Take A Bicycle Tour Anywhere In The World

Imagine yourself riding through the countryside of Tuscany in the morning, then popping over to Champagne for a tour in the evening without taking a plane ride in the intermission. In fact, you don’t have to leave your living room. All you need is a stationary bicycle, a VR headset, and CycleVR.

[Aaron Puzey] hasn’t quite made the inter-country leap quite like that, but he has cycled the entire length of the UK, from its southern point to its northernmost tip. The 1500km journey took 85 hours over the course of eight months to complete.

CycleVR is actually a VR app created using Unity. It takes advantage of Google street view’s panoramic image data, using Bluetooth to monitor the cycling pace  and transition between the panorama capture points. So, the static images of pedestrians and cars clipping and distorting as the panorama images load might throw off the illusion at first, but there’s thousands of side streets and country roads out there where this won’t be as pronounced. Check out the highlight reel from [Puzey]’s journey after the break.

Once you know what route you want to take, the app loads it ahead of time — usually taking 10 minutes to load a 30 minute ride. This kind of virtual tourism has a steep upfront cost if you don’t have a VR headset, but a similar effect can still be achieved using a laptop and an Arduino.

20 thoughts on “Take A Bicycle Tour Anywhere In The World

  1. I’m all for VR, and I think this is pretty cool. I’ve done a 2500 mile bicycle tour and VR can’t hold a candle to the real thing. You might as well do it in a VR car. Part of the reason to do it on a bicycle is to meet people and experience the entire thing at a slow pace.Feel the breeze, smack the horse flies and sit around a fire at the end of the day with people you’ve never met from countries on the other side of the planet. The social aspect, for me, was worth more than just the imagery.

    I’d still probably try it, but I can’t stand riding a pedal-go-nowhwere for very long.

  2. You need to add a fan with variable speed control based on your speed, you could also add chatting with strangers like the above guy mentioned… Throw in a space heater and you’ve got your fire! I’m not sure you’d want to simulate the flies though…

    1. ^ +1

      Heart, lungs, and mental health.

      Stationary cycling is certainly good too. Any exercise is always better than none.

      i spent 72 days on a bike. Never felt better in my life. That was years ago.

      At this point in my life I will take any exercise I can get since I just don’t have time for 3 months of vacation :)

      1. I was wondering about this due to noticing frequent news stories about retired athletes and ball players dying of heart and other problems in their 40s and 50s…

    1. There’s stationary bikes with video displays in the local gym where I live, and I’m always amazed at the boring, pedestrian sorts of video landscapes they provide.

      I’ve always wanted to have interesting, possibly exciting things to see while stationary bicycling: make it up the next hill before the lava reaches the roadway, outrun the natives throwing spears, get enough speed down the hill to make the jump over the canyon, that sort of thing.

      Hopefully the upcoming VR craze will allow us some more interesting scenarios.

  3. Maybe with many more photos, the glitch effect would lessen. Seeing everytime poles bending and road distorted kills supension of belief. I would totally be in favor of a completely artficial environment, maybe progressively generated to be more complex as time goes on.

  4. When my daughter was younger I was looking at making a peddle generator to power the TV Thani figured she could be watch as much as she liked just needed to peddle to keep the tv running – but this was pre low power TV so became impractical.

    This VR system should be run the same way, peddle to produce the power to run the system.

Leave a Reply

Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.