If you have ever been to gym with brand new equipment you may have noticed that some exercise bikes have large LCD screens. It is common for the screen to display a simulation which translates your time on a bike into a virtual bike course of your choice. Imagine upgrading that experience by immersing yourself in a virtual reality game simulating the bike ride. Not only would it take your mind off of the dreaded pedaling, but it would make for a fun experience at the same time.
VR Rider can be downloaded for free. Simply turn on your headset, download the zip file, run the program and you can start cycling in VR. The cool thing is that you do not need to use any sort of controllers or move from one spot in order to get the full experience out of VR Rider.
The menu selection is done simply by looking at the options you would like to choose. Furthermore the basic commands such as drive, stop, and jump can all be done by moving your head.
In order to cycle simply move your head left and right, to stop simply pull your head back, and to jump move your head forward. One thing to keep in mind is that all the head movements can cause some simulation sickness. While cycling myself I felt a bit lightheaded after taking off the headset. However, I tried the game while sitting on a chair and not while exercising on a gym bike as the directions suggest.
A nice feature of the game is that it allows you to go off the designated path and explore the terrain. As shown in the video, you can go 30+ MPH on a rocky mountain terrain which is fun in itself. However, those that are new to VR may experience some motion sickness form the fast movements of the simulation. Check out this video which gives an overview of what the simulation is like:
Overall, the game could use some improvements to its frame-rate and the jerkiness of the virtual world, however the idea behind the concept is great and could be of great fun to indoor cycling enthusiasts. If you have a VR headset and a stationary bike, you have no excuses not to try out VR Rider.
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