ElliptiGO Riders Conquer Britain’s Toughest Cycling Event

August 13, 2013

ElliptiGO Inc, creator of the world’s first elliptical bicycle, today announced that Alan McDonogh (55) and Idai Makaya (39) successfully completed the 2013 London Edinburgh London (LEL) ride. This epic cycling randonnée is the longest such event in the world and is held every four years. LEL draws approximately 1,000 cyclists from more than 30 countries. The 2013 LEL course was 887 miles (1,418 kilometres) long and had an official cut-off time of 116 hours and 40 minutes. Finishing the event within the cut-off time is considered a major cycling achievement, with success often requiring extensive preparation and tremendous sleep deprivation during the event itself. Prior to the 2013 LEL, no one had attempted an event of this magnitude on an elliptical cycle anywhere in the world.

McDonogh and Makaya had set out with a third ElliptiGO rider, Steve Cook (57), and the rest of the riders from Loughton, London – on the morning of Sunday, July 28th 2013. They rode 208 miles on their first day. After just a 3 hour break for a quick nap and food, they began their second day of riding, hoping to complete another 200 miles before resting. Cook unfortunately withdrew from the event on the second day, after putting up a brave performance, leaving McDonogh and Makaya to continue with the challenge.

LEL Team Photo during Ride

The pair had reached Edinburgh and the turnaround point behind their planned schedule, but still on pace to finish within the official time limit. At that point McDonogh felt like he could sustain a faster pace, so the two split up to increase the chances that at least one of them would be able to successfully complete the event. That evening disaster struck Makaya. While taking a brief rest at Brampton control station, before the Yad Moss Hills, the volunteers forgot to wake Makaya up at the requested time. This resulted in him spending 4 additional hours at the stop, putting him well behind the pace needed to complete the ride within the official time-limit.

McDonogh continued a strong pace throughout the return trip and as he bore down on London it was clear that he would finish well within the time limit to become the first elliptical cyclist to complete the event. However, with 75 miles to go, Makaya was still 38 minutes behind pace – even though he had ridden for 35 hours continuously, in an effort to make up for the lost time. Although many fans had assumed that was too much time to overcome at that point in the journey, Makaya pressed on. With a Herculean effort, Makaya managed to continuously ride throughout the final 43 hours of the event and make up the lost time. He crossed the finish line in 116 hours, 24 minutes and 42 seconds – just 15 minutes and 18 seconds under the cut-off time, and joined McDonogh as a proud finisher of LEL.

After being a part of what was perhaps the most audacious endeavour ever undertaken on the ElliptiGO, Makaya had stated: “The encouragement we got from friends around the world was hugely important in getting us through this, I can’t thank them enough for what they’ve done to keep us GOing and I know for certain I couldn’t have taken this event on without the learning and sharing I did with Alan, Steve Cook and Warren Simmons over the last year. I definitely couldn’t have finished within the Alan Steve and Idaitime limits yesterday without the help of Stuart Blofeld who saw I was in trouble and came to help. And I wouldn’t have been able to get through this without the inspiration of my wife, children and all of my friends who supported me before and during this bike ride.”

“We’ve always encouraged our ElliptiGO community to take on challenges and see what they can accomplish,” said Bryan Pate, Co-Founder and Co-President of ElliptiGO. “People have ridden in 24 hour events, they’ve ridden across the U.S. and the length of Britain, but the LEL event is simply on another level. The terrain is challenging for sure, but it’s the lack of sleep and the self-sufficiency required to complete the event under a tight schedule that makes for such an intense experience for the riders. It was an incredibly tough five days for them, and we couldn’t be more proud of Alan and Idai for this accomplishment. What they did truly lies beyond what many of us envisioned would be the limits of elliptical cycling.”

To see Idai Makaya’s more detailed account of his LEL ride click on this link.

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