Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

Virtual Cycling Adventures

So last year I got myself a VR headset, which I generally really enjoy.  Well it turns out this is a good year for one ;).  Especially as the gym is closed and it's *snowing* out.  Ugh.

Yesterday I connected with VZfit -- which is VR cycling that can work with any stationary bike that has one of several sensors (conveniently the one I have is one of the viable options).   Win!  They have two options:  Explorer, which essentially lets you ride anywhere in the world that has google street view, and Play, which is games - some racing, some shooting, some both.  From what I can tell.

So step one -- getting everything set up.   Email company and they send me the relevant link.  Click on it, connect to my Quest and...  It worked?!?!   Lol I really had doubts but sure enough both games were in my menu.  Download and good to go.

Tried Explorer first.  It gave me a registration code which I needed to put in their website (a bit of a pain since the code is in VR and website on computer but okay) -- however, it worked and away I went.  It has you start peddling so it can identify your sensor and focus on a certain point so it can "centre" your bike (eg - have the handlebars look like your handlebars).

Then it was just a matter of picking where I wanted to ride; there are a series of recommended rides, so I started with one of those -- Sedona, Arizona.  So...  Pluses and minuses.   BIG plus -- in 15 minutes I was puffing away and sweating.  So it definitely is giving me a good workout.   Less good -- the graphics are definitely first generation VR.   While it's stunning to look around, close graphics (eg road signs) look like they're lying flat down, and the graphics refresh about every two seconds and everything pixelates while that happens.   Less fun, but I've high hopes for as the tech evolves.  

You can choose to have a trainer -- my workout increased exponentially when I did that.  Trainer can do interval, HIIT, or ...  something else -- Heart I think.    I tend to hate HIIT with a passion, so I was going with Interval, and quite enjoyed it.  Basically pedal to keep up with him/her.  You can set the level of difficulty which changes how fast you have to pedal to keep up.  Of course you can also change the tension, which in my completely non-tech bike, has no impact on the game whatsoever (to be fair, I don't think it has that capability for anything yet, but I suspect it will come).   You steer by leaning -- the first time I nearly fell off the bike.  Lol -- my VR bike reacted more strongly than I'd expected and since it really does trick the mind into thinking you're really riding, my body reacted accordingly.   lol less effective when you're not actually tipping over!   Once I got the hang of it though, I kinda love it.

I learned to be careful if I sit up (and let go of the handles) because when I lean back down my bike handles are not *exactly* in the same position as the VR bike handles.  If I reach for those, I will miss.    It's also slightly creepy to look down and see the shadow of your bike peddling away with no shadow of rider and no feet in the pedals ;)

I also tried a trip in Italy that I'm enjoying WAY more.  So will take a while before I get to try all the ones I want to.  In the Arizona one, I was disproportionately disappointed when I cycled past a DQ and couldn't stop for a treat!  lol - Italy is safer ;).  At least the area I'm cycling in has nothing I recognize.

So let's see, what else...  You can see how far is left in the ride, but no way to see how far you've gone.  Sad.  Apparently that's in the backlog.  Can switch several views and first-third person.  Trainers are optional and available both male/female.  Apparently there's music, but I haven't found that yet (nor do I really want to).  Some stats available on the website which will be nice long term.

Customer service so far has been amazing.  Both via email and on their FB page.  Super impressed with the FB correspondence.

Down side -- I can't make the game work.   Apparently a known bug with my combo of tech -- which, plus side, the fix is being released sometime today.  So will hopefully be able to update tomorrow :).  Where I may go back to Italy, or I may ride a unicorn...   Time will tell ;)