In the title of this post, above, the word “really” can, or should, be thought of in several ways. The “really” could seem happy, shocked, skeptical, or some combination. For all of them, the answer is:
Like many people, I spent far too many hours playing video games. In the decades I played them, the total was likely thousands of hours, maybe tens of thousands. I’ve always been an enthusiastic lad.
About a decade ago, I gave up video games since I fell in love with running, cycling, and workouts with some sweat. This blog started with one of those workouts. In 2011, I completed my first bike tour by cycling across Britain, 1,100 miles. That ride will always be special to me since I lived in London for 7 years and will always love the place and the island it’s on, Britain.
Getting back to the present, I cycled in Britain again a few days ago—on almost the exact bike route I cycled in 2011. The virtual route I cycled is below. The first picture is zoomed out and shows Southern England with London on the right. The second picture zooms in to show my virtual route more closely, in Southwest England.
I didn’t fly to Britain, sadly, I cycled there using a video game—and enjoyed lots of sweat. The “cyclist” below is my avatar in the game, wearing clothing and a bike I chose.
The video game is called Rouvy, and it has thousands of miles of bike routes with real-world video. Some of those routes are very close to the route I cycled in 2011.
The little wheel behind the bike tire is very important. That little wheel adds resistance to the bike tire when I see a hill in the real-world video. And sometimes, that little wheel creates a lot of resistance.
When I see a steep hill on my virtual rides, the resistance feels the same as cycling up a mountain road, in real life. During those moments, on virtual rides, it’s no longer a video game. It’s hard, so I shift all the way down, groan, and sweat just like I do when cycling outside. The picture below is from my recent virtual ride when the road was very steep. The chart in the upper-left shows how steep the road was.
In the upper-left of the picture, the number by the chart show 14%. That’s the grade of the hill, real or virtual. In real-life, I sometimes push my bike up hills with a grade of 14%. That’s something I can’t do on virtual rides. 🙂
There are many more ways I’ve been enjoying my smart bike trainer, like:
- Virtual bike rides with friends who live in Minnesota and Florida, while we talk and laugh with a phone call. On these rides, we use the app with real-world video described above.
- Virtual bike rides in a video-game world made just for cyclists. The video-game worlds do not contain real-world video, but they have fun sights in the video-game world. There’s also 1,000s of cyclists from around the (real) world. I’ve cycled with 100s of real cyclists at the same time, in the video-game world. A few of us talk and laugh in an audio call during the ride, from several states and countries.
- Workouts on my own when the winter weather is warm and rainy, while listening to my favorite music.
Items in the list above are all topics for later. For now, I just wanted to say with certainty that cycling video games do exist, and they have some very nice scenery, sweating, and other cyclists who want to share the ride.