Cycling is a great form of exercise, it has many physical, mental, and social benefits. However, with the current COVID-19 crisis, cyclists around the world are finding they can only do short, solo rides or in the case of those countries that are on full lockdown, confined to indoor cycling for the foreseeable future.
A cyclist wearing a protective mask in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on April 21, 2020 during the emergency of Coronavirus (Photo by Fabio Vieira/FotoRua/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
NURPHOTO VIA GETTY IMAGES
Retailers like John Lewis, Halfords, and Peloton have seen a ‘significant uplift’ in sales of home gym and indoor cycling equipment since the quarantine measures began as people seek to fulfil their fitness fix in a safe way. London based retailer Sigma Sports has released sales figures showing an incredible 977% increase in the purchase of turbo trainers and static bikes by UK customers.
While many cyclists may be yearning for the great outdoors, indoor cycling has its benefits—tracking progress is accurate and you don’t need to worry about inclement weather. However, it can get boring. So, here are some of the virtual tools and gadgets that can add an extra dimension to indoor training and give you a taste of next-generation cycling.
VirZOOM is a virtual reality fitness company that is bringing the outdoors indoors. VZfit is a unique accessory, developed by VirZOOM, that allows any stationary bike to be connected wirelessly to an Oculus Quest or Oculus Go headset.
The hardware consists of a Bluetooth pedal mounted sensor and a simple Bluetooth controller. Once the sensor is installed and paired to your headset you can access VirZoom’s two apps—VZfit Play and VZFit Explorer.
According to VirZOOM’s statistics from the last few weeks, there has been a 45% increase in usage since 1st March. In addition, demand has been so high that they are now sold out and back-ordered for the next couple of weeks.
VZfit’s virtual workouts range from competing in the Tour de France to lassoing bandits in the old west. You can also download any map from Google and bike the world from home. Plus, with VZfit Explorer Multiplayer, users can now ride and chat with another user along the same route.
The company has just announced an update to its VZfit app which offers more flexibility and choice for consumers. A subscription is $9.95 per month or $99.95 per annum, after a seven day free trial.
Holodia is reinventing fitness by bringing fun, connectivity, and competition to cardio machines through over 100 VR workout options. HOLOFIT GO connects to your fitness machine over Bluetooth. It’s compatible with rowing machines and all bikes and elliptical machines with the additional cadence sensor.
You can join the HOLOFIT community to compete and train together, and importantly, have fun. You can also have a virtual coach to customize your workout to achieve better results.
HOLOFIT is compatible with standalone VR headsets such as Oculus Quest and Pico Neo and PC-tethered headsets such as HTC Vive, Acer Windows and Oculus Rift. You can purchase the HTC Vive Focus headset preinstalled with HOLOFIT for 699 Euros.
BigRing Virtual Cycling brings engaging virtual reality cycling experiences to your home with over 350 different rides from 11 countries including epic climbs like Alpe d'Huez, Mont Ventoux and Monte Zoncolan.
You can also take advantage of a variety of built-in workouts or use the Coach functionality to assist with the pacing of your ride. The team of cyclists and software engineers provides easy integration with most cycling trainers and high definition streaming.
BigRingVR can be used on Windows 7 or higher (32 and 64 bits) and Apple MacOS Sierra (10.12) or higher. You can try the experience for free for 14 days, after that it’s $10 per month.
CycleVR isn’t out just yet, but it’s one to watch if you are interested in cycling in VR...
After virtually cycling the length of the UK (around 900 miles) over three months and picking up a huge following of tech and cycling enthusiasts along the way, Aaron Puzey is planning a Kickstarter campaign for CycleVR. This will allow others to explore the world virtually, while cycling, just like he did.
Aaron’s journey began with his custom Samsung Gear VR app, which uses Google Street View imagery and a Bluetooth cadence sensor to track how fast you pedal. The app also manipulates and changes the panoramas, to give the impression of real-life cycling.
Aaron’s plan for his Kickstarter is a complete virtual reality kit that allows you to cycle anywhere in the world from your living room, consisting of a virtual reality headset; a cadence monitor; and the CycleVR app. The full details can be found here