Japan, the country that brought us Karaoke, the Tamagotchi virtual pet and the Nintendo Wii, has a reputation for putting a technological spin on the kind of activity – singing, raising a pet, or keeping fit – that many of us prefer to carry out in real life, and now Honda’s boffins have turned their attention to cycling.
The company, which has a long history of innovation in everything from automotive products to robotics, is planning to launch a bicycle simulator next year, which promises to let people ride along city streets without fear of being injured through hitting potholes, getting doored, or white man van yelling “sorry mate, I didn’t see you!” as you untangle yourself from your bike’s frame.
Initially conceived as a traffic safety education aid, Honda has reportedly decided to make the simulator available commercially due to the interest it has generated, and target customers are said to include law enforcement agencies, driving schools and educational establishments.
A variety of scenarios are programmed into the machine, including “going to school”, “going to a local shopping street” and “going to the grocery store”, although sadly as yet there’s no word on it including “going up Alpe d’Huez” or “going from Milan to San Remo”.
The simulator will initially be launched in the Japanese market, with Honda taking pre-orders from next month.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.