I’m always up for trying something new when it comes to fitness. So when I heard Coach Jenny Hadfield talk about ElliptiGO, an outdoor elliptical bike, I couldn’t wait to give it a whirl. The concept is brilliant — a device that replicates running, at a similar exertion level, but without impact. And, the best part, you’re not in a stale-air, sweat-infused race to nowhere. You’re outside, covering ground with the wind in your face and, quite possibly, bugs in your teeth. Want to see it? Here’s a video snippet showing the ElliptiGO in motion.
My chance to ride the ElliptiGO came during my recent visit to the Garmin Store in Chicago for the event announcing our sponsorship of the Girls on the Run SoleMates program. Jenny Hadfield, Chicago-based coach, endurance athlete and author, was one of our featured speakers at the event and had offered to take me for a ride (or should I say glide?) on the ElliptiGO. Jenny, who’s a huge Garmin fan (at last count, she and her husband, John Bingham, have owned about 8 Garmin devices), has been using an Edge bike computer with cadence sensor on the ElliptiGO. When she wheeled the bikes into the Garmin Store before our ride, she instantly had a small crowd of gawkers. Customers, young and old, came up for a closer look and wanted to know where they could get one, what the bikes cost and what it was like to ride one. “It’s a fabulous workout and a lot of fun to ride,” Jenny told them. “The only problem is you might get bugs in your teeth because you’ll be smiling so much.”
I was more than a little anxious for our ride. Excited for the experience, nervous about maneuvering this bigger-than-a-bike device through pedestrian-choked Chicago sidewalks and streets. Jenny gave me some quick tips, assured me we’d be fine once we got on the Lakefront Path, and away we went. I pushed start on my Edge, pushed off, and in no time felt like I had the hang of this thing. About six minutes into our ride, Jenny checked over her shoulder and asked how I was doing. “I think I’m getting bugs in my teeth,” I shouted back. I felt like a kid who’d just ditched the training wheels. This was all-out fun, and I’m not sure what I enjoyed more — the ride, or witnessing all the head-turns we were causing.
Round trip, our ride was 14 miles long and our average speed was just over 11 mph. Check out the full stats in Garmin Connect, including cadence data recorded by Edge 705. As for the workout itself, I got a great cardio workout and felt like I’d truly worked/stretched the muscle groups that typically get really tight through running. Like hips and glutes. The ElliptiGO was the ideal cross-training workout for me since I was just returning to running after an injury had me benched for most of the summer. Jenny explained that one of the two guys who developed ElliptiGO is a former Ironman triathlete who’d suffered knee and hip injuries. Read their story of design by necessity here. See more video and stories about the ElliptiGO as well as Jenny’s recent appearance with her Edge-equipped ElliptiGO on Chicago’s Midday Fix. If you get a chance to take one for a test ride, go for it. Just be prepared for a few bugs in your teeth.