August 24, 2011

Elliptigo.

Out on the Capital City Trail yesterday, we saw a guy riding one of these Elliptigo things. It was like an elliptical machine had busted out of a health club. I said "cool" when he passed me, but I don't know. Maybe it's dorky. It reminded me of something I'd seen before, something more childish that I'd seen on campus years ago, and I finally realized it was this.

But really, what is the point of eliminating the seat of a bike? Why deprive us of the option of sitting? You can always get up off the seat of a normal bike and pedal in a standing position... unless you get a recumbent trike.

(I see a lot of those "recliner bikes" — as I call them — around Madison. I do not get the charm. It looks dangerous, down there, leading with your feet, and your head doesn't seem properly supported.)

53 comments:

Rose said...

Pricey!

Michael said...

The "recliner" bikes you refer to are called "recumbent" bicycles. They are driven almost exclusively by people with beards.

Avoid the "elliptigo" as it is dorkier than the recumbent. By a little.

Kylos said...

Never used a recumbent, but supposedly they are more comfortable and more aerodynamic than a regular bike. But they donseem much more dangerous.

Kylos said...

Do seem

edutcher said...

Scooters were all the rage a few years ago, and the bike kind of looks like that. I suppose it's going to make you use your upper leg and buttock muscles more.

Neither of you look like your tush needs that kind of workout.

PS We have a couple of morons around here using the recliner bikes on the streets. Looks like a great way to commit suicide.

EDH said...

I see a lot of those "recliner bikes" — as I call them — around Madison. I do not get the charm. It looks dangerous, down there, leading with your feet, and your head doesn't seem properly supported.

Introducing: the Gynocycle.

hawkeyedjb said...

Recumbent (recliner) bikes are good for the second day of a bike outing, after you've ridden too far on Day 1 and your butt wasn't bike-ready.

As I learned last year on the Elroy-Sparta trail.

Scott M said...

a recumbent trike

Loved riding one the couple times I have, but they a) are way, way too expensive and b) scream associate professor.

George said...

awfully expensive for something that doesn't come with a seat. I think I'll stay with my Lightspeed

Tyrone Slothrop said...

Eighteen hundred dollars worth of dumbass.

El Presidente said...

For full on NERD try a RowBike:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_fzfo7yyTA

Mike and Sue said...

Anne! You got passed by an Eliptigo?! Spin it baby.

Ann Althouse said...

"Anne! You got passed by an Eliptigo?! Spin it baby."

Eh. I'm pretty pathetic. But I was 20 miles into a ride and I'm more susceptible to the heat and humidity than most people. Or... that is.... I react by slowing down more than most people. If people are keeling over from heat stroke, I will be the last to go.

MikeinAppalachia said...

Recumbents are more efficient, much better going up hills, and are a good alternative for long road trips if you have any back problems. Have not noticed any "beard preference", but they do seem to be more numerous with older males and women riders. As for being more dangerous, stay in the middle of the group.

Kit said...

Looks like a good workout, you're saving you're knees...and you're not stuck at the gym.

As for recumbents, they always look like they'd be hard to ride uphill.

edutcher said...

Ann Althouse said...

"Anne! You got passed by an Eliptigo?! Spin it baby."

Eh. I'm pretty pathetic. But I was 20 miles into a ride and I'm more susceptible to the heat and humidity than most people. Or... that is.... I react by slowing down more than most people. If people are keeling over from heat stroke, I will be the last to go.


I have a similar problem with hot weather and always assumed it was my Irish-English ancestry. Then The Blonde looked at my blood work after I'd keeled over one time.

Have you ever been tested for Cushing's?

Or does the weather only make you uncomfortable?

Joe said...

I assume the point with this device is actual exercise, not posturing.

El Presidente said...

It is my experience that any $1800 piece of exercise equipment is all about the posturing.

Phil 3:14 said...

Looks like a very expensive adult alternative to a razor.

What next, fashion heelys?

denmotherblog said...

Ann: "What is the point of eliminating the seat of a bike?"

*** TMI ALERT *** TMI ALERT ***

When I was a teenager and young adult, I was prone to vaginal yeast infections. It isn't a condition that lends itself to comfort on a bicycle seat. I can think of others, but I'll leave those to the imagination.

Carol_Herman said...

It's not a scooter. And, it's not a bike. Do you even need to wear a helmet? And, elbow pads?

I wonder if you can jump up and down on this thing, on the sidewalk, and not get a ticket?

How would the cop even begin to describe this vehicle. You're not pedaling it. It's like you're skipping rope.

Then the price tag made be gasp. Not something I'd buy. Not even at half that price!

Scott M said...

I didn't get past "yeast"...

MadisonMan said...

I have a co-worker (A Republican!) who rides a recumbent. It's not as low-profile as some, and he thinks it's very comfortable to ride. But I like to be able to see over and around things when I bike. A recumbent doesn't allow that.

He rides a "regular" bike when not commuting, however.

The Elliptigo looks like something that shows up at a Garage Sale (or Craigs List) after it's used for a month.

Hoosier Daddy said...

"... I see a lot of those "recliner bikes" — as I call them — around Madison. I do not get the charm. It looks dangerous, down there, leading with your feet, and your head doesn't seem properly supported.)..."

Those are recumbant bikes and tend to be used by older cyclists due to the lack of stress on the lower back.

I'll probably get one when I'm 90.

Hoosier Daddy said...

"... I didn't get past "yeast"..."

You know, when you consider all the icky stuff females are plagued with in the choo choo department I'm now understanding why God passed men over and gave multiple orgasms to women.

virgil xenophon said...

Recumbents are dangerous in that they're out of the sight-lines of most motorists--both optically and "mentally" (i.e., in terms of both visual scan and thought recognition factors.) But this is true of bicyclists in general in the US. In Europe, where urban bicyclists are so much more numerous, car drivers are accustomed to heavy bicycle traffic on a daily basis and thus mentally attuned to such traffic. In the US it's as if cyclists have a cloaking-device of invisibility around them insofar as they are almost totally absent from the avg drivers' mental radar-screen. Low-to-the-ground recumbent cyclists only multiply the risks.

Chris said...

In Madison (and elsewhere), one of the common biking trends I've noticed is that the older you are, the more unnecessary crap you feel the need to have. I'm 24 and have a water bottle holder and a tiny saddlebag--a lot of the geezers I see have tons of useless crap that never gets utilized.

The same can be said for the bizarre bikes showing up. The worst part about Madison, though, is that bikers here are assholes. I bike 150 miles/week or so, and am appalled by how entitled most of the bikers feel they are--ignoring traffic lights, barreling into intersections...it's awful.

A. Shmendrik said...

Prof. Althouse:

A-B-C - Always Be Closing!

You need to do more than link to these things, you have to close the sale. This money making blog scheme of yours is going nowhere unless you make the full sales effort!

Kurt said...

I like that idea! It might be fun to get one of those. I see El Presidente already mentioned the Rowbike. I like that idea, too, but it's too hilly where I live for a rowbike to be practical. I'd be racing out of control in no time on a rowbike.

I have seen one or two of these navigating some of the hills around here. Supposedly they provide great conditioning for skiing.

Jeff with one 'f' said...

BikeSnobNY refers to recumbent riders as "Contraption Captains".

They're usually aging hippie/professor types, 99% male, who have zero concept of style.

Scott M said...

You know, when you consider all the icky stuff females are plagued with in the choo choo department I'm now understanding why God passed men over and gave multiple orgasms to women.

I came to that conclusion after learning about the mucus plug.

MadisonMan said...

am appalled by how entitled most of the bikers feel they are--ignoring traffic lights, barreling into intersections...it's awful.

This.

However, this behavior is not limited to bicyclists. I happened to be at that little store at the corner of Regent and Highland the other day, and was watching the intersection. The number of cars that blew through the Stop Sign without even slowing down was amazing.

hoyden said...

I've been riding recumbent bikes since 2000. I wouldn't trade any recumbent for an upright, or wedgie bike.

I ride at least 30 miles every day and at the end of the ride my legs are tired but the rest of me is fine. My longest ride was 92 miles. On a wedgie I'm limited by the pain in my butt to about 25 miles and 2 hours.

My worst bike accident was on a wedgie when I went ass over tits after my handlebar grazed a fence. Landed on my back shoulder, breaking the shoulder in 4 places. I was lucky it wasn't worse since I was not wearing a helmet.

Recumbent bikes are not suitable for off-road and they do not start off as fast since you can't stand on the pedals for extra torque.

In traffic I sit about the same height as someone in a car and have not noticed any issues with being seen. The tadpole trikes and some low riders might have reduced visibility.

I understand some folks think recumbents are nerdy. Be that as it may.

Recumbents are more expensive; they are typically made by smaller manufacturers and aren't mass produced. I spent about $1k for my first bike and I've driven it about 15,000 miles. I spent $2k for my second recumbent and have driven it about 5,000 miles.

Great bang for the buck.

Peter said...

An Elliptigo is to a bicycle as a sailboard (windsurfer0 is to a Sunfish.

A Sunfish is more practical, but perhaps a sailboard is more fun?

I'd assume that if you actually want to get somewhere you'd not do so on an Elliptigo.

rhhardin said...

I was thinking of getting a trike for use on snow-rutted days.

Even studded tires have trouble with that, saying upright.

DADvocate said...

Never seen an Elliptigo before. Saw one of those Razor things recently. Recumbent bikes have more comfortable seats and less wind resistence, plus you can pedal harder, which makes them significantly faster than standard bikes. (At 20 mph on a standard bike, 80% of your energy is used cutting through the air.)

I've wondered about the lack of head support. Plus, the lower profile makes you less visible to cars.

Christy said...

What is the point of eliminating the seat...? Didn't you do an entire post about how we need to sit less?

Tried the recumbent bike at the gym a couple of weeks for reasons you don't want to hear about. I didn't like it, but that's just me.

ndspinelli said...

There are a couple guys in San Diego near where we stay who have those ellipto machines..you can hear them from a distance so they don't need to yell, "On your left."

Kurt said...

rhhardin: there are many different kinds of trikes (and recumbent trikes) that are good for off-road use or inclement road conditions. One manufacturer is Lightfoot Cycles. Another is Terra Trike. There are many other manufacturers, as well. I've been curious about those for many years, since I got a mountain bike and took a spill and got quite scraped up when trying out one of the trails in the foothills behind my house. The trike option sounds appealing as it is much more stable, even though it might not look as cool.

MadisonMan said...

@Kurt, $3K for bike?

No thanks!

Michael said...

hoyden: Please confirm that you wear a beard.

Michael said...

DADvocate: "Recumbent bikes have more comfortable seats and less wind resistence, plus you can pedal harder, which makes them significantly faster than standard bikes."

I am a recreational road biker, 66 years old and do about 50 miles a week. In short, a very much entry level sort of biker. I have never, ever, been passed by a recumbent and I daresay I do not believe I ever will be. Also, I would advise a conversation with an Orthopedic man before mounting a recumbent. They are not what they are cracked up to be knee-wise, or at least so I am told by the surgeons.

Michael said...

Madison Man: Browse a bicycle magazine the next time you are in a bookstore. $1500 buys an entry level road bike. You will be as shocked as I was when you see the prices that are routinely 5 figures. I ride a road bike that is so old its shifters are on the downtube. Aluminum. Very bumpy ride. Will go much faster than I can make it go.

Kurt said...

MadisonMan: Yeah, I hear you there (about the high cost). That's why I pretty much just look at the websites and wonder if I'd get out on the trails more if I had something more stable than my mountain bike (which I mostly just ride on wide and relatively flat trails lately--no steep single-track for me). I actually first started looking at those websites 3 years ago when gas prices started soaring and I wondered if there might be any manual-powered options for commuting other than just a bike (fortunately I have a short commute, but it is hilly). I discovered that there are all sorts of interesting hpv's (human-powered vehicles) out there, but the fancier they get, the more the prices rise. For instance, consider the German-made go-one, which is priced starting at $10,000 and above. Compared to that $3,000 begins to seem like a bargain (even though I still can't imagine spending that much)!

hoyden said...

Michael, 58 yr old female; no beard yet.

Over the summer my average speed over 30 miles has steadily increased from 13 mph to 15 mph, so I get to pass about 20% of the uprights, and I get passed by most of the spandex crowd.

I like my head space on a recumbent. I don't have any trouble from lack of head support. Some folks have asked me if I have trouble staying awake; the recumbent really sits like a lazy boy chair on wheels.

hoyden said...

That's another recumbent advantage; not having to wear any special clothing.

I do use clipless pedals now. That is my only concession to bike fashion. I took a few spills learning how to use them.

One issue you must guard against with a recumbent is letting your feet touch the ground while you are moving forward; the quickest way to break a leg. The clipless pedals hold your feet in place nicely.

Having ridden a recumbent for 11 years I haven't had any leg or appendage trouble. Recumbent pedaling is low/no impact. I have observed a marked decrease in flab and more muscle.

Kylos said...

Michael, from what I've read, recumbents hold the speed records for bikes. But you're right: recumbents in real life never seem to be moving that fast. Perhaps there is some psychological difference in recumbent riders that causes them to take it easy.

Mary said...

"I see a lot of those "recliner bikes" — as I call them — around Madison. I do not get the charm. It looks dangerous, down there, leading with your feet, and your head doesn't seem properly supported."

Nevermind the fact that in heavy traffic, when this bike is on the roads, you can't see them and they can't keep up with the speed of traffic.

I like bikers, but not when they put my own life in danger. (not to mention their own).

Mary said...

"The number of cars that blew through the Stop Sign without even slowing down was amazing."

Your town has an entitlement mentality, and people tend to choose the rules they want to follow or not.
Hth.

hoyden said...

I chose a recumbent primarily for comfort and endurance. I didn't want to hate my bike after riding it for 2 hours. Not having to wear special clothing and getting a great view instead of being bent over facing your pedals all the time was icing on the cake.

I finished my second 30 mile ride today. It's nice not having my butt, back, shoulders, arms and wrists recovering from pain.

Robert Burnham said...

This experienced cyclist-commuter says that recumbents are an acquired taste.

The seat is definitely comfortable. But the bike handles so differently from a regular bike that you really need to pay close attention when riding, especially making a sharp turn. (This, obviously, will lessen with experience on the recumbent.)

What I foundv I missed most was the ability to stand on the pedals to pour on a lot of power. With a recumbent, you simply gear way, way down, and while you pedal faster (and more easily), you're not going ahead very quickly. If you need to get out of a jam in a hurry, you're better off on a regular bike.

Finally, I think it would be all but impossible to start a recumbent from a dead stop if you are facing uphill. Picture yourself spinning the pedals madly in bottom gear while the bike creeps uphill and you fight to maintain balance because you're going v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y.

I bought one a decade ago and rode it for only a few months before retiring it to the basement bike museum.

GiftedReading said...

The Elliptigo is actually a great concept at a horribly overinflated price. It is sad, many inventors have exceptional ideas far beyond my imagination--but greed--prohibits true success. So, the Elliptigo is banished as someone posted: into a basement.

I do not see $2400 worth of componens in the Elliptigo. At this price point, you could purchase a nicely equipped electric bicycl or about a decade's worth of gym membership.
I am thinking of the Trikke but again, I am hardpressed to find $800 worth of components in the Trikke. I don't get it--if I were this creative--I would sell them for $200 on Ebay.
Nevertheless, several reviewers have complained about the fragility of the Trikke (bolts coming off, handle bars not stable).

So..in essence, I am back to where I began--ACL repair on both knees, a Trek Alpha 2.1, a sore arse and again painful knees.

A local electric bike shop is trying to get me to swing for $1800 to get the Bionix electric kit added to my road bike--decisions, decisions.

Matt Schiering said...

What an arrogant, ignorant group here. I was a century rider for years until a nerve injury meant I could never ride a bike again. After years of not cycling and the depression that resulted, I found Elliptigo and it has changed my life. You think I give a damn what it looked like or what other people thought it said about me? I'd have paid twice the price the entrepreneurs who invented it were asking. Here's a notion: try something before you judge it and those who use it.