Revolutionising Cycling: The Power of AI in the Pedals
Artificial Intelligence has permeated various industries, and the world of sports is no exception. Among the sports that have experienced a significant transformation is cycling. From training and performance analysis to innovative smart bikes, AI has revolutionised the cycling landscape, empowering cyclists and coaches alike with data-driven insights, enhanced safety measures, and improved training techniques.
In this article, we’ll explore how AI has made its mark in the cycling world, paving the way for a new era of precision and excellence on two wheels.
AI-assisted nutrition and training
Artificial intelligence has been used by those at Maastricht University to assist with planning the diets for the Dutch Team Jumbo-Visma. By utilising machine learning and mathematical modelling, Kristian van Kujik and his colleagues were able to plan out the riders’ diets. This machine-prescribed diet allows for cyclists to be given exact estimates for their caloric requirements during various high-stakes races such as the Tour de France. The biological data and power stats of each rider is collected, then combined with weather conditions and race pacours to create a statistical model designed to predict future energy requirements, tailored to each race.
Bikes designed by AI
In recent years, we’ve seen bikes begin to be designed using AI software. One example of this is the aerodynamic bike that was created using Neutral Concept. Created by the EPFL School of Computer and Communication Sciences, this bike broke two cycling speed world records within two days. On Sepember 12th, 2019, Fabian Canal of IUT Annecy broke the men’s univeristy world record with a speed of 136.7 km/h. The following day, fellow IUT Annecy teammate, Ilona Peltier set a new world record for women’s cycling speed when she cycled 200-metres at a speed of 126.5km/h. Both these records were set using the bike, which has been dubbed Altaïr, at the World Human Powered Speed Challenge (WHPSC) in Nevada, USA.
Virtual cycling and gamification
AI has not only influenced the physical aspects of outdoor cycling but also expanded its horizons into the virtual realm for indoor cycling too. AI-powered virtual cycling platforms simulate real-world riding experiences, offering cyclists the opportunity to train indoors, replicate race courses, and compete with others globally. These platforms provide a safe, controlled environment for training and enable data-driven performance analysis. One example of this can be seen with the VirchyBike LITE, which is designed to connect to your smartphone to offer riders personalised AI coaching, and a bike that adjusts accordingly to resistence, gear, and speed. The concept of virtual cycling also allows users to interact with fellow riders through virtual communities, fostering a sense of camaraderie and motivation.
AI in cycling sportswear
Cyclists can also benefit from the various applications of AI in sportswear. While companies such as Sensoria are creating socks for runners that use smart fabrics embedded with sensors to track performance metrics such as cadence, impact forces and heart rate, there are also many exciting AI clothing developments happening within the cycling sphere. For example, UK start-up Inpulse has created ‘smart’ AI cycling shorts that contain sensors and wires to emit electrical currents into the muscles of wearers. These shorts are designed to improve performance of riders, and feature an AI tool within them that calculates whih muscles need simulating.
As AI continues to advance and integrate further into the cycling domain, its impact will be felt at all levels of the sport. From recreational cyclists seeking to improve their fitness to professional athletes striving for victory, AI has brought unprecedented advancements and possibilities to the world of cycling. With technology continuing to evolve, we can expect even more exciting developments that will redefine the sport and inspire the next generation of cyclists to pedal into a future where the synergy of human potential and AI intelligence becomes inseparable.