In 2012 71-year-old former Marine Rick Hermelin made history by riding an ElliptiGO bicycle coast-to-coast across the United States. His 2,926 Mile ride simultaneously set the world record for the world’s longest ElliptiGO ride ever.
But hang on I hear you think…. What? ElliptiGo…?! What the hell is that?
And you are right so let’s quickly backtrack to the origins of this strange and novel mode of transport…..
The invention of the ElliptiGO
The ElliptiGO basically is a crossover between a bicycle and an indoor elliptical fitness machine also known as a cross-trainer in many countries. You can call the ElliptiGO an outdoor elliptical fitness bicycle or outdoor cross-train bike. And it was invented out of necessity….
In 2005, Bryan Pate, an injured sports fanatic looking for low impact ways of exercising started cycling. He didn’t like the position and found it thoroughly uncomfortable. So he looked further. His eye fell on the elliptical fitness machine in his local gym but Pate hated exercising inside. While looking for an outdoor version of this type of exercise he realised it didn’t exist and so the idea for an elliptical bicycle was born. a device that would use a running-like elliptical motion to propel a bicycle. He contacted his mate Brent Teal, a mechanical engineer and together they formed a partnership to pursue the invention. Teal was able to create an elliptical bike prototype, codenamed “Alfa,” by mid-2006. On its first run, Pate cycled 20 miles and hit 20 mph. An earlier patent for an elliptical bicycle had been registered to a Larry Miller and Pate and Teal secured the exclusive rights to the patents and renamed their invention the ElliptiGO. The second prototype was conceived in 2007, named “Charlie” and in 2010, the ElliptiGO 8S, the company’s first commercially available elliptical bike was brought to the market.
Ever since the invention of the ElliptGO it has quickly gained a fanatic following of sportsmen and athletes looking for an outdoor non-impact cardio exercise. Various professional runners and sports teams use it as an additional full body training device in their training programs.
Now that you know what an ElliptiGO is we can quickly go back to telling the tale of Hermelin’s kickass USA coast-to-coast ElliptiGO ride. Here we go…
Running 100 Marathons, 100 Half-Marathons & 100 10k races
Hermelin served in the Marine Corps from 1959 to 1963 as an Aviation Communications Technician. After that stint he started running and eventually it became an almost obsessive passion for the former marine. He started running 10K races, then half marathons and eventually full marathons. And he ran a lot of them.
Then over the course of 35 years, from 1976 to 2011, he completed an astounding 100 marathons, 100 half-marathons, and 100 10K races!
This definitely puts him on a kickass par with runners like Ranulph Fiennes (ran 7 marathons, on 7 different continents in 7 days), Stuart Kettell (ran 7 marathons in 7 days in a giant hamster wheel) and former Popstar Andrei Rosu who ran 7 Marathons & 7 Ultras on 7 Continents. And more kickass running trips you never imagined here.
When Hermelin reached his incredible 100 marathon, half marathon and 10k run milestone in June 2011, he started looking for a new challenge.
“I had thought about running across the U.S. before but I wasn’t sure if my body would hold up for the entire journey. All those marathons had taken its toll on my body. Plus, it would take me about 6 months. That’s when one of my acquaintances suggested I try out the low-impact ElliptiGO as an alternative. I immediately got hooked”
As he had run a 100 marathons, half-marathons and 10k races each he wanted to something that would fit within this unique series of runs he had done, so Hermelin put together a plan to ride across the United States – from them East coast to the West coast – on the ElliptiGO in 100 days. He named his ride “Rick Hermelin’s 100 days for the Corps” as he was raising funds and awareness for the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund.
Coast to coast on an ElliptiGO
Hermelin began his transcontinental journey on March 23, 2012 in Parris Island, South Carolina and finished his kickass ride exactly 100 days later in San Diego, California on June 30, 2012.
Hermelin’s ride was even more impressive as he made the coast-to-coast crossing self-supported, carrying only a small backpack. His mission quickly captured the hearts of the people he met along the way. Families opened up their homes to him, restaurant owners fed him free of charge and a network of fire departments hosted him for 53 nights.
Crossing the country on the novel and unconventional fitness machine, Hermelin racked up some impressive statistics:
Daily average distance: 33 miles
Average speed: 11.7 mph
Maximum speed: 42.5 mph
Total number of riding days: 89
Total number of resting days: 11
Total hours on the ElliptiGO: 251
Total feet of vertical climbing: 83,000
Total number of calories burned: 182,000
Total number of states crossed: 10
Total number of flat tires: Only One!
In the end Hermelin made all the way across the country on only one flat tyre and that made him the first person to ever have a achieved that feat. At the finish line he was heard saying:
“I am happy to report that both the ElliptiGO and I made it across the country with all original parts in good working order. Maybe the ElliptiGO even a bit better than me”.