If you’re not ready to take on the real deal, you can now race the Tour de France from the comfort of your couch. But unlike the cyclists in the Tour, you won’t feel the burn anywhere except your thumbs.
To play, you alternate thumb tapping to simulate pedal strokes. The faster you tap the faster your cycling avatar pedals. The virtual race course is an exact replica of this year’s race, right down to every curve and climb.
Just like the real race, Thumbs of Glory unfolds in 21 stages over 21 days to reach the 3,664-kilometer goal. The app runs concurrently with the actual stages of the tour. You only have one day to complete each stage and then it is on to the next.
If you can put in the saddle (couch?) time, you’ve got a shot at winning some great prizes. Specialized is giving away gear to stage winners each day, and to the overall champ goes a Specialized S-Works Tarmac.
I downloaded the app and played it for about 10 minutes. I tapped my thumbs as fast as I could and topped out at 62 kph (about 38 mph) meaning I barely put a dent into the daily milage.
I think my chances of winning Thumbs of Glory are about as good as winning the real Tour de France. But, maybe with some training and commitment, I can come back next year with the thumbs it takes to go home with the yellow jersey… or a new bike.
—Amy Oberbroeckling is an Assistant Editor.