Cycling is a very popular activity throughout the world, whether because bicycles provide a great way of exercising with minimal risk of injury or because they are very cheap and pollution-free ways of transport. Whichever the reason, there are plenty of cyclists in the world who cycle on a daily basis, not counting the professionals.
Virtual reality technology has been developing rapidly and today it is something occasionally seen in almost all areas of life. Because the hardware behind virtual reality is getting better, we see it implemented into everything from video games to actual workout programs. From flight academies to combat simulators, virtual reality is changing the way we do things.
For cyclists, it is only starting to change things. Here are some examples.
CycleVR – A Man’s Experiment with Cycling in Virtual Reality
If you are the kind of person who would like to see the world on a bicycle but are not too fond of all the road hazards and health hazards which long-range travel implies, then this would be a great solution for you.
CycleVR is a project from Aaron from the UK. He made an application using Unity and data extracted from the StreetView Explorer application, which allows you to cycle in virtual reality. His bike trainer has a cadence monitor which feeds data into the application. Unfortunately, the application is not ready for the general audience, but Aaron has successfully cycled the length of the UK in virtual reality.
More development on an application such as this would propel indoor cycling into the future. The application was planned for the iOS and Android devices, respectively. Even though Aaron managed to cycle the length of the UK, other cyclists will still have to wait for this technology to develop further.
Ford’s Safety Program
Ford Europe started a safety program in the UK which aims to promote empathy and mindfulness in traffic, particularly between cyclists, motorists and car drivers. The program is called Share The Road and it allows users of the WheelSwap VR tool to view footages in virtual reality, from the perspective of cyclists and motorists, showing various everyday hazards.
Cyclists, motoris and even car drivers often complain about each other on forums, social media and YouTube, but rarely does a person get to experience such an event from the safety of their own home. The aim of this program is to promote empathy and mindfulness, by reminding drivers that everyone has a bad day and can get impatient or angry and that others and yourself, can suffer for it. Other parts of the campaign, which are not in VR, include truck drivers and cyclists trading places, to experience each other’s positions in traffic.
Bike Trainers and VR
There are plenty of bike trainers which connect to certain applications which provide a somewhat bearable VR experience. They are few, however, some of them expensive. The roads and maps you get to cycle on are not really as entertaining as they could be, if actual footage of the world was used.
Cycling has yet to receive proper virtual reality support and games or maps. While there are some projects like CycleVR, there has yet to be a proper and solid fusion of cycling and virtual reality, a solution which could easily be recommended.