I’ve FINISHED! I’ve completed my journey cycling across Britain in virtual reality. If you’re thinking “what the?” here’s a video to explain…
My journey took 85 hours of cycling time spread over 8 months. I have the whole thing archived but if you’re the kind of person who doesn’t like sifting through hours of footage here’s another video with my entire journey compressed to 3 minutes!
You can see my latest Diary entry here.
And it turns out LOADS of people want to do the same thing! So I’m planning a Kickstarter. When it launches you’ll be able to buy a complete virtual reality kit and cycle anywhere in the world too. There’s plenty of questions that need to be answered before I can start the campaign so in the mean time you can hit the red “Sign Up Now” button on the right to join our community and help make CycleVR a reality everyone can enjoy.
I love it.i want one
Bike machine biky from Broughty Ferry
Hello Aaron Puzey
I saw your article on BBC and wanted to approach you after you successfully created your own App. You seemed like a nice guy and I was hoping you could offer some advice to me about an App idea which I have but don’t know where to start. I understand this is out of the blue but any guidance for be greatly apreciated!
All the best
Hello James. Feel free to use the contact page on this blog to talk to me directly about anything.
Fantastic achievement Aaron. I cycled Britain’s coast (in bits over 17 years) and it’s a great thing to do. I’ve now started a charity – http://www.tourdecoast.org.uk to install 100 sculptural way posts (or ‘Daymarks’ as we’re calling them) so that people can collect visits to them, whether cycling or by foot. It would be amazing to be able to do this through VR too. And I know that there’s a market for a product like yours too, including for people who can’t get out. Prisoners in a prison gym for example! Do get in touch if you think there’s a synergy here! Many congratulations again.
Hello Marcial. That sounds like exactly the sort of challenges I want to include in CycleVR. It’s not just about cycling from A to B but all the things in between. Feel free to contact me through the Contact page and we can talk directly.
Congratulations. I posted about your journey earlier in the trip.
Please tell me how the bicyclist navigates. Can you steer or do you follow a pre-programmed path? Are the pedals linked to the video so the scenery going by matches your speed?
Thanks! At the moment I follow a set path but a future version should allow me to change course if I want to. Yes the faster I pedal the faster I move in VR. I use a small sensor on the pedals which connects to my phone using Bluetooth to tell me how fast I’m cycling.
Please contact me at my ‘hidden’ email. What you are doing plays into some things I am also working on.
Just what I’ve been looking for! Really excited about this release.
Long life to CycleVR. I can see it being used everywhere very soon. I think it will be worthwhile to develop a version for eliptical walking simulator as well. Well done guys! Congratulations! You are the King of the VR fitness world!! You are making history with it!!
It’s look like Fantastic. Could I ask a question ?
Did you fix 360 spheres transitions ? I mean , when you driving your cycle, Is there any gap between views ?
Thanks! There’s no gaps in between views. I simply turn one sphere off and turn a new one on (that’s why you get the obvious jumping in my videos). The rider is always inside one of the spheres.
I just can’t wait please release it as a kit soon. Will support kickstarter.
Wonderful, what a great idea. Just the thing to get me back on an exercise bike.
Count me in when you get the Kickstarter campaign under way.
Go for it.
Would love it if this could link to a smart turbo trainer to change resistance depending on virtual gradient. What’s the chance of that?
Absolutely that’s definitely something I want to include!
Fantastic potential – a great achievement and so far to go (sorry for the pun)…
A link to a turbo trainer will be great for cadence and resistance. The the world is your oyster. Link to a fan and heatlamp to recreate weather…..one step too far maybe.
I’ve signed up for news when the crowdfunding starts…
Hi Aaron, congratulations on your achievement, not only the VR and technical achievement but also probably some weight loss which many are forgetting to mention. I can definitely see the potential in this and would love to be involved.
I am a paraplegic of 28 years and confined to a wheelchair but still keep fit by using hand cranked bikes and in particular a stationary hand cranked machine with resistance. The only problem is, just like anyone else on a bike and a training wheel, it gets very boring! My question to you is, can you use the hardware on a hand cranked machine, (which would open up the market for people with disabilities) and if so could it be easily installed as a kit?
Keep up the good work and perhaps you should start your next cycle journey to where I live here in Perth, Western Australia!
Well done mate,
Hey Richard. I’m originally from just down the road in Bunbury. Such a small world.
In answer to your questions, absolutely yes and in fact I have a cycling pod which I’ve used for exactly the purpose you descibe. The Cadence monitor I use works on anything with a roughly circular motion so you could also use it running or rowing. But that’s another story 🙂 The device can be fitted to ANY equipment because you just sticky tape on to whatever you want to monitor.
Blimey it is a small world!! Bunbury lad hey, I was born just north of Manchester but it’s so much better here. Anyway, it sounds like a kit would be the way to go particularly if it’s easy to fit and can fit just about anything.
With regards to some other questions you put ‘out there’ under the kickstarter tab, I’d like to make my comment…..
1. I have an iPhone 7 and this is going to be popular for any iPhone so that’s a must for the software/hardware to work for.
2. I would prefer a ‘one off’ payment without a subscription as that would put me off. I know it’d be good for you, (steady income) but this is going to go global anyway, so no worries there! Upgrades could follow for a nominal fee.
3. How about surveying everyone who’s’ shown interest so far and contacted you, i.e. using ‘survey monkey’ to answer your predetermined questions….
4. Also, contact everyone who’s shown interest so far and offer a ‘beta’ trial version for a couple of months to gain valuable hands on feed back. I for one would be interested.
I do have other suggestions but the ones I’ve put forward will do for now.
Hope to hear from you soon.
Fantastic stuff thanks Richard. Just so you know I’m working towards number 4 right now so watch this space!
Hook this up to turbo trainers through ANT+ so the resistance can be varied based on gradient (as many ANT+ trainers already do in their propriety software or third party offerings like Zwift and BKool) and you’ll have something really interesting.
Great start though, I’d love to give it a go.
I have i bike in my home do can i tratsform it into vr bike
Yes CycleVR can be used with ANY bike.
Hi Aaron, I watched you several months back on BBC and thought this was a fantastic idea ! I only dreamed way back then that yourself or someone out there would turn your idea( cycling using streetview) into a reality for us mere mortals. I will certainly be keeping a close eye on kickstarter progress. I do however remember that when you started your adventure from lands end you complained of steaming up inside of your headset/sweating into eyes ! was this still an issue throughout your journey?
Hi David. The problem of steaming up was solved fairly early on by using a spray on the lenses similar to what divers use on their goggles. I got a bottle of Jaws Quick Spit from Amazon and it worked perfectly.
That’s good to hear. In regards to the financial side of things my thoughts would be to keep the app cheap/free with minimal features/advertisements. And then give people the option of paying a fee so they receive advanced options. If it was a pay monthly thing it would put me off.keep up the good work!
Fabulous idea and well done for bringing it to ‘reality’ :-). How difficult was it to program? How many man hours put in? Do you have to get permission to use Google imagery?
I have a similar idea that you could, presumably very easily, bring to reality….?
Many people use GPS trackers. I use the RoadID App when I’m out cycling so that my wife can follow me in real time from the comfort of her sofa. It sends my position every minute or so. What I would like is for her to be able to see the terrain that I am seeing. IE the Streetview images at each of my locations. Direction of view would be based upon my current and previous point.
Is it feasible? How long would it take to do?
I have absolutely no idea where or how to start.
Best of thanks.
Initially it took me about 3 weeks of night times plus ongoing maintenance. Google allow anyone to use their imagery for personal use.
I really like your idea. In theory it wouldn’t take long at all to develop. Unfortunately I know nothing about GPS trackers or how to make apps for them but once you can get the location information the Street View image is very easy to call up in a web browser. If a web based app already exists to show a Google Map I should think it would take a matter of hours for the original developer to add a Street View window as well.
Aaron, such a cool idea. I had the same thought to make cycle training less boring when the company I worked for decades ago started using car mounted video cameras to record the maintenance status of highway verges and street furniture. This was long before Google street view and limited to motorways so not much fun. In the end I decided to cycle the ‘longest straight line in Britain’ on my folding bike in the non virtual world and devised an on and off-road (mainly on canal towpaths in middle England) scenic route from the Isle of Wight to Cape Wrath in NW Scotland. I devised it to encourage cycling and averaged 5 mph specifically to enjoy great landscapes, local food and drink and points of interest (I write books on such things and landscape study is my profession). Even with a folding bike and a leisurely pace/rest day in Edinburgh it was programmed to take just two weeks and two days and despite wet weather was enormous fun, you can see some of it here http://www.planetranger.com/longslowandwiggly/ Obviously, a VR version of this (or its nearest road / street view equivalent) would be exciting. I’m very happy to collaborate further if you want to get in touch. Yes I have been to Bunbury too ? Cheers, Duncan Mackay
I have been looking for something like this, but for use with my ifit compatible treadmill. Would this work for walking on a treadmill?
Yes it will work though I’m using a Gear VR which doesn’t track your head movement which means you wont see your bobbing up and down movement as you walk. Other, more expensive systems do have head tracking and I’m planning on supporting them in the future.
Hi Aaron, fantastic invention. Something I have been looking for for ages.
The Navy have exercise bikes and rowing machines on their ships (well they did 20 years ago when I was in it). I am sure that they would be interested in a system like this to help with boredom at sea.
Could the same technology be used to row on the rivers and canals of the UK if strapped to a rowing machine? (not sure if Google Maps do waterways!).
Hi Emsity. Thanks. My system will go anywhere the Google car has been so yes there are some waterways that have been mapped (not sure about canals in the UK). Once I’ve got everyone in the world cycling in VR I plan on looking at rowing too 🙂
You’re onto something here. I find exercise utterly tedious. Could you add some zombies and a gun?
Now you’re talking my language (I’m a game developer by day). Actually I do plan on putting in some ‘gamification’ in this to encourage people to use it so watch this space.
This could be the best cycle training tool ever! I can manage about 10 minutes on the turbo before I want to kill myself! Imagine this linked to Zwift or Trainer Road. I just hope you can get the street view images to load fast enough to make it seamless, as they load so slowly on google maps. Throw in some real world audio to be totally immersive and you could spend hours riding around without ever leaving home. Less risk of punctures too 🙂
Hi Simon. Actually on my connection it loads much faster than what’s required so it’s totally seamless. I guess it comes down to your connection speed. And yes real world audio would add a great deal to the experience.
Shit up and take my money! Seriously how do I get one of these? Looks fantastic.
Typo. Of course that should have been ‘shut’, sorry.
Haha! what a typo as well! Unfortunately my app is no where near ready. I’m currently trying it out on the public and getting their reactions so I can be clear on who I’m making this for and what problem it solves for them. If you subscribe to the mailing list I’ll let you know as soon as things develop.
Hey, great work on this app!
You said you’ll eventually support more advanced systems and I’m curious how far along are you with that plan? We’d love to see this on the vive. 🙂
I was thinking of building something similar but strapping the vive controllers to my shins so the speed information translates smoothly into VR. Do you think that could work?
Also, could more consecutive panoramas be “merged” together in order to minimize the slight “hop” you get inbetween them? Maybe these merging calculations can take place on the fly while you’re still in the previous merged group?
Congrats for the epic run and good luck with your future plans!
At the moment I’m testing this out on the public and getting their reactions to it to try and see what kind of people really want to use this. That will take me a while to work out and once I’m clear on who to make it for I’ll start proper development (which could take a good while). I’ll be looking at supporting all the big names like Vive and Oculus.
Controllers on your shins would work fine in fact you’d only need to use 1 because you only need to track cadence to approximate speed.
I found that having more frequent panoramas was actually worse because the scene was never stable for very long. With my current system, although there are big pops the scene is stable for around 2 seconds before it changes. I’ve thought about trying to merge 3d information from one panorama to the next but the data is so low-fi I don’t think you could ever produce a better result that not merging at all.
Any chance it’ll work with a treadmill? Or is it somehow tied into the stationary bike itself?
In theory it could work but there are 2 problems with my current system 1) as you bob up and down the goggles will tend to bounce up and down on your head and 2) for the VR to work you’d need a headset that supports headtracking meaning as you move your head up and down your VR view will also change correspondingly. My current set up doesn’t support headtracking but new headsets are always coming out so it’s only a matter of time before someone makes one cheap and light enough.
Looks really cool. 1 thing you should think about is, if people work up a good sweat, how will the headgear be affected?
Yes that’s definitely an issue. I managed to deal with it on my journey by having a fan running in front of me. Alternatively I’ve tried a few headsets that has much harder, wipe down surfaces.
fantastic job mate. I’d love to try this out on iPhone.
Thanks! iPhone is definitely something I want to support. I’ve been looking at different headsets available but none of them are as good as the GearVR so far. New ones come out frequently so it’s only a matter of time.
which cadence device works well with this app?
At the moment the only one I’ve tried is the Wahoo RPM. It’s wireless, magnet-less and fairly cheap. Just in case you’re about to run out and buy one, CycleVR isn’t ready for use yet and won’t be ready for some time. Thanks.
Hi Aaron , realy amazing stuff you did here, brilliant idea with so many applications , i think it has a great future. I was wondering how hard was to develop the app ? I am asking this because i have something in mind similar to what you did in terms of google streetview but not related to the bike but i am just starting to learn programing. What programming language should i learn? Is it posible to learn how to develop an app like this? I know it sound silly but i woul really appreciate an advice or some guidance!
Hi Constantin, thanks very much! It wasn’t all that hard to develop, if you check out my Info/Development page I briefly describe how I did it. I used Unity to make the app which is programmed in c#. If you’re just starting out programming I’d suggest this is probably a bit steep as it covers a number of potentially tricky areas like 3d graphics, bluetooth communication, web acccess and texture management.
thanks aaron for your reply, very kind of you !
I live in China and have access to internet for sure. But Google service has been blocked in China. Is it possible to use Tencent map or Baidu map instead to travel in UK or somewhere else? Thanks for your time.
Hi Jianan. That’s a really interesting question and something I’ve not considered. I’ll need to investigate. Thanks
It would be greatly appreciated if you update me by email in future. Thanks
No problem. If you just click the ‘Sign Up Now’ button you can enter your email address and receive emails when things change.
Thanks so much!
this is what i’ve been dreaming of since gps came out for consumers to buy, i want to be able to have google street view when i drive on the screen instead of maps, but then i need to get into shape and i purchased a bike called the fitdesk (https://www.amazon.com/FitDesk-Desk-Exercise-Bike-Massage/dp/B00CM9CBZY) which is a lazy persons version of a exercise bike but i love it, now if your system can adapt to this that would be great. also the desk holds my laptop so if i could hook it up to the vr or the laptop is that possible? Im ready to purchase this software or system however you will put it on kickstarter. i sold my galaxy gear vr because i had no use for it but now i do! do you have an idea of pricing? sign me up!
Hi Justin. CycleVR will work with ANY exercise bike. Unfortunately I don’t have a clear idea of how much it will cost yet. I’m in the process of doing market research to find out who would use this and what/how they’d be prepared to pay for it. If you sign up to the mailing list I can email you when I’ve got something to share. Thanks
I am very interested in the products I found at http://www.cyclevr.com/. I want to know some information.
– How much is a set of cycling machine and VR?
– If I have cycling machine, what should I buy to make it combine with VR?
Would you please help me to clarify the above questions?
Thank you for your attention.
Me encantó tu viaje.. espero poder realizar algo similar.. saludos desde MEXICO.
Hi! Fantastic idea! But … will google let you use those images? I imagine they own them.
I really hope this works out for you – and all of us.
Congratulation for this great job.
But i have a question, the smartphone app will be a free or paid one, and if so how would you mange google imagery copyright.
Hi Wessim. That’s something still to be worked out. There are a few options but it could be I’d have to licence it from Google. Obviously that comes at a cost which I’d pass back to the consumer. This could be done through advertising, a subscription or some other means.
I would like to set up a system for biking (or maybe just navigating with a handset) along an Olympic Torch Relay route. Can you send me information on how to bring Google Street View into a VR development system such as Unity?
Try this for starters http://www.cyclevr.com/development/
Hey! I made a VR bike in the 90s to play DOOM. Hooked the bike up to the X-axis of a joystick. It worked good for that because there was no looking up or down. Now I have the HTC Vive. I saw the VirZoom but I wasn’t willing to shell out $400 for something I already made over 20 years ago. I made a new VR bike by hacking into an x-box controller. Any chance you will get this working with HTC Vive with the option of using a xbox axis for speed control?