With a couple hundred bucks you can recreate a steering wheel, pedals, and shifter from a race car, and get a decent enough approximation of “driving” in a PC game. Riding a bike is an altogether more physical experience, something that’s not so easy to replicate. But one impressive modification to Grand Theft Auto V lets you do just that.
The mod is called GT Bike V, and it’s an impressive example of both creativity and programming. It works with a device called a “smart trainer,” which is something like those racing simulator cockpits but for cyclists. Users convert their road bicycles to indoor stationary bikes by loading them into the trainer, at which point it can adjust speed and resistance while recording essential workout data.
Connect that information to Grand Theft Auto V, with its huge and amazingly detailed digital world, and you’ve got a unique biking simulator. The PC game modification communicates with the trainer to adjust the speed of the in-game rider and difficulty of your real ride—go up a hill and you’ll get more resistance as you pedal, go down it and you’ll get less. The mod includes a few pre-programmed routes through the game map, so riders don’t have to juggle a controller while on the bike. Alternately, you can use the auto-drive function and simply roam—though nothing stops the famously capricious Grand Theft Auto drivers from running you over. While you ride, a tiny
Garmin Gaming bike computer shows up on the game screen, displaying simulated stats for your ride.
Mod creator “Makinolo” went the extra mile for those who want even more simulation goodness. While riding, it generates a FIT file for uploading to a training program like Strava, complete with fake GPS coordinates that correspond to the in-game world, allowing you to keep track of your simulated distance, pace, calories burned, et cetera alongside real rides.
To use the mod, you’ll need the PC version of Grand Theft Auto V, a smart trainer (like one of these!) compatible with ANT+ wireless and FE-C, and an ANT+ wireless dongle for your PC. Hooking up your gaming PC to a television is recommended. GT Bike V is a free download from gta5-mods.com, and at the moment seems to have a couple of hundred users. It’s worth noting that GT Bike V only works in the single player version of the game, so you won’t be doing any group rides in Los Santos just yet.