What’s Spanish for “ultra-realistic online-based global cycle trainer landscapes”? Don’t fire up Google Translate, it’s “Bkool.” The five year old Madrid-based technology firm was on the Orbea stand at Eurobike launching its 3D World internet-based cycle training and ride simulation system.
Feed in a GPS file of anywhere on the planet and Bkool’s software will recreate the route in a 3D-style immersive simulation. Indoor cyclists can follow the route using real-world geographic data, including slopes and the general lay of the land. The simulator also reproduces the rivers, trees or rocks common in an area. (But there are no potholes, so it’s not that real.)
3D World is in addition to Bkool’s existing cycle training system which uses real-time videos of top climbs around the world (although the coverage is most comprehensive for the mountains of Spain). The stable and quiet training unit transmits sensations from along the route to the user, who bolts in his or her own bike. 3D World has created avatar riders – users can switch from male to female avatars. 3D World also includes a simulated velodrome, with the ability to chase – and hopefully overtake – computer avatars or real-world riders. In both the map view and the velodrome view, riders can “draft” other cyclists, with the training unit simulating the slackening off sensation of tucking in behind another rider.
All activity on Bkool is recorded in the “cloud” so users can incorporate past avatars into competitions, and compete against them in the present. The simulator allows the user to train with friends (or rivals) at the same time on different continents. The system requires online access – obviously – and the graphics can be thrown on to computer screens, TVs, iPads and smartphones.
Bkool already boasts a powerful analytical suite that informs the user of activity in real time, including heart rate and speed. There's also a cadence analyzer.
Pic shos Clara Pastor of Bkool taking an Orbea for a simulated 3D spin.