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Tilting Bike Uses Google Maps To Simulate Routes

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the google-is-in-all-the-things-now dept.

Transportation 115

cylonlover writes "One of the differences between real cycling and indoor training is the fact that when riders are on the road, the topography of the area determines the pedaling effort required. By contrast, when on a stationary bike, riders usually just vary their output as they feel like it. In an attempt to make indoor training more like the real thing, Pro-Form's Le Tour de France Indoor Cycle lets users choose or create real-world routes using Google Maps, then adjusts the angle of the riding platform to replicate the experience of riding up and down those roads."

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Camber (1)

ian_from_brisbane (596121) | more than 3 years ago | (#36669954)

At first I thought they were talking about left/right tilting for fast cornering... Now THAT would be hard to replicate on a stationary bike.

Re:Camber (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#36670048)

Shouldn't be too difficult - unless you corner so hard it feels like you're on a wall of death.

I want to know if they can do downhill freewheeling with a nice cooling breeze in your face. I could do that for hours...

Re:Camber (4, Funny)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 3 years ago | (#36670248)

Add a showerhead to simulate rain, and some kind of bumpers on the sides to give impressions of trucks clipping you, and you've almost got the real thing!

Re:Camber (1)

jamesh (87723) | more than 3 years ago | (#36670328)

Don't forget about the mud nozzle behind you to squirt a line of muddy water droplets up and down your back.

Re:Camber (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 3 years ago | (#36670668)

Don't forget about the mud nozzle behind you to squirt a line of muddy water droplets up and down your back.

Like most bikes intended for non-leisure use, and not purchased from a supermarket, my bike has mudguards :-)

How about a giant fan to provide a headwind? And will the whole thing be stolen every few years?

Re:Camber (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 3 years ago | (#36670762)

Ooh, ooh, and some way to simulate jumping onto the pavement at speed and then running down an old lady. Exervise the skills we'll actually use in the real world!

Re:Camber (1)

Sique (173459) | more than 3 years ago | (#36671084)

There is a very cheap simulation for that simulation. It's called a bike.

Re:Camber (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 3 years ago | (#36671306)

Ooh, ooh, and some way to simulate jumping onto the pavement at speed and then running down an old lady. Exervise the skills we'll actually use in the real world!

So far I've only managed to hit a child* and near-miss a woman**, but I'm practising all the time :-|

* He ran out into the road, but I'd 98% stopped by the time I hit him; fortunately he wasn't hurt. (He apologised a lot in French, so maybe he looked the wrong way before stepping out (or maybe not). Another time I was on a bus that hit an American at night (4am) in central London on Valentine's Day. He'd walked out looking the wrong way, according to his distraught girlfriend. He wasn't OK, blood and cuts and probably broken bones... but the medics in the ambulance thought he'd be OK eventually.)

** A 2+2 lane road, with an island for pedestrians to cross in the middle (by traffic lights). She dashed out from the island against the "red man", into the path of a car, then screamed and ran further into the road -- in front of me. I'd only bought the bike a couple of days earlier, and was seeing how fast I could go on the steep slope of the nearest big, wide road. I was very pleased with the bike's disc brakes -- fortunately, I'd already spent a little time learning how they responded (very well!), otherwise I'd have gone over the handlebars.

(11000km so far of going-to-work-and-the-shops-and-back-and-occasionally-the-pub in London, so I think it's OK.)

Slightly more on topic, I think part of the British driving test (which I've not taken) is to do "hazard perception", and is a video which requires the learner driver to point out things like playful children at the side of the road, people waiting at crossings, where they become hazards (unofficial online version [theory-test.co.uk] )

Re:Camber (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 3 years ago | (#36672552)

And a car door operated by a pneumatic ram...

IRL, one just missed cutting off my little finger.

Re:Camber (2)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 3 years ago | (#36671520)

And will the whole thing be stolen every few years?

Every few years?!? Lucky you!

Re:Camber (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36670386)

I can probably hack you a solution out of an electric fan and a broom :)

Re:Camber (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#36670072)

At first I thought they were talking about left/right tilting for fast cornering... Now THAT would be hard to replicate on a stationary bike.

Theoretically, not so hard... just need to put the bike in an elevator synchronized for the extra centrifugal force (assuming that the cyclist doesn't circle a virtual roundabout forever).

Re:Camber (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#36670994)

That sounds crazy but it might work in practice...put the simulator on the end of a long arm that can spin around (like one of those astronaut centrifuges we see on TV). When you go around a corner, spin it up.

Oh, wait, that only simulates turning left. Bummer.

Re:Camber (1)

AJH16 (940784) | more than 3 years ago | (#36671082)

You just need to be able to rotate the bike around to switch directions, you could also face it in or out in order to simulate accelerating and decelerating.

Re:Camber (1)

black soap (2201626) | more than 3 years ago | (#36671152)

Just tilt the bike the opposite direction. The direction of the vector could be correct, even if the felt magnitude isn't.

Re:Camber (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 3 years ago | (#36671684)

Whatever geekery one might apply to the stationary bike, there is nothing that can be done about the fact that they are just plain boring to use. Sure, we can try using fans to simulate headwind and maybe play porn movies to alleviate the boredom (though the combination of a bike saddle, exercise and a hard-on doesn't entice me much for some reason).

But for a comparatively small outlay we can buy an OK bike and take advantage of some interaction with the Outside World(TM). Even better if we can use the machine as transport, though not all of us have the time. When I was a student, the 50 minute trip to/from uni was doable, but my current job is 2 hours' ride from home, in the dark, on narrow country roads populated with heavy trucks. So I drive, and save the bike for the weekend.

Re:Camber (1)

paiute (550198) | more than 3 years ago | (#36672580)

Whatever geekery one might apply to the stationary bike, there is nothing that can be done about the fact that they are just plain boring to use.

Not with the chainsaw option.

Re:Camber (1)

fafaforza (248976) | more than 3 years ago | (#36670166)

The bike would be leaning in that case.

Re:Camber (1)

scheme (19778) | more than 3 years ago | (#36670598)

At first I thought they were talking about left/right tilting for fast cornering... Now THAT would be hard to replicate on a stationary bike.

Not really, kurt kinetic's rock and roll trainer already lets you do that in part.

Re:Camber (1)

GooberToo (74388) | more than 3 years ago | (#36670764)

They had this in a gym I went to twenty years ago. Yawn. Twenty year old technology is suddenly slashdot worthy?

Holy shit slashdot has fallen.

Re:Camber (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36672028)

You sound tired and cranky. Time to go back to the gym?

Re:Camber (3, Informative)

strength_of_10_men (967050) | more than 3 years ago | (#36670788)

There is a spinning bike that leans left/right [realryder.com] , but after having tried, it, i can say that it in no way reproduces "real" cycling. It's more of a gimmick than anything else.

Re:Camber (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 3 years ago | (#36670804)

At first I thought they were talking about left/right tilting for fast cornering... Now THAT would be hard to replicate on a stationary bike.

I thought it would involve lances or something, and was similarly disappointed.

Spoken like someone.. (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#36669964)

Spoken like someone who apparently has ridden neither exercise bikes, nor real bikes. You can vary the resistance of exercise bikes, and you are also free to vary gears and/or pedalling effort on a real bike. The news here is the Google Maps routes for exercise bikes bit.

Re:Spoken like someone.. (4, Interesting)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | more than 3 years ago | (#36670002)

Perhaps more to the point, any exercise bike with a computer-controlled resistance is likely to have a variety of profiles where the resistance is increased/decreased automatically. Unlike the Google-inspired routes, they also tend to be designed for specific purposes.. training for climbing, training for endurance, training for just building muscle, etc.

I can see where it could be useful, however - if somebody rides a particular route outside quite regularly but a giant dust storm (hi Phoenix!) decides to screw their schedule.. load the route into the trainer's computer and off you go. But I rather suspect the experience will still be nowhere near the same in terms of the particular resistance given.

So in general I enjoy the geek factor, but practical use seems limited; as with most things in life, I suppose.

Re:Spoken like someone.. (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#36670084)

So in general I enjoy the geek factor, but practical use seems limited; as with most things in life, I suppose.

Hang on! Don't go further... it is not a FA about iPhone, Android or Facebook.

Re:Spoken like someone.. (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 3 years ago | (#36670400)

Could be interesting for cycling fanatics if it let you ride famouse bike race routes from the comfort of your own home.

Re:Spoken like someone.. (1)

rjstanford (69735) | more than 3 years ago | (#36671184)

Like this [computrainer.com] , for example? This is not a new product - possibly its a slight convenience tool in making it easier to put together courses, but the GPS -> grade-specific training file process isn't that hard now, and often contains much finer elevation change information than the Google Maps version, especially when taken with a device that supports barometric altitude like an Edge.

The new CycleOps has announced support for video cameras, making it easier to get a full "re-ride" experience if you ride with a small camera as well as your GPS. Pretty cool stuff.

Re:Spoken like someone.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36672246)

Could be interesting for cycling fanatics if it let you ride famouse bike race routes from the comfort of your own home.

You seem to have completely failed in your understanding of "cycling fanatics". Cycling fans get equipment to allow them to cycle the same races in the comfort of their home. Cycling enthusiasts ride their bike on the roads to get exercise, etc. Cycling fanatics go to France and ride the same course the tour rides, a day after the tour passes a given stage.

http://www.thisisjersey.com/2009/07/17/riding-in-the-shadow-of-the-tour-de-france/ [thisisjersey.com]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L'%C3%89tape_du_Tour [wikipedia.org]

But hey, at least the cycling fanatics tend to be healthier *because* of their sport!

Your statement is like saying that football/baseball/hockey/etc. fanatics follow their local team on their television only. Of course not. They get season tickets even if it means dipping into their child's education funds. I can't say that it actually makes them actually healthier though...

Re:Spoken like someone.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36670462)

There a few on the market (and have been for nearly a decade). Computrainer is one (though it doesn't read from Google maps last I checked). It does let you create and/or load a course and it varies the resistance (and will include wind resistance if you like) based on the route. You can load up any TDF route, Ironman route, whatever. And you can ride multi-player (local or remote I believe). Newer versions have matching video of sorts.

Re:Spoken like someone.. (1)

cptdondo (59460) | more than 3 years ago | (#36670986)

I used to go to a gym where they had tilting recumbents, all wired together. The bikes had a big fan you drove with the pedals; the harder you went the more wind in your face. They had a big monitor to show you where you were. You could race preset courses against other riders on the network, or you could race against the computer.

These things were cool! If you ran into something like a wall or a tree, the pedals would lock up. You could ride under water and have to dodge fish.

I'm an endurance cyclist - I can ride 50 or a 100 miles at the drop of a hat - but I don't think I lasted more than 20 minutes on those things. Ever. So yes, it's a great workout, if it's done right it's hard and fun.

Re:Spoken like someone.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36670066)

I suspect you're the one who hasn't done much riding. Different rides (routes) lend themselves to totally different riding styles and workouts. When I used to ride, I would excel at courses with lots of small hills that I could power-up while recovering recovering on the downhills. And then many of the same people I left behind would leave me for dead in the long endurance rides.

I can the huge appeal of being able to practise on an exercise bike for the exact course I'd be racing on

Re:Spoken like someone.. (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#36670720)

I can appreciate what you're saying there, but I just can't bring myself to riding stationary bicycles and I don't care how fancy the simulations get. It's not riding a bicycle.

I'm totally with you on the hills except that my almost daily ride features about 20+lbs of stuff I bring to work with me including change of clothes, shoes and gear. I enjoy those smaller hills as I barely notice them any more. There are quite a few steep and long inclines where I live which were, at first, murderous and most people I see today are walking up those inclines. I ride a mountain bike with street tires (not a "hybrid" but a hard tail MTB... GT Avalance 2.0) complete with rack and large paniers. I work HARD on my bike and riding without the load feels weird to me. I do it for the exercise and the money savings too. (gas, parking, even bus costs all pretty much money I would rather not spend)

Exercise bikes don't come with the same sense of accomplishment a real bike has. Results of real bicycle usage are far more measurable to me. Also, with a real bicycle on a real street, I can see lots of things and I need to concentrate more on what's going on around me instead of the exercise which means I an not thinking of the workout I have been getting which actually helps a LOT more than anything else. The very moment I think of "exercise" is the same moment I begin to feel tired.

Re:Spoken like someone.. (1)

cptdondo (59460) | more than 3 years ago | (#36671032)

Exercise bikes don't come with the same sense of accomplishment a real bike has. Results of real bicycle usage are far more measurable to me. Also, with a real bicycle on a real street, I can see lots of things and I need to concentrate more on what's going on around me instead of the exercise which means I an not thinking of the workout I have been getting which actually helps a LOT more than anything else. The very moment I think of "exercise" is the same moment I begin to feel tired.

I teach indoor cycle, and what you say is true. You don't get the handling skills. OTOH I can take you to the edge of your aerobic capacity, and hold you there for a lot longer than most people will do on a real bike. It's a different form of exercise. Stationary bike skills don't translate to road bike skills.

Re:Spoken like someone.. (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#36671006)

I haven't done muchdistance riding, but I use to cycle to work every morning, which was uphill most of the way, and I could do the whole thing in the hardest gear - on the really steep bit I just stood up to get more power. It took something like 30 minutes to get in in the morning, and 5 minutes to get home.. :)

Exercise bikes can simulate hills fine without needing to vary the angle, just by increasing the resistance.

Re:Spoken like someone.. (1)

oldmac31310 (1845668) | more than 3 years ago | (#36672916)

Doing it wrong. There is no benefit in doing it 'in the hardest gear'. It is really bad for your knees and is more likely to strain muscles than to properly exercise them. The gears are there to allow you to maximize your energy efficiency.

Re:Spoken like someone.. (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#36674102)

I wasn't trying to be efficient (well, time efficient maybe), I was doing it at first as a challenge, and then after a while it was actually not that difficult, but still good fun.

Re:Spoken like someone.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36670204)

I've been able to use Google to adjust my rides for years. I use Tacx Trainer. I used it to train for a route I had never seen. Not sure what the news here is. Before Google, I was able to use route that someone else had recorded with their GPS. My bike doesn't tilt but that doesn't seem necessary. If it tilted to the side, and thus my bike felt ride when I was out of the saddle or turning, then I could understand.

Re:Spoken like someone.. (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 3 years ago | (#36670580)

Well going up a steep hill even if you are on the lowest gear is still a lot harder going flat on high gear. I cant talk about pros but myself I feel the urge to try to bike at the same speed. So while I am in in low gear I am peddling faster up the hill burring a lot more energy.

Re:Spoken like someone.. (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#36670760)

The real secret is to keep your peddling speed and applied force as constant as possible. This means the gear system must be used to help regulate that. Speed is also a consideration for some people, but I don't ride for speed or time.

Re:Spoken like someone.. (2)

orange47 (1519059) | more than 3 years ago | (#36670624)

however, there is a difference between resistance and tilting: your position relative to bike/ground.

in any case, nothing beats the real thing.

Re:Spoken like someone.. (1)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 3 years ago | (#36670934)

Back in 1995 I had a summer membership at Golds Gym. They had two recumbant excercise bikes there that both had large monitors in front of them. It was a virtual reality thing (yes, that was the craze back then). There was a virtual world (graphics were decent, but not fantastic), and as you went up-hill, or downhill, the resistance would change. You could also lean to turn.

Both the bikes were networked together. My buddy and I would race, and cut off the road, and over fields (hitting sheep and other things really slowed you down though), through canyons, etc. Before you knew it, it was 45 min later (when you were planning on a 15 min warmup) and your body was worn out.

I have searched around a couple times the last few years, but haven't seen them anymore online or anything quite comparable..

Re:Spoken like someone.. (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#36671064)

Damn. That sounds hilarious :) Keeping it interesting is definitely the way to go, then you don't even realise you've been "exercising". Which is why I stopped going to the gym and prefer instead to do Parkour.

Re:Spoken like someone.. (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 3 years ago | (#36671210)

Damn. That sounds hilarious :) Keeping it interesting is definitely the way to go, then you don't even realise you've been "exercising". Which is why I stopped going to the gym and prefer instead to do Parkour.

Parkour? What? Are you too lazy to go around an obstacle?

Re:Spoken like someone.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36672228)

I just read of an exercise bike that's soon to be released for the Nintendo Wii that uses magnetic resistance for $200 but I think the catch was that it used the gamecube controller port so it may not be compatible with N's newly announced console. I'm considering it but I'd really like not to be confined to riding around with a bunch of Mii so it'll probably depend on the titles available. I don't believe it tilts either. Anyone play Downhill Domination on the Playstation 2? That would be supreme with a 2-axis tilt setup. Anyway, I've been wanting one of these for over a decade. Happy that they're closer to being in living rooms.

cool idea but it needs a little bit more (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36669980)

Just tilting the bike would not increase the effort required by the user, unless they had some variable system in it that would make peddling more difficult, and then they could even simulate gear changes needing different peddling power for different situations.

Re:cool idea but it needs a little bit more (1)

Labcoat Samurai (1517479) | more than 3 years ago | (#36670776)

At least with bikes it's fairly trivial to add resistance. The one I've never understood is when they incline a treadmill. I mean, surely people realize that running up an incline is challenging because you are physically *moving* your body in opposition to gravity. Tilting a treadmill just forces you to raise your knees higher when you run, which is a bit harder, I suppose, but not at all analogous.

Re:cool idea but it needs a little bit more (1)

karnal (22275) | more than 3 years ago | (#36670950)

I thought the same as you; but have recently gotten back into running (real-world) and thought "Meh, increasing incline doesn't do anything." Then I tried it. Holy hell. The incline increase forces you to use different muscles - even though the motor is still powering the belt underneath, you utilize more of your calves on a sharper incline. Seems to mimic more of a hill than one would normally think as you have to adjust your balance to stay upright.

Re:cool idea but it needs a little bit more (1)

Labcoat Samurai (1517479) | more than 3 years ago | (#36671162)

Well yeah, that's a good point about using different muscles. It's essentially a different running technique, so even if you aren't actually fighting gravity, you are using your legs in a different way. So it's not that it doesn't do anything, it's just not really like running up a hill.

Re:cool idea but it needs a little bit more (1)

vux984 (928602) | more than 3 years ago | (#36673504)

The one I've never understood is when they incline a treadmill. I mean, surely people realize that running up an incline is challenging because you are physically *moving* your body in opposition to gravity. Tilting a treadmill just forces you to raise your knees higher when you run, which is a bit harder, I suppose, but not at all analogous.

-facepalm-

Tilting a treadmill is exactly the same as running up a hill, in that you are moving your body up an inclined plane in opposition to gravity.

Its just that your actual upward progress is cancelled out by the downward movement of the treadmill, but you have to continually climb upwards just to stay where you are on the incline. But make no mistake, you are still climbing.

Walking up a "down" escalator is essentially the same thing.

Re:cool idea but it needs a little bit more (1)

Just Brew It! (636086) | more than 3 years ago | (#36671268)

Yeah, that was my thought as well. IMO the tilting is a rather small part of making it feel real; pedal resistance is a much bigger factor. The article mentions that they can simulate wind resistance (so the system has the ability to vary the amount of pedaling effort required), but nowhere does it say that they actually tie this in to the inclination data.

Re:cool idea but it needs a little bit more (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#36671384)

Why would it have a system to make ambulatory salesmanship more difficult?

A system which increases the torque needed to turn the crank would seem more useful...

Why not just ride a bike? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36669982)

with the amount of money and effort involved in creating this, and I'm sure, passed down to the gym that owns the hardware, and is passed on to the gym member, why not just ride a bike?

Re:Why not just ride a bike? (2)

mooglez (795643) | more than 3 years ago | (#36670000)

Due to Winter.

This is a pretty decent development compared to what they usually have at gyms for their cycling.
My local one is currently using heartbeat assisted cycling, where everyone is using a wireless heartbeat monitor and the results are displayed on the wall via a projector.

I have long been wondering why the cycles cannot be used to do real routes, by automatically controlling the bike magnets to reduce or increase the effort based on the distance you have so far gone, and maybe even showing everyones location on the route on a map also projected to the wall. It sounds so simple to me..

Re:Why not just ride a bike? (1)

cammoblammo (774120) | more than 3 years ago | (#36670022)

When I read the summary I thought it might have gone side to side and projected streeview on the wall. Whilst I'd much rather be outside on a real bike I do spend a lot of time in crank classes. I'd love to be able to load up a classic bike ride from Europe and get going without worrying about idiot drivers or bike riders who have more expensive equipment than me.

Re:Why not just ride a bike? (1)

jeti (105266) | more than 3 years ago | (#36670152)

I cycled to work during the last winter and actually found it somewhat enjoyable. Just make sure you have a good headlight. The output of some types of batteries breaks down when they get cold. The AA LiPo ones I finally bought work ok at -10C.

Re:Why not just ride a bike? (1)

mooglez (795643) | more than 3 years ago | (#36670192)

I cycled to work during the last winter and actually found it somewhat enjoyable. Just make sure you have a good headlight. The output of some types of batteries breaks down when they get cold. The AA LiPo ones I finally bought work ok at -10C.

Much will depend on your definition of winter, which I guess depends on where you live :)

Re:Why not just ride a bike? (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 3 years ago | (#36670646)

-10C what do you live in the tropics or something? Where I live you need to be wary of driving into Bose–Einstein condensate, well I exaggerate but -30c days are common during the winter.

Re:Why not just ride a bike? (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 3 years ago | (#36671066)

Temperature for me really isn't a problem. Remember, cross country skiers deal with this kind of weather all the time. Once you get moving, your body generates its own heat. The reason that I don't ride in the winter is the sheer amount of snow we get. Start with a layer of freezing rain, add a bit of snow on top, and you are asking for trouble. Not to mention the salt they put on the roads. That's terrible for your bike.

Re:Why not just ride a bike? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36670272)

This is a pretty decent development compared to what they usually have at gyms for their cycling.

In theory, yes. In practice ... well, have you looked at the controls on that thing? I couldn't be bothered to learn how to program something with that many buttons in a gym. Not to mention most other people. Having to fetch an instructor everytime you want to do an exercise isn't exactly fun either.

Sounds more like a training device you get for yourself at home where you can justify the time necessary to be able to use that thing. Then again, at that price you're much better off getting a real bike and get the real experience, which is much more fun (even if it's raining).

Re:Why not just ride a bike? (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#36670010)

Huh? What? Here's a hint [blogspot.com] .

Re:Why not just ride a bike? (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 3 years ago | (#36670632)

Well there are a few advantages to being in the gym.
1. You have 365day 24 hours access, without problems of weather getting in the way. Biking in even an inch of snow is very tough and dangerous.
2. Not all roads are safe for bikers. I happen to live on some high volume county roads where there isn't much of a breakdown lane (if any) and a lot of large trucks drive by.
3. When biking you need to bike until you are Half warn out so you can turn around and go back the other way... Judging when you are half warn out is tough. A gym bike you can go on for a long time. Once you can't go any further you can stop without trying to figure out how to go back home.
4. You can increase your distance every day, normal biking (if you travel in a loop to prevent #3) you go the same distance.
5. You can try different methods, after a while you get use to your ride and once you switch you are off guard and realize you weren't as good as you thought you were.

Re:Why not just ride a bike? (1)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 3 years ago | (#36671612)

Although I agree with most advantages you list for biking in the gym, we should also list the advantages of real biking outside:

1. The fresh air and/or the lack of sweaty people right next to you.
2. You can see your surroundings. You can check out the scenery and you get a chance to get to know where you live.
3. It can actually get you from A to B. Like from home to work. And back.
4. You do not have a contract for 1 year with your bicycle. You just own it forever. And you can use it as much as you like.
5. Did I already mention that you can see new places? A route of 100 km can really give you endless possibilities... and it takes forever to exhaust all of them.

p.s. I disagree with your points 3 and 4. You can choose your route so that you stay relatively close to home in case you're getting too tired. In the most simple scenario, you can just drive circles around your house. You can also just bring lunch with you, and stop and rest when you get too tired. You can add small loops, or small sideroads to your route, you can make it just slightly longer quite easily.

Re:Why not just ride a bike? (1)

TheVision (223174) | more than 3 years ago | (#36671780)

Biking in even an inch of snow is very tough and dangerous.

Very tough? Dangerous? You're a lightweight. :)

I use these [suomityres.fi] during the winter. They work great.

Re:Why not just ride a bike? (1)

DudeTheMath (522264) | more than 3 years ago | (#36671262)

I live in sunny, flat Tampa. I have to drive half an hour (or ride an hour or more) to get to anything remotely resembling a decent hill. Increasing resistance on my trainer is one thing, but raising the nose of the bike at the same time would really help me practice climbs. It's not perfect, but it better simulates the necessary change in posture.

I recently returned to northern Virginia, where I first rode (what we then called) a ten-speed, and I thought, "I rode these hills?" Of course, fifteen miles was a really long ride for me then.

Google StreetView (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36670036)

Why not link this with Google StreetView, so you can get a real impression of where you are 'virtually' riding?

Re:Google StreetView (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36670138)

Why not link this with Google StreetView, so you can get a real impression of where you are 'virtually' riding?

My treadmill already does this with iFit Live (www.ifit.com). You can plot a route on Google Maps, it'll turn that into a program for the treadmill, and then as you run it you can use a tablet or laptop to virtually run the route via StreetView..

IRL (1)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 3 years ago | (#36670198)

Oh, and also integrate that smell-producing machine that was on Slashdot a few weeks ago so you can smell what the route would have smelt like (flowers, fruit trees, landfill, whatever).

And also hook in the sprinkler system and HVAC for virtual weather (heat/cold/humidity up/down), so you can experience exactly the kind of weather you'd have if you were really outside.

And also hook in street/trafffic cams so you can hear the sounds you would have heard if you deigned to go into the big room [urbandictionary.com] with the blue ceiling [wikipedia.org]

Air flow? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36670040)

The single biggest difference with any indoor riding vs outdoor is the lack of air flow as a result of the riding.

Re:Air flow? (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 3 years ago | (#36670652)

I have seen bikes where you peddle to power a fan that blows on you, the faster you peddle the more the fan blows.

Re:Air flow? (1)

Abstrackt (609015) | more than 3 years ago | (#36670832)

Wouldn't it be possible to hack together some kind of system with a propeller connected to the bike? The faster you go the faster it spins. The only problem would be the added resistance.

tilted screen, tilted space instead of tilted bike (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36670070)

Years ago while working on ergonomics we got a request to speed up traffic through tunnels. Drivers had no reference enough to the environment and pushed the gas pedal only when the car slowed down on the climb out. Lines on the tunnel walls that represented the actual level and even inclined a bit against the actual level did wonders. Drivers anticipated and pushed the gas pedal earlier.

Re:tilted screen, tilted space instead of tilted b (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 3 years ago | (#36670682)

I notice this walking through tunnels between underground stations. One of the tunnels between different lines at King's Cross St Pancras (London) is very steep, but the tiles/lines/decor is all parallel with the floor. It's quite disconcerting.

Re:tilted screen, tilted space instead of tilted b (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36672950)

Around here the city has been giving away trees for planting in the parking strip along city streets. Part of the reason why is the effect they have on pollution, but the other reason is that it tends to cause traffic to slow a bit and obey the speed limit.

I was somewhat skeptical myself, but I noticed that although I'm not one for speeding, that I would want to speed along streets with long stretches of nothing along one or both sides. It just seemed like I was getting nowhere even when I was going precisely the speed limit.

A few more enhancements. (1)

ResistanceIsIrritati (808817) | more than 3 years ago | (#36670188)

What about simulating pot-holes, sleeping policemen, traffic lights, etc. You set it to Hard Core Bike Courier mode and have buses pull out or car doors swing open in front of you and if you don't swerve or stop the bike ejects you forward like Buck-a-Roo.

Re:A few more enhancements. (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 3 years ago | (#36670656)

That would be so cool to watch in a gym.

Re:A few more enhancements. (1)

VolciMaster (821873) | more than 3 years ago | (#36670998)

Sounds like something that'll show up in an arcade before too long.

Good innovation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36670202)

The use of automobile are causing pollution everywhere, so the bike should be given more preference.

http://black1blue.blogspot.com/

google maps have topography data? (1)

pedantic bore (740196) | more than 3 years ago | (#36670236)

How does an ordinary mortal like me access this info?

Re:google maps have topography data? (1)

manoweb (1993306) | more than 3 years ago | (#36670360)

You click on the "Terrain" option. It is not available at the highest zoom levels, "go back" a little if it stays grayed out.

Re:google maps have topography data? (1)

alen (225700) | more than 3 years ago | (#36670664)

pay google for API access

Re:google maps have topography data? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36672830)

You can use the ElevationService in the API without paying for it. It's not hard to write a bit of javascript to use it.
http://code.google.com/apis/maps/documentation/javascript/services.html#Elevation

Re:google maps have topography data? (1)

Malc (1751) | more than 3 years ago | (#36670734)

Check out gmap-pedometer.com. I use this to plot running and hiking routes mostly. It has an option to show elevation changes.

Why am I on /. reading an ad? (0)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 3 years ago | (#36670348)

WTF. Is the news day that slow?

Not all that new (1)

Golden_Rider (137548) | more than 3 years ago | (#36670384)

I guess the only newsworthy thing is that you can use Google maps. I already tried out an exercise bike back in the 90s which used a video/large TV combo together with a course profile which was used to vary the resistance of the bike. So you could choose from a variety of recorded courses (e.g. Tour de France stages, etc.), put the video plus the course profile into the machine, and then when e.g. you saw a climb on the video, the resistance of the bike increased accordingly. So the only difference between that old thing and this news is that now you can choose whatever you want from Google maps (and the difference "tilting bike" vs. "simply increasing the resistance".

So what (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36670388)

Why do you need Google Maps to simulate hills and valleys?

Why not? (1)

ewanm89 (1052822) | more than 3 years ago | (#36670506)

Why not go get a push bike and actually go outside and cycle? Hell, if you really must go to the gym, cycle to it and back.

Re:Why not? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36672320)

because it's 119 degrees outside, or it's raining, or there's a crazy head wind, or you're afraid of becoming roadkill, etc. And many don't like gyms. Some people who are very introverted, like myself, would rather not spend our limited social energy on strangers at the gym. So, Hell, do what ever suits you.

Soon it will be an arcade game (1)

billrp (1530055) | more than 3 years ago | (#36670508)

multi-player where you cut off other bikes, crashes, noises, etc

I think I'll wait.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36670628)

...for the HoloDeck version. Meanwhile, I'm sticking with the real thing.

Way behind the times (1)

SuperGus (678577) | more than 3 years ago | (#36670704)

Equivalent functionality has been available for years. For example: Computrainer from http://www.racermateinc.com/ [racermateinc.com] (popular in the USA) or Fortius from http://www.tacx.com/ [tacx.com] (popular in Europe)

Re:Way behind the times (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36671018)

Yes, except the Google maps aspect... but I recall reading about this a few years ago so the slashdot posting is outdated

Real-time Topography? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36671150)

I think the big thing here is that Google Maps' topography is more likely to be up-to-date as opposed to that used in a recording on a large TV in front of the bike. This is a pretty cool application of Google's technology if you ask me.

Josh Loomis
http://maidenmedia.com/

Already exists, without Google Maps (1)

gubers33 (1302099) | more than 3 years ago | (#36671408)

The technology has been around for years, when I was in college they had bikes there where you would pick a course and the course would project on the screen looking like a video game with other riders. The pedaling resistance would increase and decrease as you would go up and down hills and you have to turn the bike and shift gears as well. Only difference here is the Google maps, which just seems like it is more advanced technology that would cost more, with no real upgrade to the training.

It Should Incorporate Street View (1)

guttentag (313541) | more than 3 years ago | (#36671412)

That way you can see the actual surroundings. Also, periodically the street view car comes by, the bike forces you to slow down so you can get off, turn your back and cover your face while waiting for it to pass.

This is nothing really new. (1)

RedShoeRider (658314) | more than 3 years ago | (#36671652)

http://www.tacxvr.com/en/products/tacx-trainer-software-real-life-video [tacxvr.com]

or, perhaps:

http://www.computrainer.com/rm_inc/IRCVideos.htm [computrainer.com]

Both products have been available for many years. The Tacx unit has an available steering head, so while you can' t lean the whole bike, you can turn and interact with the course. While the forward/backwards tilting is a new innovation, the interactive virtual trainer certainly is not. Both calculate wind resistance based on height and weight, resistance, etc. Both offer both birds-eye and immersive views.

look out (1)

gibbson (1358569) | more than 3 years ago | (#36672302)

I want to see it simulate a pot hole in NYC

*facepalm* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36673314)

Oh FFS just get on a real bike and go outside and ride on real streets! Even professional cycling coaches will tell you that riding indoors on any sort of trainer or stationary bicycle should be a last resort because it burns you out much quicker mentally than being outside on a real bike!

VR training has been around for a while... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36673406)

The tilt thing is a nice feature I guess, but the real value is the computer controlled resistance on the trainer. The people at RacerMate Inc., Tacx, ErgVideo and RideRunRow / Fitcentric have been doing VR cycling for years now, with computer controlled resistance and either computer generated "VR" graphics or POV camera footage linked to the workout profile. Tools for creating routes from GPS files (and converted Google Maps routes) have also been readily available for some time. In the case of RideRunRow's Netathlon, you can even ride / race against others online in real time on VR courses. Talk to them, draft behind them, the whole bit. With a good trainer like RacerMate's the experience is VERY realistic. Not saying this new development isn't good, but it's probably worth checking out the mature, stable technology first.

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