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One man is cycling the length of Britain in VR

Engadget logo Engadget 9/08/2016 Nick Summers

Exercise bikes can be a little boring. Even with some music or mindless TV in the background, it's a mind-numbing workout. Pedalling, pedalling, pedalling. Not for Aaron Puzey. The Brit has developed an app for Samsung's Gear VR headset which shows Street View panoramas as he rides. Using a Bluetooth cadence sensor, which tracks how fast he's pedalling, the app is able to warp and switch the pictures to give the sensation that he's travelling. The ultimate goal? To ride the length of Britain, from Land's End in Cornwall to John O'Groats in Scotland.

Puzey started his journey in May and is currently just North of Manchester. He films each ride, commenting on the scenery and explaining the next place on his pre-planned route. The frame is cut into three parts -- a shot of his living room, the view inside the VR headset, and a basic map of Britain. Sure, the concept is a little silly -- and the Street View transitions are jarring -- but the project is a novel way of blending exercise, geography and exploration. It's given Puzey a goal to strive for, and along the way he's been able to soak up the UK's natural splendour, albeit in a crude form.

Of course, it's no substitute for riding outdoors. Battling up a steep hill, then descending through a brisk breeze -- those sensations are hard to beat. Still, it's an impressive achievement, and one that's probably cheaper than the commercial VR cycling experiences we've seen so far.

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