If you don't like cycling alone on a trainer all winter, you might be interested in Zwift or ebove. Both of these systems let indoor cyclists "virtually" ride on animated roads or trails, along with other cyclists who join them via the internet and appear as avatars. Perhaps, however, that computer-generated scenery just isn't cutting it for you. In that case, VeloReality’s VRide Multi may be more to your liking. It's similar to those other multi-player systems, but it uses actual HD first-person video shot on various scenic roads around the world.

To use VRide Multi, cyclists need a compatible ANT+ trainer, along with a Windows computer. They also need to download the free VRide software, along with videos of the individual ride locations they wish to visit – those videos sell for approximately US$11 each. Additionally, a monthly subscription fee of about $5-$10 will be required (for comparison, Zwift's subscription fee is $10/month).

Once they load up one of the videos, they'll see a view of the road, shot from a cyclist's point of view. Instead of simply playing back at the speed at which it was shot, however, the speed at which the scenery moves by will be determined by how fast the user is pedaling. If the user's trainer supports the function, the pedaling resistance will also change to match onscreen climbs and descents.

Should users want some company/motivation, they can first view a world map on the software, which will display the locations at which other VRide Multi users are currently virtually riding. If they own any of the videos for those locations, users can then load them up, and fast-forward to the point in the route where the other rider (or group of riders) presently is. That person's name will then appear on the screen along with a simple avatar, indicating their real-time speed and position on the road.

The basic offline version of the system launched a couple of years ago, with VeloReality now offering videos of 60 different "world-famous rides." The multi-player aspect was just introduced recently, however, and is in an open beta phase until this September. People interested in trying it out will get three free videos, and won't have to pay subscription fees during that period.

Source: VeloReality

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