The idea for landrowing came to me during a boring training session on an indoor rowing machine. "Why not put wheels on this thing and tool around the neighborhood?" I wondered. So I called up my friend, who is a welder, and we went to work on transforming my brand new Concept II Ergometer into a road-worthy vehicle. Several weeks later, with much anticipation, I took my first lap around a nearby track and - the contraption disintegrated!
I was a little disappointed, but I figured that at least I sacrificed my rowing machine in the name of science. However, a short time later, in the spring of 1987 while visiting Germany, I spotted an aerodynamic version of my failed experiment in the window of a sports store. I got wildly excited, but finally calmed down enough to buy the machine from the startled shopkeeper. A couple of months later, I set the first "landrowing" record by traveling 68 miles from New York to Philadelphia along the New Jersey Turnpike with a police escort the entire way. The police really enjoyed the novelty of the event, and at one point started singing "row, row, row your boat" over their loudspeaker!
Eventually a bloke from the United Kingdom broke my record by landrowing 1,400 miles back and forth across the length of England, and Guinness informed me that I would have to do 1,500 miles in less than 20 days to reclaim my title. So in January 1991, while vacationing in Bali, I landrowed 1,500 miles in 16 days along the roads of the lush tropical island, using a vastly improved Sam Bennett landrower. It put me in awesome shape and, as locals sidled up to me at stoplights on their motorcycles, I got several offers to swap vehicles!
An American surpassed the Bali record by landrowing 3,280 miles across the U.S., a journey I hope to make someday, but, in any case, I'm proud to be a pioneer of such a unique and dynamic sport.
On the road to Philadelphia