One of the common staples of a modern day workout is the elliptical trainer.
It's easier on many of your joints than a treadmill but gives you a fuller body workout than a stationary bike. But unlike running and biking, you can't take elliptical training outdoors if you want to exercise in good weather.
Until now, that is.
Thanks to entrepreneurs Brent Teal and Bryan Pate, your elliptical trainer is now mobile. The two Solana Beach, California friends invented what they call the ElliptiGo, which is basically a modified bicycle that uses an elliptical training motion to power it. When the rider stands on the carbon-fiber elliptical pedals and grips the handlebars, he or she can utilize eight speeds to achieve a velocity of 25 miles per hour or more.
But the ElliptiGo is more than just an elliptical trainer with wheels. The high-quality product boasts a smooth "hub-and-crank" stride mechanism, clean curves and lines, and a collapsible steering column to facilitate storage. Each ElliptiGo retails for $2,199, and Teal and Pate are hoping to sell 11,000 units in 2011.
Pate came up with the ElliptiGo concept in 2005 when his bad knees forced him to give up running. He tried traditional elliptical trainers as well as road cycling, but neither activity suited him. So he contacted Teal – who, like Pate, is an Ironman triathlete – and the two leveraged Teal's expertise as a mechanical engineer to build a prototype. They used wooden boards, chromoly steel, vintage parts from a triathlon bicycle, and rollerblade wheels that they modified.
The finished product was such a hit that Pate and Teal were able to secure millions of dollars in investor funding and construct three more prototypes. In January of 2010, the two men opened their headquarters and sold about 250 bikes in their first six months of operation. The ElliptiGo has received some positive publicity from the likes of 3-time Olympic pentathlete Michael Gostigian, ultramarathoner Dean Karnazas, and Nike Project runner Adam Goucher.
Pate and Teal are continuing their PR momentum by entering an ElliptiGo in challenging riding events in conjunction with the company's "Epic Ride" campaign. The invention has completed the "Death Ride" of 129 miles in the California Sierras and will try to conquer the "Cycle to the Sun" high-altitude climb of about 10,000 feet in Maui. Karnazas has also used the ElliptiGo to help train for the Los Angeles Marathon by riding one from San Francisco to L.A.
In the future, Pate and Teal hope to design ElliptiGo models which can be sold at both lower and higher price points. If the ElliptiGo continues to increase in popularity, they will attempt to pioneer an entire new fitness industry.
"Necessity is the mother of invention" is a cliché for a reason. Because Pate had health problems and could no longer run, he decided to create an exercise device to meet his needs. Not only did he accomplish his goal, he also gave birth to an entire new way to exercise – and was able to make money in the process. That's the power of the entrepreneurial spirit.