British adventurer Glen Burmeister has set off on a journey he hopes will make him a Guinness Book of Records title holder… again.
Earlier this month, Burmeister boarded his elliptical bike in Australia’s most northern city Darwin with a plan to travel along the Stuart Highway to the city of Adelaide on the country’s southern coast.
Wondering what an elliptical bike is? Well, think about the elliptical cross trainer you would find at your local gym, but instead of being stationery, Burmeister’s elliptical is mobile.
Elliptical bikes are primarily driven using your legs, and most are combination designs having handle-levers attached to each pedal-link to enable a burden on the arms to provide a secondary source of driving power. The machine stimulates stair climbing but with lower impact on the user’s joints.
The user grips the handles below shoulder height and pushes and pulls them while shuffling the feet back and forth within elliptically-shaped paths. Thus the oscillating handle motions are dependently coordinated with the constrained pedal motions.
This means that Bermeister will be standing all the way south and climbing stairs’ as he goes!
But Burmeister’s is less worried about climbing stairs for more than 3,000 kilometres than he is about other road users. He told the ABC that his biggest concern is the road trains – the long multi-trailer trucks hauling freight between the two cities.
“I’ll wait and see,” he said of his concern over the road trains.
“Drivers notoriously don’t like cyclists in the UK. But I’ve found on this, people are a lot more courteous with me. Even the truckers.
“I’ve had them slow down. One even stopped and gave me water. It’s a bit unusual for them.”
But Burmeister is no rooky. The Brit holds several elliptical bike records. He has crossed the United States from north to south then immediately west to east. He has also used this unconventional mode of transport to cross Europe from Norway to Spain and has visited eleven European countries in seven days.
“Attempting one type of record after the next gets a bit monotonous. This has kept it fresh and I can’t wait, he said of his choice of transport ahead of his departure from Darwin.
He says the ElliptiGo takes some getting used to.
“My feet felt numb at first,” he said.
“Riding mile after mile really hurts your feet. The elliptical cycle takes a bit more getting used to.
“If you’re a strong cyclist you can take to it pretty easily.
“I think if you’ve got two quality athletes the bike would probably win. I overtake most cyclists on the road.”
As with any endurance sport, athletes face the problem of consuming enough calories during their adventure. Ranulph Fiennes and Mike Stroud kept up their energy levels when they walked across Antarctica in 1993 by fuelling up on butter. But Burmeister says he eats whatever he can find at a roadhouse.
“I just eat what I can get, basically… even if it’s chips and pies at the roadhouse.
“It’s hard to get all the calories you need. You can be burning 7,000-8,000 calories a day.
“I carry a bottle of oil and just pour that over. You make up a bowl of porridge and drown it in olive oil.”
IMAGE: Glen Burmeister (via Facebook)