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!

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Step 1: Parts List

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

Step 2: 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

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

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

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 (

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    79 Discussions


    10 months ago

    A good start but not enough. Google Maps will have to increase its resolution so that each movement forward is more incremental. Additionally, a feedback mechanism that allows for varying resistance to the forward movement, based on power, weight and angle of climb needs to be configured. The ability to turn will aid also. Lots more actually but this set-up is primitive by today's standards (think Zwift and BKool, etc.).


    2 years ago

    Absolutely Genius!


    3 years ago

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


    3 years ago

    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!

    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.


    5 years ago

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

    Future Dezign

    5 years ago

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

    Future Dezign


    6 years ago on Introduction

    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.


    6 years ago on Step 5

    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.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    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....

    4 replies

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    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


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

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