This past Fall, the elliptical bike community descended on the epicenter of all-things ElliptiGO–Southern California’s headquarters in Solana Beach–for the 12th Annual ElliptiGO World Championships and Rally Weekend. The three-day gathering in late October included a competition, group rides, social gatherings, and an awards ceremony which showcased ElliptiGO enthusiasts from all over the world. The marquee event was the Elliptical Cycling World Championships, an 11.69-mile uphill competition which tested ElliptiGO riders with 4,209 feet of climbing at a 7 percent average grade up the scenic Palomar Mountain in northern San Diego County.
The classic elliptical-style bike–aka longstride–is the original and has been the staple in the ElliptiGO fleet since the company’s founding in 2008. The longstride is available in 3 models: 3C, 8C, and 11R. The SUB (Stand Up Bike) models were introduced three years ago and are available in two versions: the off-road version, the MSUB (Mountain Stand Up Bike) and the street version, the RSUB (Road Stand Up Bike). In 2019, the SUB category was also added at the World Championships.
I was one of the lucky individuals to be invited to compete in the World Championships and participate in the Rally Weekend this past October to join my fellow ElliptiGO enthusiasts. As an avid ElliptiGO rider and Mobile Rep myself, I have always wanted to participate in this event and challenge myself on the 11.69-mile climb up to just over 5,200 feet in elevation on Palomar Mountain. I was psyched I finally had that opportunity! I opted to ride the RSUB. The SUB line of ElliptiGO is based on a more traditional bike frame, compared to the longstride models. The SUB models allow the rider to use short, quick revolutions, similar to the form when a rider gets out of the saddle on a traditional bike. I felt like I was in good climbing shape to be competitive, but I was quickly humbled after the start gun was fired when two riders easily pulled away from me and the rest of the elite wave of competitors.
One of those riders was defending 2020 World Champion in the SUB category, Brian Kildow, 58, of Encinitas, CA. Kildow, a massage therapist by trade, has been a competitive triathlete and runner for most of his life and has recently found the RSUB as an ideal method of cross training. He has been dealing with a progressing cartilage deterioration in his knee and had to limit impact activities and completely halt running over the past year. Kildow made up for that on the MSUB, “I was doing up to 150 miles per week—mostly hill work—on RSUB and found it invaluable!”
In 2020, Kildow won the overall World Championship title on his RSUB, however, he narrowly missed the impressive 2019 record of British athlete, Billy Grace (1:12:33). This year Kildow came back prepared and with a highly upgraded performance RSUB, equipped with a carbon fiber fork and wheels, clip-in pedals, the lightest and most minimal accessories, and was successful in securing a new World Record for the SUB Category of 1:11:56. Kildow said of his bike, “My RSUB was amazing for cross-training for running. There is nothing else like it, you can reach the same heart rate as running and equal calorie burn—if not more.” He went on to say, “The clip-less pedals incorporate much more calf-Achilles and make it much more like true running for me. I feel ElliptiGo is the best cross-training for runners on the planet…ultra especially.”
Bryan Pate, co-founder and CEO of ElliptiGO, spoke of the advantages of the new SUB line, “It has all the full-body workout benefits of the longstride, but it’s a simpler system and much more robust.” A few of the drawbacks of longstride have been solved with the RSUB. “It has a higher weight capacity…you can put off-road tires on it…it’s light, it’s fun, it’s fast.” The MSUB is off-road ready featuring knobby, 27- inch mountain bike tires, front suspension and 10 gears, two more than the RSUB.
In the women’s competition, Kim Nedeau of Leverett, MA, became the World Champion in decisive fashion after riding the third fastest time ever, 1:26:17. This time is almost seven minutes faster than 2020 Olympic bronze medalist, Molly Seidel, who won in 2020, and only eclipsed by past British Olympian and 2015 (1:20:28) and 2016 (1:16:00) ElliptiGO World Champion, Sarah Brown.
Nedeau is a 2016 US Mountain Running Team member, coach, and uphill running specialist. After dealing with a debilitating injury in 2016, Nedeau discovered ElliptiGO and was so impressed that she purchased an 8C, then an MSUB. She saw the amazing benefits and has since become more involved as a brand Enthusiast in Western Massachusetts. She was even named ElliptiGO Rider of the Month in June 2020. Of the ElliptiGO, Kim insisted, “It really is like running, but we get to go farther and faster and without pain!”
Erik Wippler, a road runner from Canton, MI, defended his 2020 World Championship title by winning the Elliptical Cycling category on his longstride, and improving on his time by more than two minutes (1:14:04). Wippler is a 2:35 marathoner and finds that riding the ElliptiGO translates very well to running. Katie James is another talented road runner who finished second (1:33:07) to Nedeau in her first race back since becoming a mother. James ran a debut marathon of 2:34 in 2018 which qualified her for the 2020 Marathon Olympic Trials. The ElliptiGO is her fitness stepping stone to get back to high-level running and racing. Denise Mueller-Korenek took the title in the MSUB category in a time of 1:41:33. She is known for her speed. In 2018, Mueller-Korenek smashed the world record for the bicycle land speed record with a mind-boggling 183.9 miles per hour! The previous record was 167 miles per hour.
Over the Rally Weekend, as I met, went on group rides with, and socialized with the numerous attendees, I noticed the vast diversity of ElliptiGO riders. I witnessed both young and old, the elite athlete cross training to get in more training volume, to the beginner who is just trying to get some exercise in, adaptive athletes to injured professional runners who have discovered a way to get back their fitness. All these athletes were using the ElliptiGO as an integral tool in their own personal fitness journeys. I overheard a conversation between a beginner to ElliptiGO and Bryan Pate, co-founder and CEO of ElliptiGO, where the individual thanked Pate for creating the machine that got him off the couch and helped him lose weight. He said his life was changed for the positive thanks to ElliptiGO. The Rally Weekend was full of anecdotes like this.
Pate is excited to see how far his creation has come with runners since building the first prototype in 2005. “Running… that’s our culture and we are trying to keep here at ElliptiGO…the friendly, the happy, willing-to-suffer culture which is running.” What started as a dream to create a low-impact substitute to running in 2005 with a small but loyal niche following, has exploded to more than 35,000 ElliptiGOs on the road worldwide. It’s just a matter of time before Strava includes ElliptiGO as one of their sport activity options.
Are you interested in the ElliptiGO World Championships? Here’s how you can qualify.
If you are interested in a test ride, you can search for Mobile Reps and Enthusiasts in your area.
Elliptical Bike Division, Male
- Erik Wippler 1:14:04
- Jeff Caron 1:30:38
- Bryce Whiting 1:33:37
Elliptical Bike Division Female
- Kim Nedeau 1:26:17
- Katie James 1:33:07
- Teresa Fukumoto 1:49:40
Stand up Bike Division Male
- Brian Kildow 1:11:56 (new World Record time)
- Peter Maksimow 1:26:09
- Allen Kilpatrick 1:59:53
Stand up Bike Division, Female
- Denise Mueller 1:41:33
More images by Peter Maksimow can be found on Google Photos.