I am always looking for new and interesting ways to stay fit and keep my motivation up. Since my right total hip replacement in February 2007 at the age of 36 my health and fitness have improved immeasurably. I went from needing crutches if I was going to be on my feet for any extended length of time to walking 100 miles a month in 2012, you can read my story on previous posts.
The problem with walking is it can get a bit boring! Even in the lovely local forest here by where I live, and in order to keep moving and keep my motivation up I’m always keen to look for new things to do. I did do 2 triathlons in 2013, but running is not great for a person with a hip replacement, it could shorten the lifespan of my titanium and ceramic hip, and I definitely don’t want to do that.
I do also love riding my bike, but I find the seating position leaning towards the handle bars can cause problems with my neck, and my hands and wrists ache if I’m on my bike for any longer than half an hour.
So when I was on a hip replacement support forum on facebook and saw an elliptical bike mentioned I was intrigued to find out if this might be a suitable alternative to a traditional bicycle, as it was mentioned as something great for people with joint replacements or who couldn’t run due to injury, as there is no impact, and you are in a more upright position which would be better for my neck.
So I looked up elliptical bikes and found the ElliptiGO website, and arranged a test drive locally here in Milton Keynes. When you first see the bike and go on it, especially in a limited space where you need to keep cornering, it certainly is an odd experience, and I wasn’t sure I was going to take to it, so we thought long and hard before making our mind up.
Choosing my model
After a 2nd test drive in April to compare the new ElliptiGO ARC with the ElliptiGO 8C, we decided that my knees and hips would be most comfortable with the 8C, we finally placed our order, and I took delivery on Friday 6th May. It all looked rather large and a little bit scary – you can tell by the look on my face!
I am writing this blog 2 weeks on, and after initially being worried about feeling slight discomfort in my shoulder whilst on the bike, I think that may have been me clinging onto the handlebars for dear life, and now I am getting more confident my grip is relaxing and I’m feeling less tension through my arms.
I went on a few short half hour rides to start with, coasting for a breather on the downhills and using the 8 gears to great effect on the uphill stretches. This weekend I took a longer trip out, choosing a route with several options to turn for home if I felt the need, but I was very pleased to manager to stay out for over an hour and cover over 12 miles (20km) in total with no lingering aches and pains in my arthritic joints. As a comparison on my mountain bike I can’t go out any longer than an hour without getting problems in my wrists and hands.
The point of getting the bike is so I can get out and about in our beautiful Northamptonshire and Buckinghamshire countryside without aggravating my joints, and early indications are that the Elliptigo 8C is doing just that. I’m also having fun linking with other riders through Strava and I’m quite chuffed to say I seem to be keeping up with the other riders quite well. I was even faster on my Elliptigo on an uphill stretch today that I used to be on my traditional bike.
Here is a short video of my first ride. Thanks to Idai Makaya for the test drives and support in choosing my new toy!