to retreat into a gym because running was too painful on his knees. He used recumbent bikes and elliptical machines to stay in shape.
“The fact that I couldn’t get outside and do physical types of things (running, soccer, etc.) wasn’t the best time for me,” he said. “…I just wasn’t as happy…I enjoyed getting outside and running with friends or even alone on the trails. It was a good way to relieve stress that builds up in life and the gym wasn’t providing the same type of relief.”
That’s when ElliptiGO bikes entered the picture.
“I was still trying to run and was returning from Norfolk. I stopped in at Riverside Runners in Lynchburg, VA to check out some Hoka shoes, hoping they may allow me to get out and run again with less stress/pounding on the knees.”
That’s when Lefty noticed that Riverside Runners was an ElliptiGO dealer and had bikes to try out on the floor.
“I forgot all about the shoes and started talking to the Store Manager about ElliptiGO bikes and set up a demo ride with her. That was a Wednesday. On Friday, after riding with her, I bought my first Arc.”
According to the Global ElliptiGO Riders Club, Lefty has logged more than 6,800 miles and more than 211,000 feet of elevation on his Arc bikes. He is very active in cycling events including the Tour de Donut Bike Ride, the Five Boro Bike Ride, and the DC Bike Ride. He’s even had the chance to ride on the Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Lefty said, “The last event I just did, the Flight 93 Memorial Trail Bike Ride, was probably the toughest ride I’ve done due to the elevation over the course. However, it was for a good cause and gave me the opportunity to visit the area and pay my respects to those that gave their life to save others on 9/11.”
Lefty saw fitness benefits just from adding riding to his routine. He said, “My first year riding the Arc – with Burger King, Domino’s, and beer still being good friends – I lost 20 pounds and two inches off my waist and I wasn’t trying.”
Lefty is active in the private Facebook Group run by our customers and participates in the Global ElliptiGO Riders Clubs challenges and events. He has built a deep connection with his fellow riders and it has made an impact on his life.
“I’ve had the opportunity to meet a group of awesome people – even the ones I haven’t personally met! With the ElliptiGO Facebook Group, it’s like we have known each other for years,” Lefty said.
“The ElliptiGO Community is very supportive in helping with problems you might be having with the bike that prevents you from riding; everyone is very helpful. Sharing their pictures from their rides makes me want to get out and ride more places just to share pictures of my little world. To see pictures of people riding all over the country (actually, the world) is very motivating.”
We are so proud of the miles and events that Lefty rides, but we are even more proud of the example he sets and the inspiration he brings to our community of riders. Thank you for being a part of our family, Lefty! In closing, Lefty shared these sweet words:
“If I haven’t expressed it previously, thanks to everyone at ElliptiGO Headquarters for providing an awesome product and great customer support! I hope to get to the West Coast and meet you guys.
To those running the Global ElliptiGO Riders Club: thanks for what you do to make the rides fun. The challenges you come up make rides interesting even when you may not want to ride that day.
To my ElliptiGO Brothers and Sisters: I hope everyone takes all the opportunities available to them to get out and meet up with others and ride together. The ElliptiGO Family may not be the size of the “normal” bike family yet, but we seem to ride taller with a smile on our face, joy in our hearts, and no saddle sores on our butts!”
Know someone who should be Rider Of The Month? Email firstname.lastname@example.org to share your story or the story of another ElliptiGO rider you know who is inspiring others, thriving in our community or doing incredible things on their ElliptiGO bike!