Spin classes with competitive racing sound awesome. But rather than working to push a bike output number up, I wanted to to compete in a game like MarioKart or TrackMania. That might be ridiculously awesome, right? So I made a little gadget worn on the ankle with a recumbent exercise bike to do that. Details are below to make one yourself.

This wireless gadget (‘Cycler433’) tracks ankle motion so users can ride most any exercise bike and control racing games on a computer. It is almost magical to exercise with and doesn’t require modifying the bike. It’s just an ankle strapped motion sensor with a wireless connection to a computer: the accelerometer on the ankle tracks motion data which is processed and sent wirelessly with a 433 MHz radio transmitter, and the radio receiver part converts wireless signals to keyboard strokes that are sent to the computer. Pretty simple! All the gadget parts bought new could cost under $70 if you hunt for imports or around $80-100 for branded goods with faster delivery. Or $0 if you have the parts already. This cost excludes the bike, the computer, games, and gaming controller of course.

The bike setup is key: Bikes that don’t block the view ahead and have comfortable seats are best. I bought an inexpensive folding recumbent exercise bike for my small apartment. It rocks! For improved metric tracking, I might have considered a bike like this. Avoid anything with a tiny seat.

I used a PS4 controller with the free DS4Windows for steering and other controls; Xbox or desktop-oriented controller might require even less setup. Regarding choice of game, Trackmania games and Redout work great from Steam; I never was terribly interested in racing games before this endeavor but wow that sure changed.”