Introduction: Google Maps + Exercise Bike = Virtual Bike Ride

Picture of Google Maps + Exercise Bike = Virtual Bike Ride
Hook up your exercise bike to Google Maps and turn your boring stationary bike into a virtual reality excursion!

Step 1: Parts List

Picture of Parts List
To do this project, you're gonna need to gather a few parts:

Step 2: How This Will Work

Picture of How This Will Work

The premise behind how this works is pretty simple. The magnetic alarm runs off of a reed switch that connects every time a magnet is near it. So if we connect this switch to the up arrow key on the keypad, then every time a magnet passes by, the switch will connect and the button will be pressed. So if you have Google Maps open, pressing the up button will propel you forward.

Step 3: Solder the Alarm to the Keypad

Picture of Solder the Alarm to the Keypad

Open up the keypad until you see the circuit boards that comprise it. Find which circuits connect to trigger the up arrow key (or key 8) and connect the wires to it. Since there are thousands of different keypads available on the market, yours will not look exactly like the one I used in this example. But in my case, I was able to find that circuits 4 and 3 (shown in the graphic below) connected when the up arrow key was pressed. So I traced those circuits back to the main logic board and soldered the alarm wires to them, so that when the alarm is tripped, it triggers the up arrow.

Step 4: Test the Rig

Picture of Test the Rig

Once you have the wires connected to the button, put everything back together. You may need to cut some of the plastic casing in order to accommodate the extra wires we added. Now plug the USB keypad into your computer and open up and make it full screen. Then you'll need to hit the numlock key on the keypad to turn the number lock off. Now whenever you pass a magnet by the alarm switch, the map should move forward.

Step 5: Connect the Rig to an Exercise Bike

Picture of Connect the Rig to an Exercise Bike

After you have it working properly, you want to attach the rig to an exercise bike. I duct taped the alarm switch to the front bike wheel and the magnet to the bike peddal. This is so that everytime the pedal makes a rotation, it will trigger the alarm switch. Then run the wires up to the laptop, which you should place somewhere in front of the bike. Now just hop on the bike and start peddling and enjoy the scenery! If you want more information on this project, please visit the website that provided the inspiration for this video (


bhvm (author)2017-08-12

Absolutely Genius!

SamiW4 (author)2016-09-29

Do you think this would work for my stationary arm bike?

EddieB17 (author)2015-12-11

Wow. Very similar to what I was looking for. On days that the weather doesn't suit me, I can set up my roadbike and magnetic trainer in just about any room with a PC and a display suitable enough to make the experience less boring and more aesthetically convincing. With two magnetic sensors, one on the crank and another on the rear wheel and other bio-metric(?) monitors, a little software on the PC could chart whatever any bicycle trip computer could, and then some. Maybe even control resistance for uphill/downhill/level terrain simulation.Then there's the possibility of group casual or competitive rides locally or all over the world that could happen without the weather or distance being a factor. Not to mention the health and medical benefits for charting and comparisons to encourage consistency with the convenience. But for the simplicity and ease of building, the Virtual Bike Ride Project is hard to beat!

kathleen.beacon (author)2015-04-19

This is a simple set-up and quite workable. For more utility, though, I think a feedback into the trainer, those with magnetic resistance, that would vary the wattage/speed would add to the realism and exercise utility. It would take things like air resistance, weight of bicycle and user, speed and incline into the resistance formula.

WalidM (author)2015-03-26

nice idea

redlohnewo (author)2014-09-21

How could I adapt this for a treadmill(running machine)?

Future Dezign (author)2014-09-05

Loved your project. Suggestion, Make it better with a virtual reality headset. Keep up the good work!

Future Dezign

roboshark28 (author)2013-11-30

This is tinker nuts idea

mykiscool (author)2013-07-03

What I'm doing right now is making a thing like this for the play station. I am making a speed sensor with arduino that depending on the speed of the bike will press down the pedal for a racing pedal using a servo. I will also find a way put the front wheel on a turntable and connect that to the wheel.

mahkeymike (author)2013-06-07

If you lift the cover off the treadmill where the motor is, theres a wheel that already has a magnet on it, and there should already be a speed sensor mounted so the magnet on the wheel passes over it. Tap into that or buy a bicycle speedometer and a sensor should come with it and you can mount that near the other sensor so that the magnet passes that sensor aswell.

mrworf (author)2013-03-30

Why don't you just drive a real bike?

techboy411 (author)2011-12-29

You are a GENIUS! You are the best in these things.

GameNox (author)2010-12-26

It's not really a "hack".

alltootechnical (author)2010-11-19

Upload it to Google Demo Slam!

godofal (author)2010-06-26

hmm, im stunned by how people always find new way's to to exactly the same as before! what improvement is there, compared to just grabbing your bike and go out for real? you actually see alot less!! nice idea, and instructable, its just that i think that's a bit odd....

steve5006 (author)godofal2010-10-30

Things like this are very useful in places such as Canada where the biking season is only about 4 months long on a good year

rabidy (author)godofal2010-06-26

sometimes you want to take a bike ride but its raining, or too hot. or too cold.

godofal (author)rabidy2010-06-29

iknow, but what kind of wussies are we? we wont melt XD

Teaeyeem (author)godofal2010-06-29

bikes rust

godofal (author)Teaeyeem2010-07-01

if ur bike rusts, u got a bad bike....

TheChemiker (author)godofal2010-07-01

No kidding.

mason0190 (author)TheChemiker2010-07-16

dude bikes rust all the time.

TheChemiker (author)mason01902010-07-17

Only cheap ones rust quickly, and if you take care of your bike, it won't rust. I've taken my bike on many rides in the rain, I just bring it inside afterwards and it never rusts. Bikes only rust if you let them sit outside 24/7.

mason0190 (author)TheChemiker2010-07-18

when you have a garage full of $#!7, a tarp over the bike doesnt work, just leave it out. i have a leaky garage too

scraptopower (author)Teaeyeem2010-07-01

And everyone knows carbon bikes melt in the rain! ;)

Light_Lab (author)godofal2010-07-02

Last time I went out in the real world on my bike a pack of teenagers in a car had target practice driving past and spitting on me. Anyway I would rather ride a virtual bike around the Grand Canyon or along the streets of Tokyo than around my suburban block for real. Another thing, In my current condition, I think it would be easier for the ambulance driver to find my body at home rather than a nondescript "somewhere around the block" {^..^}.

jlms (author)godofal2010-07-01

You don't live in London (or any other big town with poor cycling infrastructure) where it is impractical to just grab your bike and go out.... And clearly you live in a tropical country where snow is not an issue...

TobaTobias (author)2010-09-25


warengadia (author)2010-08-25

nice job i have learn about this project

johnnyblegs (author)2010-06-24

How to you turn?

gigafide (author)johnnyblegs2010-06-25

Eitehr just manually press the arrow keys, or you could wire other alarms up to the other arrow keys.

mason0190 (author)gigafide2010-07-18

or add buttons to the handle bars that connect top the left and right keys!

dodo91 (author)mason01902010-08-24


geoslim13 (author)2010-08-18

I have seen one that has virtual reality goggls hooked to the computer

Bayfielder (author)2010-06-26

Very ingenious! I love the simplicity of it. I feel very bad bringing this up now, but how do you steer this thing? I hate having to stop every once in a while to drop the little man in a new spot. I'm going to monkey around the keypad, maybe wiring an old joystick to it will work. I'm just not that familiar with the google controls.

mason0190 (author)Bayfielder2010-07-18

or add buttons to the handlebars wired to the left and right keys

Foaly7 (author)2010-06-25

You could even connect the computer to your tv, but that would probably be more expensive.

halberdear (author)Foaly72010-06-26

Nope. Aslong as your PC has a good enough graphics card you can use your TV the same way you would use a monitor

mason0190 (author)halberdear2010-07-18

if you have a fancy tv you can even use HDMI from your pc

kcls (author)2010-07-01

What happens if you have to turn?

TheChemiker (author)kcls2010-07-01

That is what I was thinking.

mason0190 (author)TheChemiker2010-07-18

add some buttons on the handlebars wired to the left and right buttons?

mason0190 (author)2010-07-16

G GE GEN GENI GENIO GENIOU GENIOUS GENIOU GENIO GENI GEN GE G .. now where can i pick up one of those alarms? TrueValue® maybe?

mason0190 (author)mason01902010-07-18

and maybe add some buttons on the handles to turn left and right?

bumper44 (author)2010-07-09

What brand/model laptop is that. I like it....

mason0190 (author)bumper442010-07-16

it looks like a MacBook Air

othar (author)2010-06-28

simple... and do the job.... mcGyver spirit .... perfect,,, i will do it for my Treadmill

inchman (author)othar2010-07-01

I am trying to figure out the best way to do this on a treadmill. (I will make and 'ible if I figure it out.) My concerns are... 1-How to keep a piece of metal attached to the rubber mat without compromising the mat. 2-The refresh rate of the Google maps it takes upwards of 4 seconds to refresh the image on google maps, yet my belt passes the but the belt takes 1.1 second (at 7 mph) on the treadmill to rotate. So I would need to figure out how to "gear down" the signal or how to get it only to close the contact on ever 4th (or more) rotation.

JonnyDude2008 (author)inchman2010-07-16

1) Attach magnet to your shoe. 2) Attach the receiver part to the right/left (depending which shoe you placed the magnet on) of the rotating mat. This way whenever you take a step the switch will be triggered.

Squirrelfriend (author)inchman2010-07-05

Purchase a replacement lawnmower wheel and build an arm which holds it in contact with the mat, Attach the magnet to the wheel

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