Pro-Form Tour De France and Google iFIT / TDF Trainer Review

Posted: October 12, 2011 in Google iFIT, ifit live, proform, tdf trainer, tour de france, trainer pro-form

Google Maps, and specifically Street View, is invading my life from every direction. I have already been using it to get familiar with hotels, businesses, and travel related situations; then I began using it for real-estate shopping.   With websites like Trulia.Com, it became a huge tool in looking at homes.  Now, it’s part of my workout, as I get to ride my normal streets, and new places, right from my Pro-Form TDF Trainer.

ProForm Tour De France Trainer with MacBook Air Setup.

The Pro-Form Tour De France Trainer has been in my home for just over a week, and I am absolutely loving the iFIT LIVE features of the system. When you create your own maps, you can have iFit.Com open and actually see street views of the road! 

The iFIT Live Button is not always visible, and I had no idea the feature existed when I bought the Pro-Form TDF Trainer.   I noticed the banner above that opened up a whole new world of realistic workouts.

My setup is very simple.   I decided the cup-holder was pointless and removed it.  That gave me a solid platform to secure my laptop.  I have my MacBook Air’s audio port connected to the iFit console; with iTunes or Pandora I get to jam to music throughout the workout.   The screen in front of me shows me a street-view snapshot of the road I am on, and updates every couple seconds with an updated picture.  Combined with the incline and resistance, it is very closely replicating the real thing.

MacBook Air connected to iFIT Console.  Through WiFi connection, I am able to open http://www.ifit.com, and click the iFIT LIVE button (only visible during a workout) to see the Street Views of the roads I am on.  Totally Awesome!

Thus far I have created a few of the routes I ride on my Canondale Synapse. Between the visual queues from Street View, the smooth resistance of the Pro-Form magnetic trainer, and the incline/decline adjustments, the realism of the Pro-Form TDF Trainer is striking.

Arguably, the feature is masked and difficult to see.  The button for iFit live does not appear until you start a workout on a real map.   For non-tech people, all of this may be a little much.  I am not the one to write a manual on this whole thing, but the basic outline is like this:

  • Get your iFIT Console online, and update the firmware.
  • Find the iFIT Activation Code in your Pro-Form TDF Trainer paperwork. If it’s not there, get the model and serial number from under the appliance.   Contact iFit’s customer support, and get them to send one to you.
  • Create an account on iFIT.Com.  You can add up to four people to one device.   Setup profiles for each person.  The weight and height matter, as the device is supposed to calculate for wind-resistance.   You will be asked to create usernames and passwords for everyone, but only yours is needed on the iFIT appliance.  I suggest you aim for things that are easy to enter using the iFIT Console…
  • Create a short map.  Do something in your neighborhood, just so you can test the features.
  • You have to schedule that map in order for your console to display it. So, check the SCHEDULED WORKOUTS tab to see what is there. If you do not see your map, just go to the My Maps link, and click the “REPEAT” button on the map you created. It will schedule it for a workout.
  • On your console, log into your iFIT account.  This takes some time, as this is not a touch-screen.
  • Start a workout. The console will download your next scheduled workout – it should be your map.
  • Start pedaling.  The moment you do, your laptop/computer (that you hopefully have near you) will display the iFIT Live icon in the top-right part of the website. Click it, and you will get Street View.

Sure, I can be vain sometimes. Why not. It’s all in the spirit of competition.

In some ways, this is better than the real thing.   I think all cyclists – definitely myself – are a little vain and competitive.  When I ride, especially when decked out in Team Liquigas gear, I don’t want drivers (or fellow cyclists) to see me huffing and puffing – something I hope the TDF trainer will help me minimize.  Looking good is part of the equation.  However, that means having to conserve energy, plan ascents, ride efficiently, and make descents last.  Well, on the Pro-Form TDF Trainer, none of it matters.  I can burn every ounce of energy because of pause and resume.   The Pro-Form TDF Trainer has managed to make imaginary workouts real, and any possible judgement the figment of my imagination.  

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