Here's a quick quiz:
- Do you like exercising outdoors?
- Do you ever find bicycling uncomfortable or tedious?
- Do you enjoy running?
- Do you want your fitness to be fun?
- Have you ever been sidelined from high-impact exercise due to an injury?
If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, you just might be in the market for an ElliptiGO. In fact, the ElliptiGO was invented by Bryan Pate in 2005 simply because he answered "yes" to all of the questions above.
When Bryan was told at only 32 years old that he could no longer participate in high-impact exercise, he set out to find a piece of low impact exercise equipment designed for outdoor use. As a former cyclist, he didn't want to return to traditional cycling, and he didn't want to spend his days cooped up at the gym. The only problem? He couldn't find an alternative! Frustrated and determined, Bryan turned to Brent Teal, a degreed mechanical engineer and competitive ultra marathoner. Over the course of five years, Brent and Bryan poured countless hours into their project, developed numerous prototypes and finally began selling their invention to consumers in 2010. It may have been a long ride to take the ElliptiGO from conception to reality, but their efforts have paid off and elliptical cycling is growing by leaps and bounds.
See the ElliptiGO in action >>
Despite the fact that I've coveted the ElliptiGO since 2006, well before they hit the market, I have yet to get one of my own. As bummed as I am about not crossing this off my fitness bucket list (yet), I was pumped when Bryan Pate made himself available to do an interview in order to share a little more about the ElliptiGO and the sport of elliptical cycling. Read on and be motivated!
Adjusting to elliptical cycling
GirlsGoneSporty (GGS): For someone who has never tried an ElliptiGO before, how long does it take before you start feeling comfortable?
Bryan Pate (BP): It’s a really quick initial learning curve – just a few seconds before you realize it’s really easy to balance and ride. Most people start feeling comfortable within the first minute of riding. That said, we like for people to take it out for a good 15 to 30 minutes on their first try so they can experience how well it performs over a variety of terrain like hills, turns and so forth. This also allows them to really feel the workout experience.
GGS: Just from a functional standpoint, how hard is it to use?
BP: Really easy. It balances surprisingly well. Basically, if you can ride a bike, you can ride an ElliptiGO. It handles similarly to a bike. The steering input is longer, so it takes five or six turns before you really get comfortable making sharp corners, but once you’ve figured that out, you’ll find it performs like a bike in terms of handling.
Is an ElliptiGO for you?
GGS: Who is the ElliptiGO best suited for - who is your preferred customer?
BP: The ElliptiGO is great for anyone who is looking for a fun, comfortable form of low-impact cardio exercise outdoors. It’s designed to deliver a great workout that’s basically equivalent to running, but without the pounding experienced during running. It’s perfect for:
- The former runner who wants the running experience but can’t handle the impact
- The injured runner who is trying to get back into running or stay in shape while injured
- The fitness enthusiast who isn’t conditioned to endure the conventional road bike riding position (doesn’t like the seat pain or has lower back/neck issues that make the riding position too uncomfortable) or doesn’t want to spend the time required to get in a good workout on a road bike.
Because the ElliptiGO is more like running, you can get in a good workout in just 30-45 minutes,
GGS: How is the ElliptiGO being used by athletes and “regular people” both in a day-to-day capacity and in pursuit of bigger goals?
BP: The ElliptiGO has been adopted by elite athletes at a surprising rate, and this year there are more than a dozen Olympic hopefuls who have been using it as a core part of their training. The athletes adopting the ElliptiGO tend to be seasoned runners who have let go of the “only running makes you faster” mentality for training, and have embraced the ElliptiGO as a way to cut down on running mileage while increasing their overall cardiovascular conditioning time with the theory that this will get them into better shape with less chance of injury. For a pro runner, that combination provides a tremendous advantage in terms of performance. The proof is in the pudding, and we’ve already seen a number of athletes who use this training philosophy and have set personal records this year.
In addition to runners, we have triathletes, adventure racers and a number of professional baseball, football, soccer and basketball players who are using the ElliptiGO. Although these sports are different from running, the reasons the ElliptiGO attracts these athletes are basically the same – using the ElliptiGO is a fun, non-damaging form of cardio training that delivers real performance improvements while reducing the likelihood of injury.
While it’s great that there are so many elite runners and pro athletes using the ElliptiGO, they are dwarfed by the number of “regular” people (like us) who are using the ElliptiGO to train for their own sports and running events, to lose weight or to simply evolve their exercise routine. These folks range in age from 40-70 and usually share a common enthusiasm for exercise and fitness – even if they have allowed themselves to get out of shape recently. Most are former runners who had to give it up because of lower-extremity injuries. Once they start using the ElliptiGO, it’s amazing how they really fall in love with it and I can’t tell you the number of emails we get each month from customers who say that the ElliptiGO changed their lives. That’s one element of the ElliptiGO that we didn’t expect – how much it improves our customers’ lives and how thankful they are for that. It’s probably my favorite part of the whole experience so far.
The workout: Calorie burn comparison
GGS: You mentioned in our previous conversations that the University of California San Diego (UCSD) is doing a study on the caloric burn rate of the bike – have you seen the results yet?
BP: Yes. UCSD completed the study several months ago. They had two conclusions from this study: First, that the ElliptiGO burns approximately 33% more calories than a road bike at a given velocity. And second, that the ElliptiGO was more equal to running than cycling is in terms of heart rate, rate of perceived exertion and energy expenditure. We think these two factors are what enable riding the ElliptiGO to be about as efficient as running in terms of getting in your workout.
The sport of elliptical cycling
GGS: What are your goals for the company and for elliptical cycling as a sport? What types of events have you already held and how are you working to grow the sport?
BP: One of our core missions as a company is to create a new sport around elliptical cycles. We’ve held two World Championships, which have drawn competitors from five countries so far. An Australian won the first championship and last year Team Canada won the team competition. The championship event consists of a 4,209 foot elevation gain through an 11.7-mile climb up Palomar Mountain in California, which is ranked the 16th toughest cycling climb in the country. We also do a flat course time-trial event, where many competitors will average over 20 mph. The climb feels like running a half-marathon and the time trial feels like running a 5K, so they are very different events, but very competitive and fun. This year a group of customers secured an elliptical cycling category in a bike race in Ohio called Calvin’s Challenge where ElliptiGO riders set records for fastest 100-mile ride and fastest 50-mile ride. Thirty-seven people have joined the Century Club so far, which consists of the first 100 riders to complete an organized cycling event of 100-miles or longer. We expect this year’s World Championships to be the most competitive and well attended event so far, and we’re continuing to focus on building the sport of elliptical cycling.
Take it for a test drive
GGS: Are there opportunities for potential buyers to test out an ElliptiGO before ordering their own?
BP: Absolutely! We have a dealer network of more than 250 retailers spread across the country. You can find the dealer nearest you buy using the dealer locator on our website: www.elliptigo.com. In the unlikely event that there isn’t a dealer nearby, you can take advantage of our 30-day no questions asked money-back guarantee, which lets you purchase an ElliptiGO directly through our website and if you don’t absolutely love it, you can return it for any reason for a full refund, less return shipping/transportation. We get fewer than 1-percent of our ElliptiGOs returned.
GGS: Anything else readers should know?
BP: The only thing worth adding is to acknowledge that the ElliptiGO is expensive. The bottom line is that it’s expensive because it works, and to get it to work, we had to use costly parts and materials. You’ll see the quality of these parts and materials when you take a look at the ElliptiGO. When you compare the cost to a high-quality elliptical trainer or a nice road bike, you’ll find that it’s actually priced very competitively.
I can't thank Bryan enough for taking the time to talk to me, and I'd also like to add that I can't wait to be in a position to host a GirlsGoneSporty ElliptiGO Team. There's nothing I'd love more than to suit up a group of women on pink ElliptiGOs and head to the hills of California to participate in the World Championships. It may be a couple years down the road before we can make that happen, but I'll start taking names now! Who wants to be on the first ever GirlsGoneSporty ElliptiGO Team?