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A New Toy That I Was JUST Thinking About

I've ridden a stationary bike before, and I think it's a great tool to help someone get some exercise. I noticed that when watching a movie with a lot of heart-pumping action in it, it's easier to stop thinking about the pedaling, even while working harder and burning more energy. So a few weeks ago, I thought back to an episode of a cartoon I had seen, (maybe "Doug?") in which someone visited a modern gym with a stationary bike in front of a screen. The screen could display a scenic route, or a tougher course. I believe the video images reflected the actual progress the rider was making on the bike.

I thought, "Cool!" If only there were a bike like that where you could hook it up to your TV and ride through a well-made movie! There'd be ups and downs in the plot, emotional peaks and valleys, and all the while all it takes is your pedaling to save the day. The emotional involvement in the action on-screen can make it a lot easier to enjoy riding a stationary bike. I wondered, "When will they come out with the home kit?"

They already have! Today, I saw a commercial for the Fisher-Price Smart Cycle. For $90, you can get your little tyke his or her very own stationary bike that comes complete with a video game system built in. You just hook it up to your TV, insert one of the game cartridges, and BLAMMO! As you kid pedals and steers through the on-screen courses (yes, the bike can be steered!) he's exercising, learning, and having fun all at the same time. Not only are the games interesting, they also contain simple educational lessons. This product is incredible. I never could have guessed that somebody already thought it up.

When I was searching for it on so I could get the name right, I came across another version of this idea for grownups and kids alike. It's called Qmotions Funfitness for Xbox. This system is different from the Smart Cycle in that it is designed for people who already have their own stationary bike. You attach sensors to your bike's pedals, hook the system up to your X-Box, and then play whatever racing game you already own. I guess the Funfitness system basically turns the pedals of any stationary bike into alternate X-Box controller. I'm not quite clear on how you steer, but I'm sure there's a way.

This is great! Maybe someday they'll make Qmotions a little more like the Smart Cycle and come up with their own games, specifically geared toward bike riding. It just makes me wonder… "What will they think of next?"

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