Drivers heading along Silverado Trail may see an unusual sight: two men appearing to walk at the speed of a bicycle along the shoulder.
Bob Redwanc, left, and Dr. Ted Jenal ride ElliptiGos — outdoor elliptical bicycles that require 30 to 35 percent more effort to propel than traditional bicycles, according to Redwanc.
Redwanc, a Yountville resident, plans to celebrate his 60th birthday in epic fashion by riding ElliptiGos with Jenal, his good friend from Arizona, from Napa Valley to Las Vegas, Nevada from May 7 through May 11.
The two will take the trip of 700 miles on their unique mode of transportation.
Imagine them stepping out into the cool night air at 3 a.m., clothed in spandex shorts and light wind jackets, standing tall on their unusual bicycles as they take their first steps toward their destination.
Redwanc said the choice to ride an ElliptiGo over a regular road bike was less about efficiency than necessity.
“After 18 years of running ultra marathons, marathons and a dozen orthopedic surgeries,” he said, “I am unable to ride the traditional bike without a experiencing a lot of pain and discomfort.”
The ElliptiGo — which is advertised as producing zero impact on the joints — is the best option available for Redwanc, and one he has grown to love. He is also a local ambassador for the company offering test rides to anyone who is interested.
Redwanc celebrated his 58th birthday with a solo ride from Sedona, Arizona to Las Vegas two springs ago. He did that ride again this past October with Jenal, and they experienced heavy winds and brutally cold temperatures while traveling through Oak Creek Canyon, just north of Sedona.
There were thoughts of abandoning that ride, but the two were in an area with no cover and had no choice but to carry on. They rode 185 miles that day, repairing several flat tires and solving other mechanical issues that kept them on the road for 21 hours straight.
The two plan on making this year’s trip in five days, averaging a long 140 miles per day. They expect to encounter cold, heat, winds, rain, elevation changes, and traffic rushing by along the route.
“No matter how much planning is done, there’s always a wrinkle,” Redwanc said. “We’re both nervous as hell about the unknowns that we may encounter, but we have been in tough situations before. We know that working together as a team, we’ll get through whatever comes up.”
They had to change their originally planned route, through Yosemite National Park, because they discovered that the roads through the mountains will likely still be covered in snow.
The new plan is to head south with night stops in Los Banos, Delano, Tehachapi and Barstow in California, and Primm, Nevada, before finally heading into Las Vegas.
“Why do we do this? It’s always interesting to test the limits of what the human body will let you do and I am always curious.” Redwanc said. “I never believed that I could run 100 miles, or do the 185 miles on Day 1 of our most recent trip. But with focus and willpower, the body allows you to do extraordinary things. I always need to have a goal, an event or something to focus on, to keep me in shape and healthy.
“We are kind of like crazy mad scientists. We’re always trying to perfect the formula, to master endurance in time and distance. Once the distance is accomplished, we are always searching for the next.”
After riding for between 60 and 80 hours, the two plan to meet up with family and friends in Las Vegas to share stories of their the journey, savor their accomplishment, celebrate Redwanc’s birthday, and eat a lot of food.
Anyone interested in taking an ElliptiGo for a test ride can visit www.elliptigo.com and click “Find a Dealer.” When they enter a Napa Valley zip code, they will see Redwanc’s contact information.