Here's a hot-off-the-iPhone photo of my Christmas present to myself, which I opened early.
A StreetStrider, which is an outdoor elliptical bike. It's on a hitch rack that is made for the unusual machine -- two wheels in front, one in back.
I decided to get a StreetStrider to supplement my other non-traditional outdoor exercise, senior citizen land paddling on a longboard/skateboard. (You can peruse my land paddling blog posts here; scroll down for earlier ones.)
Longboard land paddling is a lot of fun. Most of the time. Not so much, though, when Oregon storms leave the Minto Brown Island Park trails leaf and twig strewn, wet, and slippery.
It's easy to ride over a finger-sized twig on a bicycle tire. A skateboard wheel sometimes will stop suddenly, leaving the rider, such as 65 year old me, continuing onward. Rather rare event, fortunately, but it has happened to me.
I've been exercising inside at the Courthouse Athletic Club when conditions are too crappy for me to do my land paddling thing.
But now that I've gotten used to cruising for five miles or so outdoors at beautiful Minto Brown Park, it feels dismal to stand on a stationary elliptical machine, listening to a podcast or watching TV.
Too tame. No fun. Unnatural.
Having put in 25 minutes and a couple of miles on the StreetStrider on Minto Brown trails today, I'm happy with my purchase. My initial impression is simply put...
It kicked my butt. Which is a positive review.
I'm in very good shape for someone my age. I got the hang of turning the StreetStrider almost right away. It's a lot like turning on a skateboard or longboard: weight the side you want to turn toward. Here's how it's done:
But, man, I was using different muscles on the StreetStrider, and feeling it.
After 2.6 miles I was pretty much cooked. In a good way. Breathing hard, but not exhausted. I could have gone further, but didn't want to push myself too much on my first ride.
I'm impressed with the quality of the StreetStrider. I paid $99 to have it assembled by a local bike shop, Santiam Bicycle. I'm glad I did.
The Santiam Bicycle guys told me the StreetStrider is as mechanically sophisticated as any regular bike they sell. It has drum brakes in front, which I've never had on a bicycle. And a smooth 8 speed shifter on the right handlebar.
It feels solid. I was comfortable riding it, even with decidedly less-than-perfect technique, after a few turns around one of the Minto Brown parking areas. (Previously I'd practiced some in our carport.)
Leaning to turn will feel weird to some people. But not to skateboarders, skiers, surfers, and such.
I didn't experience any steep downhills today. From this video, it looks like carving down a hill on a StreetStrider will be a lot of fun.
l'm impressed with the StreetStrider staff also. They handled the "White Glove" local assembly arrangements perfectly. When questions arose, I got a phone call and we dealt with them.
The bike arrived in just a few days from Fresno, even though it was in the midst of the holiday shopping season. The 2-inch hitch rack came directly to me, while the StreetStrider was delivered to Santiam Bicycle. That allowed me to assemble the rack before picking up the StreetStrider.
I won't be going up any steep hills. But I can't do that on a longboard either. The StreetStrider really isn't designed for long distance travel, like a bicycle is. It's a fun exercise machine, is the way I look upon it.
People don't go to a gym to have an easy time. You go there to sweat, exert yourself, build muscles and stamina.
I already can tell that a 30-60 minute StreetStrider workout is way better exercise than putting in the same amount of time on a regular bicycle or stationary elliptical machine. After all, for quite a few years I've been doing 30 minute workouts on an indoor elliptical trainer.
Like I said above, on my first ride the StreetStrider pretty much wasted me in 25 minutes.
Outdoors just is way different than indoors. I can slack off indoors; getting up a hill today without stopping outdoors pushed my exercise buttons much differently than an athletic club elliptical machine does.
StreetStrider describes its view of the bike's health benefits here.
Lastly (until my next StreetStrider post), here's a video from an 80, or 79, year old guy that helped me decide to get a StreetStrider. I liked his attitude. Direct and heartfelt.
OK, forgot about another video I wanted to share. So here's my lastly, lastly...
This video made by StreetStrider only has a few views, but it is the best instructional video I've come across. Strangely, it only lasts for three minutes or so, though it is shown as 8:15 long. This shows how to ride the bike.