Thursday, September 15, 2005


This arcade game is like a "spinning" class at the gym only much more fun. The controller is a stationary bicycle complete with working handlebars. Like so:

Onscreen, your efforts control a pedal-powered hanglider that navigates a fantasy world popping balloons and trying not to crash into things. The glider needs to maintain forward momentum or it stalls, so you need to keep pedaling. It is possible at times to build up speed and then coast for a bit. Unlike most games with a timer or racing component, this one rarely encourages the player to travel as fast as possible. Instead, it imposes the natural real-world constraint that faster planes have a reduced turning radius and tend to overshoot their targets. Playing well demands a nice mix of fast, slow, and no pedaling.

Exercise type: aerobic, legs.

Disadvantages: there's no home version and it's hard to find in US arcades. Since you can't control the resistance level, the exercise component might get to be too easy if you play a lot; it doesn't scale in difficulty as easily as some games.

(Namco, 1996). Screenshots can be found at the Killer List of Videogames.

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Blogger robn said...

I have a prop cycle in my home arcade. Since I am both a cyclist and a pilot, it seemed like a natural. Actually, you can control the resistance level, but is requires taking the cover off the base, so it is difficult to do on-the-fly. Also, our machine blows cool air on the rider with the velocity increasing with your "Flight speed". This is a nice feature if you use it for excersize. We are preparing to move to a smaller house are thinking about selling it. Contact me for more info:

10/17/2005 1:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello, I might be interested in buying your propcycle. What is the condition, and how much are you asking for it? You can email me at

1/29/2006 4:00 PM  
Blogger M A Janssen said...

I love this game & had a recent reunion with it. First discovered it back in 1999 but don't think it's too popular coz the games arcade scrapped it some years later. I managed to get myself a 'perfect ace' score the last time I rode here in Singapore just before I moved to the Netherlands and never saw it again until last night. Got myself a 'Perfect Ace' score again!!!

5/26/2006 1:32 AM  
Anonymous Nizar said...

This was a defining game for me when it came out, I loved it! I only ever played it in Expert mode, and I occupied the entire top ten rankings as well as being 'The Saviour of Solitar' on my local arcade machine. They took the game away, but a few YEARS later I found another prop-cycle, played it & didn't get into the top ten... till I saw it was the same machine & the top ten was still all me! No one else had cracked the top ten in over 3.5 years!!!!!!!

4/01/2007 4:05 AM  
Blogger Craig said...

I have a Propcycle at home and my top ten Saviour of Solitar scores are in the range of 19175 to 19750. I'd be interested to hear whether anyone has topped 20,000. I'm sure it's possible, but you can only pedal so fast. I disagree that you can ever slow down much, if you do you lose precious seconds - every second is worth 50 points.
I think the game failed in the arcades because it cost so much money to get the hang of it. I often saw parents whisking their enthusiastic kids off the machine before it swallowed up their life's savings. But once you master it then you get free upgrades and can play all 4 levels up to Solitar for the cost of one game. This also doesn't earn much money for the arcade people. Few people ever get to that point though. In general the income from the machine didn't justify the rather large amount of floor space it occupies.

11/23/2007 12:10 AM  
Anonymous nizar said...

The highest score I ever achieved was 22,175. It's only possible if you get three Perfect scores for each of the stages & still have over 12 seconds of time per stage to burn. Once that's done you have to get through the final stage with over 35 seconds to spare, else you won't crack 20,000. I'm not certain about how fast I was pedalling, you can work it out by the time remaining, but I know that I always got off the thing drenched in sweat.
But the 22,175 game was a freak game where everything went perfectly. Prior to that game I'd only cracked 20,000 twice.
I'd always played on a single coin
since you had to work so hard physically, if I stuffed a stage & knew my time couldn't challenge for the Saviour of Solitar, I'd walk away from the game.
I'd love to give you a game to compare methodologies.

12/02/2007 5:16 AM  
Blogger Craig said...

If you're ever in England, Nizar, let me know as I'd like to see how you beat my top scores. I thought I was the best, now I'm just 'the rest.' So get in touch and show me your shortcuts and I'll show you mine.


7/23/2008 7:21 AM  
Anonymous PROPCYCLIST said...

this game is fantastic
im totally jealous some guy has it in his home
when i cycled on that damn thing i really thought i was the saviour of solitar
i even used to wave at the people down below when they waved
remember the crazy swoop you do down the funnel?
or is it up the funnel

11/16/2008 10:24 PM  
Blogger craig sams said...

It would be great if this page listed locations where Propcycle is still available in arcades. I found one once in NYC where I racked up a good score despite a poor quality screen display. Could anyone get the ball rolling with an address or two? I'd personally like to see my name in lights as a Savior of Solitar (just as I tend to dominate Fast 'n' Furious machines from Australia to Seattle, but that's another story)


11/17/2008 3:29 AM  

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