Photo courtesy of Pro-Form

Cycle Through France Via Google Maps

France Cycling
by Michelle Schusterman Jul 6, 2011
Pro-Form’s new stationary bike simulates the Tour de France.

Last weekend I raced down the bobsled track at Olympic Park in Utah; the same one built for the 2002 Olympics. Before that stomach-churning ride, a tour guide and member of the 2010 U.S. women’s luge team told us about the track’s 15 turns, 4 Gs of force and how athletes train for the games.

“No two tracks are alike,” she says. “The best way to ask an athlete about her time is to ask what her favorite track is first – then ask her best time on that track.”

It’s the same for cyclists – no two races are the same. So while stationary bikes are great for generally keeping in shape, they don’t compare to the real deal when it comes to training for events like the Tour de France.

Which is what inspired Pro-Form to create Le Tour de France Indoor Cycle, a stationary bike that uses Google Maps technology to simulate the terrain of one of the tour’s 24 routes. Once the rider picks a route or creates his own, he’ll see a satellite image of that area on the control panel. The bike tilts up or down according to the terrain.

Wind can affect a cyclist’s time as much as terrain, which is why the bike also has an Intelligent Wind Resistance system. I don’t think it could do justice to the face-peeling winds I experienced on the bobsled, but at least cyclists can get a feel for their big race.

Pro-Form Le Tour de France Indoor Cycle: $1,299

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