Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The closest I'll ever get to biking in Madison.

As I have mentioned previously, Madison is extremely biker-friendly. This can be quite terrifying when I'm driving at night and a darkly clothed biker with no lights or reflectors skims by the side of my car. I suppose I will get used to this some day.

After work today, I went to Capital Fitness to do some cardio. While reading Tina Fey's Bossypants and pedaling on a standard recumbent bike, I was distracted by the bike next to me. It was an Expresso interactive bike, which combines exercise, video games, and, oh yeah, dragon slaying.

After doing 20 minutes of cardio, I decided that I wanted to learn more about the mysterious Expresso, so I asked an employee at the front desk to give me a brief tutorial. She explained that while riding the bike, I could participate in a video game by shifting gears and steering with the hand controls. I figured I should try it out, so I hopped onto the bike.

This is the bike I rode. Expresso also makes upright bikes with similar functions.
Then, I learned that not only does the Expresso bike simulate outdoor biking scenarios and races, it also has a video game where I could collect coins and chase dragons in a sandy mythical pagoda land while biking. Burning calories while chasing dragons in an air conditioned environment on a Tuesday evening? Yes please.

All the dragons are creepy and eel-like, so catching them is quite fulfilling.
An interesting feature on this exercise bike is that it provides random background music. I was so glad I plugged by headphones in, because "Angel of the Morning" was the perfect soundtrack for dragon chasing. Really.

After chasing some dragons, I opted to try out one of the bike's more traditional features and try pedaling around a track. I played around with the steering and gear shifting functions and I found myself pedaling much faster than usual so that I could get a good time. I discovered that gears 9, 10, and 11 were the most useful for my trek.

Here is a sample of what the user sees while biking on the Expresso.
I slayed a few dragons and then biked a mile with back support in a faux outdoor setting while surrounded by air conditioning. And I didn't even get helmet hair. That's my kind of biking!