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There are a few ways to play Pokémon Go from a bicycle and stay within the Pokémon Go terms of service:

  • Using the Pokéball Plus or the Pokémon Go Plus (or any future similar authorized device)
  • Using adventure sync to earn distance while biking
  • Very slow biking on deserted roads or trails with full attention to your surroundings (and NOT the game), stopping for in-game interactions safely either beside the road or trail depending on situation.

Keep in mind that some people may not be able to ride a bike safely at all. Furthermore, keep in mind that not every time, every condition, and every place is the same. Some places and times, for example, it may not even be safe to ride a bicycle at all, let alone where you are having to remember to click a button on a Pokéball Plus or Pokémon Go Plus. PLEASE READ OUR WARNING LINKED AT THE TOP OF THE PAGE!

One of the challenges of playing while biking in any of the above ways is understanding how “walking” distance is earned. The primary role of this website is to report on ideas and lessons learned.

As of April 19th, 2022, these are the key things that we have learned and am mostly (but not entirely) confident about straight-up walking distance while playing the game (the numbers in parentheses are my confidence level) –

  • (100%) The distance calculated is a straight-line distance from the last measurement.
  • (75%) The speed limit is somewhere around 6.5mph / 10.5mph … perhaps a tiny bit higher … roughly 170-180m/min
  • (50%) It’s impossible or nearly impossible to know the exact second at which the game starts to measure unless it happens at some well-known point (e.g., after you click OK on the initial warning message). It’s entirely possible that it starts measuring distance even before you click OK, or once it verifies you have a good satellite connection, or some other time at start-up
  • (50%) The game is measuring straight-line distance at 1 minute intervals
  • (25%) Once the game “starts” measuring distance and you leave the game on, there isn’t anything that can interrupt or reset that 1 minute timer (if the interval is in fact 1 minute … only 50% sure about that)

As of April 19th, 2022, these are the key things we have learned related to adventure sync while biking –

  • (100%) You will not earn any adventure sync distance if you have the game open in the foreground with the screen NOT locked.
  • (100%) You will not earn any adventure sync distance if you have the game open in the background with either a Go Plus or similar device connected. You may still earn a little bit of distance depending on how/where you bike and whether you have any sections of your ride where you stay under the walking speed limit, which is measured in a straight line even though your route may have many turns or backtrack or include stop lights … this is how people in cars tend to earn small distance in similar situation.
  • (100%) The location of where you hold your phone while biking makes a large impact on the amount of steps earned (at least for iOS … it’s possible that Android detects that you are biking and awards steps differently). The best place to keep the phone is in a shorts or pants side pocket (not back pocket). The next best place is a side pocket on a shirt or jersey (not a center pocket). I haven’t tried a front pocket on a shirt as I don’t normally wear those while biking. If you mount the phone on a handlebar securely, you will not earn very many steps unless you rock the bike side to side a lot or are riding on really rough trail (even a rough road isn’t going to shake the phone enough to count as steps on iOS)
  • (100%) When starting the game again, you won’t see the adventure sync distance come across immediately
  • (90%) After the “nearby” becomes populated, if you then close the game again and restart it again, you will earn the adventure sync distance almost immediate after the “nearby” becomes populated a second time.
  • (90%) If you leave the game open (but phone locked) you are not going to earn adventure sync or at least not as much adventure sync. I’m not 100% sure about this because some people have reported otherwise. My own experience on iOS is that the game needs to be completely closed.
  • (75%) If you turn the game on again while out biking and turn it off again before earning distance, that can split up the times that you are awarded adventure sync. I think the total will still be the same, but it can be split into multiple “earnings” that can happen at surprising times (which is important if you accidentally earn walking distance on wrong buddy).
  • (50%) Nearly every pedal stroke counts as a step when the phone is in your pocket. Keep in mind that this doesn’t translate into same amount of distance that you cover during that pedal stroke. My own experience has been earning about 40% of distance. Also, keep in mind that this figure will vary greatly depending on not only your cadence but also how fast you are riding (distance). If you spin a really easy gear and ride really slowly then that percentage can shoot up quite a bit (although the raw number of kms earned might be about the same because you are also not riding nearly as far as somebody who is biking faster)

To that end, we are in the process of releasing a companion app for iOS and Android as well as Garmin ConnectIQ.

PokeBike app v1.0 for Garmin ConnectIQ after commute into work. Bottom-right corner shows the PokeBike ConnectIQ data field. The top left value is how many meters you have gone since the last update with a reminder to keep it under 174m. The top right value gives you how many seconds have elapsed since the last update. The bottom left value gives you your straight-line average speed since the last update with a reminder to keep it under 6.5mph. The bottom right keeps track of the total number of KMs my app thinks you should have earned. Note that this won’t include any adventure sync kms if you close out of the game and start riding with the phone in your pocket and then re-open the game later with adventure sync enabled. The primary purpose for this ConnectIQ app is for when you have the game open and are actively playing (see warning), or if you are using a Pokemon Plus accessory to spin stops or catch Pokemon.

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