With virtual cycling, you can visit new places at any time of the year without leaving your home. This is a great option for those who have seasonal allergies, do not have good cycling tracks in their area, or just want to visit new places. The trend is already being embraced by cyclists and travelers alike. Currently, there are two main ways to partake in virtual indoor cycling.
VRX-Biking is a DVD-based instruction system offered by the UK bike manufacturer Trixter and is ideal for group indoor cycling classes or home workouts. Through a combination of animation and video, riders see themselves and others cycle along city streets in London, New York, and San Francisco and down dirt tracks in the French Alps and Welsh Highlands.
The idea is that such an enjoyable and immersing journey should allow riders to forget they are working hard; after all, visual stimulation, says fitness expert Kristoph Thompson, has been proven to increase motivation. The full sensory experience is made complete with incentivizing music where each track accompanies a new virtual world. The DVD also features a 45-minute interval workout and cool down video.
To make the cycling experience even more realistic, the Trixter X-bikes used for the workout feature a laterally moving handlebar that ensures the rider uses more than just the lower body. By engaging the upper body, calorie burn can increase by up to 55 percent in every workout. In addition, the videos include signals telling riders when to make changes to resistant that correspond with the terrain being displayed on the screen. X-bikes are marketed as being the only indoor bikes that provide riders with realistic outdoor bike movement and allow for a full body workout.
Cyclodeo is a new startup that already features around 93 miles of footage in New York City allowing riders to cycle through places such as Central Park and along the Hudson River Greenway. It also features trails in Copenhagen and parts of the southern Netherlands, all of which can be pinpointed on Google Maps to allow users to see exactly where they are and even plan routes for when they visit the cities in the real world.
While the workouts can be completed on any indoor bike, the site is still in its early days and can only be viewed by desktop browsers. Creator Samir Bendida hopes that it will eventually become a community-based platform where other cyclists can upload their videos to create indoor cycling rides from across the world as, at this time, uploading is by invitation only.
Virtual cycling is an exciting technological innovation that promises to bring indoor cyclists that much closer to the real experience. As good as the programs get, however, they will never fully replace the feeling of the wind in your face on a warm summer’s day!