Chatting with AI: Here’s What I Learned About Cycling

By Martin Atanasov

AI is slowly but surely taking over the world. For now, in a good way and not in the “Hasta la vista” one. Give it some time, and we will go from innocent chatbots and picture generators to deadly terminators pretty soon. For now, we can enjoy the benefits of AI and all it can provide. However, do we really need AI in every aspect of our life? For work – sure, to increase your productivity, why not. To write this text… Well, I tried but it bluntly refused to acknowledge that AI can fail in any way regarding cycling. My first thought was, well, it lacks persistence, for sure. So, here are some key takeaways when a cyclist tries out AI and the AI fails miserably.

Talking to an AI

It’s pretty sweet to talk with someone who understands you and can give you some solid advice. Unfortunately, AI is definitely not among those “people”. While it did offer me some pretty sound advice on how to set up my bike for my favourite DH track and scolded me when I suggested I should put on some slicks, the more we spoke, the more it became evident that the AI has absolutely no idea what it is talking about. Here are some of its best replies:

“It’s true that worn-out mountain bike tyres can sometimes perform better on certain types of terrain, especially if the knobs are worn-down to a level where they still provide some traction, but with less rolling resistance than a brand new tyre”.

So, no slicks, but having worn-out tyres is fine? Brilliant.

“Have you considered commuting naked…”

I have, actually, but I guess not everyone will be happy if I do so.

“To keep your feet warm on a cold ride, wrap them in plastic bags.”

Should I also marinate them and put them into an oven at 200°C for about an hour? I guess it would be a delicious stew.

“To improve your balance, ride with a book on your head.”

So, if I go with a copy of War and Peace, it can double as weight training.

“Riding with your eyes closed might improve your speed.”

Well, even if I’m falling from a cliff, which is definitely a possibility when riding with your eyes closed, I can go faster than 35.28 kph. So, I disagree.

“To reduce wind resistance, ride with your arms straight out to the sides like wings.”

I’m pretty sure that’s not how physics works. Still, when you crash into a tree, your wind resistance will definitely reduce significantly. So, yeah. A pretty good idea.

“Put a brick in your backpack to simulate hills.”

Won’t the book on my head do the same job? I can even go with something a bit wordier, like A Chronicle of Ancient Sunlight.

“Ride with a potato in your pocket to check for headwinds.”

I… Um… Has someone actually tried this? It might actually work. I can’t tell for sure.

How AI imagines cycling

The chatbot is actually pretty good when you are not actively trying to confuse it. When it comes to pictures, however… Well, have a look.

“A bike in flight”

When asked to produce a bike in flight, it actually does a pretty good job.

Change the wording a bit, though, and you will get:

“MTB during flight”

Is this a prophecy of how bikes will look in 2300? I fail to see the mountain-biking part but hey, I’m not the one with the crystal ball.

“A photo of an MTB rider going off the lip on a step-up jump”

Pretty close, though I think there’s something wrong with the rider’s right arm. Looking at the bike, I’d guess there was a massive crash a bit further up the trail.

Here are some others as well:

“Cycling without hands”

Not exactly hands, but close enough.

“Girl cycling in the city”

This time the bike is OK. The girl… Not so much. Maybe it’s the makeup.

 “Final sprint of Tour de France”

That’s how I imagine the Tour de France would look like if the Last of Us zombies decided that killing all humans won’t be their sole hobby.

“Tadej Pogačar winning the Tour de France”

If he’s winning, imagine how the rest of the peloton looks like.

My, favourite though:

“Create a photo of an MTB with full suspension and 29″ tyres, hung on the wall.”

Hopefully, Scott will draw some inspiration from this outstanding engineering masterpiece.

“To part ways, AI, please, draw Greg Lemond in Picasso style”

So, you can definitely have some fun with the bot after all.