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Real gear up for grabs for top players

Online retailer Chain Reaction Cycles has announced Chain Reaction Cycles: Pro-Cycling, a game for the iPhone and iPad featuring a combination of strategy and arcade style racing.

The game puts you in control of your own customisable athlete in road races or time trials, speeding through cityscapes and the rolling countryside against your friends via Bluetooth, against computer controlled competitors, or against the rest of the world on the online leader boards.

The higher you place in races, the more bikes and gear you unlock and the more you play the game, greater your character's virtual fitness. (Fitness gains of virtual rider are not expected to translate to real world, sadly.)

With more wins come increased bonuses including bikes from Vitus and wheels from Mavic. Lighter equipment will reduce your character's fatigue while accelerating, better components (groupset, cranks etc) will increase acceleration and the more aerodynamic your equipment is the less you’ll be affected by drag.

The equipment upgrades on offer aren't just in the game. CRC will be running monthly giveaways for top finishers including complete Vitus road bikes, wheels from Mavic, GPS bike computers from Garmin and nutrition bundles from High5.

“We’re expecting the leader boards to be hotly contested!” says CRC.

Developed in conjunction with BillyGoat Entertainment, the game features music from Northern Irish bands Moscow Times, Window Seats and Escape Fails.

You can customise your character's appearance with a variety of team jerseys and helmets, and gameplay involves keeping your chaacter hydrated during racing as well as keeping him moving as fast as possible.

CRC Pro-Cycling costs £1.99 from the iTunes store.

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.