Man attempts to cycle length of Britain in Street View VR

Using a Gear VR and an exercise bike, Aaron Puzey is taking in the sights from Land's End in Cornwall to John O'Groats in the far north of Scotland.

Luke Westaway Senior editor
Luke Westaway is a senior editor at CNET and writer/ presenter of Adventures in Tech, a thrilling gadget show produced in our London office. Luke's focus is on keeping you in the loop with a mix of video, features, expert opinion and analysis.
Luke Westaway
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Puzey at Land's End, poised to begin his epic cycling quest.

Aaron Puzey/Screenshot by Luke Westaway/CNET

Cycling outside is fine, if you don't mind scary traffic and the occasional bug flying into your mouth. Far better to follow in the virtual footsteps of Aaron Puzey, a video game developer who's endeavouring to cycle the entire length of Britain in virtual reality.

Using a Samsung Gear VR, a cadence monitor and an exercise bike in his home, Puzey is making the virtual trip from Land's End to John O'Groats, a distance that Google pegs at 837 miles (1,347 km). Visuals from the journey come courtesy of Google Street View, which has been fed through an app he made himself to allow smooth movement between one Google-captured panorama and the next.

As you can see from an example video below, the effect is often far from flawless -- but as Puzey notes in his blog, "it's still better than anything else out there."

Puzey's journey began back in May, with his latest diary entry on Monday putting him past Stockport, en route to Manchester -- roughly half way to his goal in northern Scotland. Puzey's diaries make interesting reading, and include a gallery of amusing things he's spotted en route.

Puzey, who is originally from Australia but now living in Scotland, tells me the impetus for constructing his VR touring system was "boredom, initially".

"I've been riding the exercise bike for years, just half an hour each day, but it's just a bit monotonous," Puzey says. "I'd been day dreaming for a while about the possibility of using VR to make it a bit more fun and now of course the technology has arrived to make it happen."

When asked if he'd learned anything new about VR along the way, Puzey, who believes virtual tourism will be a big deal before long, says, "I never appreciated just how much of a problem nausea is in VR. Turns out I'm super sensitive so this project has been a challenge reducing nausea. I've arrived at a solution that works pretty well for me."