Challenged Athlete Running Across the Country on an ElliptiGO to Raise Money for the Challenged Athletes Foundation

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Andreas Johansson, afflicted with Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease, to trek nearly 6,000 miles across the U.S. to raise money for the Challenged Athletes Foundation.

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To be outside and active has helped me tremendously in dealing with my disease. On this tour, I want to help other people with physical disabilities make the same discovery.

ElliptiGO, Inc., creators of the world’s first elliptical bike, today announced that Andreas Johansson, a cyclist afflicted with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT) has embarked on a nearly 6,000 mile journey that will take him from New York City across the country to Seattle, Washington and then down to his finishing point in San Diego, California on an ElliptiGO. Johansson has undertaken several long bicycle tours before, riding across Europe and the U.S. multiple times, but this will be his first trek on an ElliptiGO and his biggest challenge to date. He will be self-supported for the entire trip and hopes to raise at least $10,000 for the Challenged Athletes Foundation® (CAF), a world leader in creating athletic opportunities for individuals with physical disabilities.    

Johansson was born with CMT, Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease, a hereditary disease that affect the nerves outside the brain and spine. “To be outside and active has helped me tremendously in dealing with my disease,” stated Johansson. “At home I’m focused on what’s limiting me instead of what I’m able to do. When I start a trip, it feels like the world is full of possibilities. It has changed my attitude and opened my eyes to all that I am capable of. On this tour, I want to help other people with physical disabilities make the same discovery.”

According to the Charcot-Marie-Tooth Association, CMT is the most commonly inherited peripheral neuropathy and affects an estimated 2.6 million people. There is no cure and CMT patients slowly lose normal use of their extremities as nerves degenerate and muscles weaken because the affected nerves no longer stimulate the muscles.

“I was young when I first started trying to hide my condition from friends and family. I stayed away from anything I wasn’t good at, but as the years went by, that approach didn’t leave me with many options. Faced with the uncertainty of what to do next with my life, I came up with the idea of escaping on a bicycle tour to give myself some time to think,” recalls Johansson.

After 35,000 miles of riding, gaining more confidence with each mile, Johansson came across the Challenged Athletes Foundation when he met some riders along his route through San Diego. “Through my previous cycling adventures I had finally found the means to overcome both my physical challenges and mental blocks, and when I heard about CAF, I felt the need to get involved in something bigger than myself. I am very excited to be involved with an organization and people who, just like me, have realized the great power of athletics.”

During his travel through San Diego is also when Johansson came across the ElliptiGO elliptical bicycle. Designed by runners, the ElliptiGO is the first outdoor, low-impact, fitness device specifically designed to emulate the running motion. Johansson gave up running and hiking years ago and when he first heard about the ElliptiGO, he thought he’d never be able to ride it. But having learned through his cycling tours that he could do more than he’d ever dreamed of, he was willing to try it out. “I see the ElliptiGO as the perfect middle ground between cycling and running,” remarked Johansson. “It’s similar to the traditional bicycle that I’m familiar with, but with its running motion it will become a bridge for me to doing more activities.” After he finishes this tour on the ElliptiGO, he plans to hike in the Swedish mountains and take on adventures that he would have thought impossible before.

“On this cross-country run on the ElliptiGO, I will muster up all the experience from my bicycle tours to deliver a final blow to my inner critic. I will be happy and grateful for everything I am still able to accomplish, even when the wheels stop spinning. I feel I am now ready to start the biggest challenge of my life,” stated Johansson.

When he finishes in San Diego, Johansson’s nearly 6,000 mile journey will be the longest ever completed on an ElliptiGO. “Johansson is an inspiration to both the elliptical biking community and to challenged athletes everywhere,” said Brent Teal, Co-Founder and Co-President of ElliptiGO. “His courage in facing his disease and his determination to succeed despite his physical challenges are a great lesson for us all.”

Johansson’s sponsors for his cross-country trek include ElliptiGO, Rudy Project, Mountain Hardware, and Burley. Companies that would like to get involved with Johansson on his journey can contact him through his website: http://www.cmtchallenge.com.

More information on Johansson’s trek can be found on his CMT Challenge website. Donations to the Challenged Athlete’s Foundation in Andreas Johansson’s name can be made on his fundraising page: http://RaceforaReason2012.kintera.org/CMTChallenge

For more information about ElliptiGO and its products, visit http://www.elliptigo.com. To learn more about the Challenged Athlete’s Foundation, visit http://www.challengedathletes.org. To learn more about Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease, visit http://www.cmtausa.org

About the Challenged Athletes Foundation
The Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) is a world leader in helping individuals with physical challenges get involved – and stay involved – in sports. CAF believes that participation in sport at any level increases self-esteem, encourages independence and enhances quality of life. Since 1994, more than $30 million has been raised and almost 5,000 funding re quests from challenged athletes in all 50 states and dozens of countries have been satisfied. Additionally, CAF’s outreach efforts reach another 60,000 individuals each year. Whether it’s a $2,500 grant for a handcycle, helping underwrite a carbon fiber running foot not covered by insurance, or arranging enthusiastic encouragement from a mentor who has triumphed over a similar challenge, CAF’s mission is clear: give those with the desire to live active, athletic lifestyles every opportunity to compete in the sports they love. To learn more, log on to http://www.challengedathletes.org or call 858-866-0959.

About ElliptiGO
ElliptiGO, Inc. is a San Diego-based company that created the world’s first elliptical bicycle. By modifying the elliptical trainer motion and combining it with the functionality of a bicycle, the ElliptiGO® line of bikes delivers a high-performance workout experience that closely mimics running outdoors while eliminating the impact. Elliptical biking is an effective way to build cardiovascular fitness without aggravating injuries, and a great alternative for people who can no longer run because of degenerative conditions. For everyone from the weekend warrior to the elite athlete, the ElliptiGO provides the most comfortable, fun and efficient way to get outside and be active. The full line of ElliptiGO® bikes is available for purchase at select retailers nationwide and through the company’s website: http://www.elliptigo.com.

Media Contacts:

Erika Nelson
erika(at)elliptigo(dot)com
310.709.2761

Jenna Novotny
jenna(at)challengedathletes(dot)org
858.210.3529

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