As some of you know, I have a soccer-related foot injury, and for almost three months have been wearing a removable walking cast/boot, and have been limited in the exercises I can do. It needed to be low impact and not flex my 1st MTP joint (the one that connects the big toe to the foot).
I’ve been using our home rowing machine a great deal (thanks to daughter Amanda, who used to row), and when I’m in a health club I can use elliptical trainers. But I really wanted to exercise outside (running and soccer are my sports). I was not ready to commit to rowing on the water, and it’s getting chilly out. I have golfed a few times without my boot, but that really doesn’t count as exercise, does it?
Recently I saw a Groupon for a rental of a mobile elliptical bicycle, called ElliptiGO. I did some research and thought this was perfect for me, so with the click of a mouse I purchased the voucher. Yesterday was my rental.
After a short lesson, I set out on my own. I rode for many miles (forgot to turn on tracker), perhaps 10 or 15. And it was great fun and a terrific workout. I thought you might be interested to learn about it.
I chose a bright yellow model. One thing you notice immediately is that it feels more like a scooter than a bicycle. And, of course, there is no seat, so you’re always on your feet. The stride is adjustable (but not while riding it) and the handlebar height is easily adjustable. Once you figure out the balance and work into your running stride it feels quite comfortable.
You drive this on the street like a bicycle, but I wasn’t balanced enough to do hand signals well (I generally rode with two hands). I cheated and rode on the sidewalks on busy streets.
It handled hills well, thanks to the 8-gear shifter. One thing I learned is that because it is a hub shifter (like the 3-speeds we had as kids) you need to stop pedaling to shift. This can be very difficult if you’re halfway up a steep hill, so I learned to shift before I needed it. And coasting down a steep hill is even more fun than on a bicycle.
When you ride an ElliptiGO you are higher than you would be on a bicycle, so you do need to watch out for low branches and overhangs. And you really feel the road bumps, which we have in plenitude around us in Newton.
One of the most fun things is watching the reaction of pedestrians and people in cars. There seem to be two kinds of people in the world: those who are oblivious to the world around them and everyone else. The oblivious people would not have noticed if I had been riding an elephant on our suburban streets. Most other people were amused, surprised, puzzled and even shocked. Kids, especially, were transfixed.
One thing I was concerned about was the quality of the workout. It was terrific. Almost the equivalent of a run and more strenuous than a bicycle. This is roughly similar to what was found in a UCSD study cited on the company’s website.
The ElliptiGO is not cheap (the 8-speed model I rode is about $2500, which the dealer was quick to point out is about half as much as a good stationary elliptical trainer), but it was well-made, sharp-looking, and fully adjustable.
My conclusion: great workout, definitely worth a rental, and if you have an injury that prevents you from running then the ElliptiGO is a great substitute.