Virtual reality tour by way of stationary bike
August 25, 2014 7:40 AM   Subscribe

I loved exercising with the Expresso bike - it's a stationary bike that has a screen so you can tour through virtual courses. I found it surprisingly entertaining and incredibly motivating - I loved going faster and passing the other virtual bikers. My gym membership is up, and I'd love to have something similar at home. Can Metafilter help walk me through the options?

My budget it ~$500, and everything needs to ship to the continental US. I would prioritize having a bike that registers when I change resistance - ie, if I am pedaling harder but slower, I would go faster than if I was just pedaling faster but with no resistance.

The obvious solution would to be to get an Expresso bike, but they run well over $1000, and have an expensive yearly membership. They also have limited tracks, and no obvious way to connect to independently made online games/tours.

The Cyberbike seems absolutely perfect, except I can't figure out if it was ever released in the US, and I haven't found a lot of sellers.

The Google bike instructables also seems great, but it looks limited to the cadence (not resistance) and would require that I learn arduino. I love the idea of cycling through GoogleEarth though!

The CyberBike ExerCycler also seems like a good option, but I can't tell if it detects both cadence and resistance.

The Tacx I-genius system also seems great, but is prohibitively expensive.

I'd love any insight on these or other options, or personal experience with them.
posted by fermezporte to Health & Fitness (8 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
I goofed around with trying to make one of these once using a regular bike on a track stand. A lot of little things proved surprisingly difficult and I gave up. It's surprisingly difficult to get the signal into non bike aware programs, will have to see how the instructable did it.
posted by miyabo at 7:54 AM on August 25, 2014

Also your budget is probably prohibitively low, since a stationary bike with automatic resistance would cost that much alone. Track stands are cheap but don't have any electronic resistance control.
posted by miyabo at 7:55 AM on August 25, 2014

The closest I can think of is the BKOOL trainer system (review here). However, it is a trainer system, not a stationary bike, and the base price of the BKOOL ($499) hits your budget without even considering the bike to put on the trainer.
posted by saeculorum at 8:07 AM on August 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

BKOOL looks like a great option - to clarify, I have a bike I could hook up, and I'm also interested in something that would hook up to a standard stationary bike, as I could get one of those very cheap (less than 100 for something decent) off craigslist.
posted by fermezporte at 8:52 AM on August 25, 2014

What about simply a Nintendo Wii? Strap the wiimote to your leg as you cycle on the bike and use the wii fit running programme. You'll pass other characters, you can customise your character, etc but they'll be running instead of cycling.
posted by hazyjane at 10:25 AM on August 25, 2014 [2 favorites]

You sound like the perfect candidate for an XSpin. I wrote a review of it a while back.
posted by Wild_Eep at 10:40 AM on August 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

There is an app called "BitGym" that I think I heard about through Metafilter. Supposedly it uses the camera on your ipad/iphone/android to extrapolate how fast you're going.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 11:32 AM on August 25, 2014 [2 favorites]

Take a look at CycleOps Virtual Training.
posted by LastOfHisKind at 7:06 PM on August 25, 2014

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