SF invention takes the elliptical machine outdoors

January 26, 2013 12:22:34 PM PST
If you want to burn a lot of calories, you're typically faced with a choice -- go running or biking outside or go spend an hour at the gym. But a high-tech alternative, invented right here in the Bay Area, combines the best of both.

ElliptiGO is just like those elliptical machines at the gym except it actually goes places.

"I thought it was so obvious," ElliptiGO co-founder Bryan Pate said. "I was on an elliptical trainer and I thought it would be so easy to make this thing so you could ride it on the street."

Pate was dead wrong about that. It took him five years to finish designing the $1,800 contraption that now has a cult following among pro athletes, especially distance runners.

"Running is really hard on the body; if you do it in a moderate amount, it's wonderful for the body, but what professional athlete does anything in a moderate amount," professional track and field athlete Lauren Fleshman said.

Fleshman, a two-time U.S. track and field champion, says she had her best season ever when she started alternating ElliptiGO with her running workouts to cover more miles with less pounding.

"It eliminates that impact, which is really the limiting factor for the volume of miles you can run in a week," Pate said.

Despite how smooth it is, it is actually a pretty intense workout. In fact, ElliptiGO sponsored a study at the UC San Diego that shows it burns 33 percent more calories than riding a bike.

Professional athletes aside, Pate says most ElliptiGO customers are just like him: fitness junkies who need a lower-impact alternative to running.

Oprah Winfrey's rumored to have one and so is Google co-founder Sergey Brin. For the rest of us, you can rent one at the Sports Basement.


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