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Durban - You may have seen one of the odd-looking machines at the Durban beachfront in recent weeks. Are people using it running or cycling?
The new machine causing waves is an Elliptigo – an elliptical bicycle that, according to the official website, combines the best of running and cycling to deliver a low-impact, high-performance workout outdoors.
The machine acts like a bicycle, but has no seat, and instead of pedals, it uses an elliptical propulsion system, which looks as though the person is running.
The eight-gear system allows the user to start off on a low impact and increase the resistance as their stamina builds. The strides are adjustable, and the machine can be converted into a stationary position as well.
It was designed in 2005 by Americans Bryan Pate and Brent Teal, after Pate had suffered hip and knee injuries, and was forced to engage in low-impact exercise.
Tired of using the elliptical trainer and confined to the insides of a gym, he asked Teal to help design something that he could use outdoors.
When La Lucia resident Uday Raniga saw the machine on a website earlier this year, he immediately pictured himself using it at the beachfront.
And with the prospect of turning 62 next month, Raniga says he is the fittest he’s been in a decade, lost 6kg in three months, and will be entering the Engen Cycle Challenge Series next Sunday and the Amashova Durban Classic in October – all thanks to using the Elliptigo, which he will also ride in the two races.
“It all depends how old you want to be, but since I started using the Elliptigo I have never felt healthier, I am able to get a great workout at the beachfront in beautiful Durban weather, and not have the impact on joints that you have with running at my age,” said Raniga.
He imported two Elliptigos from England in May, and has been using them at the beachfront.
“But people stopped me all the time to ask me what the machine was, and then I realised there was a market for this piece of equipment,” said Raniga.
He is now officially importing the Elliptigo, and has sold about a dozen. They cost about R30 000 each. Two are for hire at the skate-hire shop next to Circus Circus at the beachfront.
Raniga said more and more people were becoming interested in the machine because of its benefits, which include: it was easier to learn to balance than a bicycle, was better for posture as opposed to a bicycle, was suitable for people who had injuries and could not participate in high-impact sports, a good cardio workout because of the different gear levels (it goes up to eight) and older people were able to use it.
While Raniga kept fit by playing squash, tennis, golf and mountain biking, he would enter the two major cycling races using the Elliptigo.
“I would really like to introduce the machine to the metro police and SAPS. All our overweight police would really have fun riding and at the same time reduce their tummies and get fit at the same time,” he quipped.
Michael Downes, a physical trainer and sports coach, is a fan of the Elliptigo.
“I’m a fitness fanatic, but I had a few injuries and can only do low-impact activities. The Elliptigo allows me to do this, but still get a great workout,” he said.
For more information visit, www.elliptigo.com or send Raniga an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Independent on Saturday