In the world of odd-looking exercise contraptions, the GlideCycle fits somewhere between Suzanne Somers’ ThighMaster and your favorite treadmill at the gym. Riders sit upright in a bouncy seat and propel the cycle by gently stroking the ground with their feet in a running motion. “It’s like a Fred Flintstone car,” says inventor David Vidmar. The seat, tweaked more than 90 times in the design process, is meant to give the rider a sense of weightlessness, with the supporting arched frame acting as a giant spring. Vidmar, founder of the Ashland-based Glidecycle company and its chief inventor, touts the machine as a cardio-aerobic workout that’s easy on the muscles and joints. His catchphrase: “All of the gain with none of the pain.” Two years ago it was the pain in his knees and his doctor telling him he couldn’t run anymore that inspired him to build the cycle. Now he envisions athletes with prosthetic legs using the GlideCycle in the Para-Olympics. The biggest challenge, Vidmar says, is getting people to see the GlideCycle as a viable exercise machine. We see a perspiring Chuck Norris using it in a Sunday morning infomercial.
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