Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Weird Bicycle-like Contraption

I fly. I have to be in the minority, though.  I fly, but don't fly planes with engines. 
I run. I have to be in the minority, though.  I'm one of those 1 in 10,000 runners who does the majority of his miles on the road with no shoes on.  Yes, barefoot.  Weird, huh? Don't worry, I'm used to weird looks. 
I bike. For this too, I must be in the minority.  I'm one of those 1 in 10,000 bikers who doesn't ride what would traditionally be called a bicycle; except that it has two wheels and a handlebar. 

I just have to be special, don't I? 

I recently purchased a non-traditional bicycle to use as a cross-trainer for my running program. Those who have ever been in a gym and seen the "elliptical machines" are familiar with the movement.  This contraption is such an elliptical trainer converted into a bicycle.  Combining the movement of an elliptical trainer and the propulsion of a bicycle, we find this odd vehicle, the "ElliptiGo" 

I use the ElliptiGo to commute to and from work, while getting some exercise and avoiding the aggravation of driving during the peak rush hour periods.   The ElliptiGo was designed for former runners who still prefer the running motion, but don't like the jarring or impact of running.  It's also used by some runners to act as a cross-trainer, to add in miles while doing something slightly different.  In fact, the guy who just won the Boston Marathon uses one of these contraptions for cross-training. 

It's quite a lot of fun to ride, and doesn't hurt my sitting muscles like bicycles do.  It definitely turns heads and makes people stop in their tracks, trying to figure out what this weird thing is. 


Advantages: 
  • Upright posture while riding
  • Lots of interest from onlookers
  • Fun to ride
  • Not hunched over, and therefore missing the scenery
  • Similar muscles to running are activated
  • Requires core muscles for proper use 
  • Much faster than running
  • It's different and interesting
  • No ass-pain from awful bicycle seats
  • Theoretically, has better hill climb performance than most bikes. (But I still get passed going uphill)
Disadvantages:
  • More expensive than other low-end bikes, but still not as expensive as the highest-end bicycles. 
  • Considering how much money I put into it, I sure do get passed by everybody 
  • Because of upright posture, I have a very large wind profile, so headwinds are brutal 
  • Because of large wind profile, the flat-out speed is limited by profile drag. 
  • It's very large and hard to fit onto a standard bike rack. 
  • I can imagine that a few types of accidents can wreck the ElliptiGo and make it unusable -- specifically, if the tracks where the front of the pedals roll up and down get damaged from hitting a curb, it might become permanently unusable. 
  • No place to store your saddlebags, that I can see, at least. 

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