Electric walking bike makes strides among Central Floridians

Lopifit described as 'treadmill on wheels'

By Ginger Gadsden - Anchor , Donovan Myrie - Special Projects Producer

ORLANDO, Fla. - Where’s the seat? Where are the pedals? Tell me again exactly what this thing is?

This “thing” is a lopifit and the easiest way to describe it is an electric walking bike.

“I was on YouTube, I was searching for a bike and the lopifit came up,” said Dee Sanders.

She was one of the first lopifit customers in Central Florida.

“I did a little research, found out they had a shop here, contacted the shop owner, went for a test ride, and purchased the bike. It was just that simple,” Sanders said.

The lopifit (pronounced low-pie-fit) got its name from a combination of three words: “lopan” is Dutch and translates to “walk,” “pi” refers to the mathematical constant of a wheel or sphere and “fit” points to the idea of healthy living.

The “walking-bike” got its start in the Netherlands in 2014 when inventor Bruin Bergmeester was bored with jogging on treadmills and wondered how he could take his exercise regime mobile “into” the outdoors. 

For Bergmeester, staring at walls during his workouts was boring. Jogging on hard street surfaces was too stressful on the knees and bike riding was stressful on the butt.

His plan for a compromise led him to start work on his “treadmill on wheels." He purchased a kick-bike, cut it in half and then welded in a stronger frame.

Bergmeester then inserted a small treadmill between the rails and connected it to the rear wheel. Within a few months, he had a working prototype assembled in his living room and later added an electric-assist motor for extra power and torque.

Fast-forward three years later and the lopifit is quickly becoming an international sensation. 
But the cost of this next-gen bicycle/walking/treadmill isn’t cheap: lopifits retail for about $2,495.

“Thirty seconds to two minutes to learn how to do it and once you’ve got it, you don’t want to stop,” said Jeff Noonan, owner of Lopifit Orlando.

Noonan's dealership is the only one in the state of Florida and one of just five lopifit franchises in the entire country. He said he got into the business of selling lopifits by accident.

“I bought two of them, just to have as a fun bike to ride,” Noonan told News 6. “And the response from all the people in Winter Park, from The Villages, and from College Park and Lake Eola was off the charts.”

Noonan said people wanted to know where they could buy or rent a lopifit. Just from riding around neighborhoods, alone and with friends, Noonan felt as if he had embarked on a market research project to gauge public interest.

“People wanted these, they just didn’t have the mechanism to actually buy one,” he said.

Riding a lopifit is a combination of walking and balancing yourself on the two-wheel platform -- you don’t run, march or jog. The battery-powered electric motor gives riders a boost, which helps with balance.

That same electric motor gives a lopifit a range of more than 35 miles. The bike’s six gears can take a rider to a top speed of around 17 mph.

And a workout on a lopifit is a lot easier on the body. 

“What’s great about it is you’re not sitting on a seat where you’re absorbing bumps or impact on your backside and your spine,” Noonan said. “Here you’re walking. Everyone’s walking. Your body acts as a shock absorber walking on the street.” 

Dee Sanders agreed.

“As long as I walk those two hours, I’m gonna burn those calories. And I’m just walking, I’m not running.” she said.

Copyright 2017 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.