Mike and I were talking about people training for the Tour de France a few months ago. He actually suggested that it would be so cool if someone filmed video of roads and turned them into a game where you could ride your bike on famous bike courses. Tacx beat us to it and they have executed it well.
We talked about the Tacx VR bike trainers back in June, but seeing it in person really sells this product.
You can choose your ride from a large selection of bike race courses. The screen shows you the elevation that you will achieve (it will increase the resistance on your bike when the elevation gets steeper). I chose a course in the Alps that is on the Tour de France.
Once you start riding on your course, you see a real video of the road that you would be riding on. You see cars pass you and the scenery is perfect. I was riding on a steep incline, so it was very difficult for me and got my heart rate far higher than it needed to be to get into the high intensity range.
I only lasted 3/4 of a mile at that intensity. There are easier courses, of course, but this gave me an idea of what it must be like for those cyclists to take on the mountains in Europe. The equipment seems well made. The bike trainer looks like it’s relatively easy to attach to your bicycle, even though it doesn’t have a quick release like my CyclOps trainer has.
I was really impressed with the Tacx employee demonstrating the product and I enjoyed playing with the software. They also make a trainer that includes the steering in the game, which is intriguing. I didn’t try that one out, but I watched another conventioneer try it. She dropped her player on his head. He just got back up on the bike and kept cycling. That’s the reason virtual reality is better than actual reality. A real wipe out on the trail involves picking gravel out of my bloody skin and hoping I don’t have a concussion.
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