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One man is cycling the length of Britain in VR

A custom Gear VR app shows his progress in Google Street View.
Nick Summers, @nisummers
August 9, 2016
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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 displays Street View imagery while he's riding. Using a Bluetooth cadence sensor, which tracks how fast he's pedalling, the app knows when to manipulate and change the panoramas, giving the impression that he's travelling. His 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 something to strive for, and along the way he's 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, descending as a brisk breeze hits your face -- those sensations are hard to replicate. Still, it's an impressive achievement, and one that's probably cheaper than most commercial VR cycling experiences.

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