A pandemic of cycling platforms seems to be upon us and many are the same. We now have the freedom to use N+1 and not to be stuck on any one platform. Here is what we currently have:
- Ride on a smart trainer
- Even when you have steering, it is within a set route
- Mental alertness can be low
- It can be rather too similar
- Ride on your own; in a workout, group or race
- You need a gaming PC, or something similar to cope with the demands of the ‘game.’ Your internet bandwidth needs to be stellar
Enter Hustle City, or as their Twitter handle goes #ridehustlecity
The game/virtual platform sits on your smartphone. You need nothing else, other than to beam the game onto your TV screen (e.g. Apple’s screen mirroring). This makes the approach and access very different to the rest.
The background on the team is:
- A mad-keen app developer and the driving force behind the US fixed gear crib – Mission Crit
- A film maker
- A want to make cycling far more diverse and accessible
- The current virtual training platforms are amazing and at the same time missing the digital natives who cycle
- The team recognise that in indoor cycling, the enemy is boredom
- The app uses a smart trainer (a simple turbo training way of accessing the app will arrive soon) as a means to play a game whilst riding your bike and keeping fit
- The motivator isn’t watts or FTP (they are recorded), it is fun – it is a game!
This is a levels game where you become a cycle courier and go up the levels. Here are the key differences to the standard and now vanilla platforms:
- Steering means that you have total freedom
- This is restricted only by your ability to navigate and not crash into things!
- Yes, you can crash!!
- Yes, your avatar swears when you crash!!
- You have parcels to collect and to deliver and within a set time
- The app is on your smartphone and you screen share (in our case on an Apple TV) onto your TV
The app is currently in beta and you are invited to apply. We did and we were happily accepted. There are some known errors and we see these as:
- Strava connection is there and not currently working
- The screen sometimes flickers (you can see it on our footage)
- Not being a levels fan personally, it would be great to drop in at any level and miss the story parts
We have to provide a lot of latitude at the moment as there is so much potential in this virtual cycling platform/game. It does make you work hard and focus. It does require skills that we have not experienced before with indoor virtual cycling.
What is on the Hustle City runway?
- We are currently in season 1 – the story that we get involved in of a bike courier
- Season 2 will be the story of a downhill female MTBer
- Season 3 and beyond? Well, lets get there and anything seems possible with this team – maybe even a nod towards Mario Kart and possibly a virtual Mission Crit being available on Hustle City (read that as multi-player)
Some people may see some similarities to the Grand Theft Auto cycling mod. There are and that’s good. Plus, for us, it doesn’t have the moral code of a psychopath! How about getting on the beta testing and having your say? This is a very different take on the current model of virtual training platforms and far more about getting back to gaming, but burning serious calories. What is your view?