RIDGEFIELD, Conn. -- When Megan Searfoss and Deb Povinelli -- both avid runners and owners of Ridgefield Running Company -- were visiting a running trade show in Texas, they came upon a machine that peaked their curiosity -- the elliptiGO.
The elliptiGO is an elliptical bicycle that enables the user to get all the benefits of running without the impact of running on the body.
The ElliptiGO bicycle is not a bicycle at all. "Although you ride it like a bike, that's about as close as it gets to one since you are standing upright the whole time you're on it," Searfoss said.
It can either be ridden indoors on a stationary trainer or outdoors on the roads.
When the two women first saw the elliptiGO, "We were both injured at the time and not able to run. I had a hamstring injury and Deb had a turned ankle," said Searfoss, a Ridgefield resident.
When Searfoss and Povinelli tried the elliptiGO at the trade show, they knew they had found a new concept in exercise.
"We ordered it for the store and had it there for a month or so without advertising it because Deb and I wanted to become believers. We loved it," Searfoss said. There are only about 20,000 elliptiGOs in use in the United States.
According to Searfoss, "with the elliptiGO, you can get your heart rate into the same zone as you are when you're running. To compare, when you ride a regular bike, you need to ride a lot longer to reap the same benefits."
In addition, it burns 30 percent more calories and gives 30 percent more of a cardio benefit than a road bike, according to Searfoss.
Other advantages to the elliptiGO is that it provides a great core workout. "The stand-up position engages your core and upper body in addition to your legs," said Povinelli, who is a certified physical therapist.
It's also easy on the back. "Unlike a bicycle, the rider isn't bent over," Searfoss said. The standing riding position reduces stress on the neck and back while eliminating seat pain.
With the elliptiGO, the steering height and pedaling motion are adjustable so riders of all heights can ride it comfortably.
In addition, those who use it outdoors get the advantage of increased visibility since they are standing upright.
The elliptiGO was developed in California in 2010 by a former Marine and triathlete who was injured and wanted to find a way he could enjoy a low impact running type of experience outdoors. He found the solution: the elliptiGO uses a running-like elliptical motion to propel a high-performance outdoor bicycle.
Ridgefield resident and triathlete Mike Rodgers is impressed with the elliptiGO "The stride length is key. It more closely resembles one's natural stride. The eight gears allow for a nice steady rhythm and cadence for a nice gentle movement.
"By using it as a cross trainer it helps runners -- all athletes really -- stay more in balance with a stronger back quad and better developed hamstrings," he said.
Triathlete Kathy McGroddy-Goetz, also of Ridgefield, enjoyed her first riding experience. "It was a great way to get in a workout that mimicked running more than anything else I've tried but without the impact.
"The best part is you can use it outside or even inside in a bike trainer to get through the winter," MdGroddy-Goetz added.
The elliptiGO is available for purchase or rental at the Ridgefield Running Company. For a complimentary trial, call 203-438-7778 to set up an appointment.
The Ridgefield Running Company is at 88 Danbury Road. Other elliptiGO dealers are in Poughkeepsie and Piermont, N.Y., and Ramsey, N.J. For more information or to find an elliptiGO dealer, click here .