Building a Better Interface for the Airdyne AD2 with a Raspberry Pi

When I bought the Raspberry Pi 3, I hinted at a project. I spent most of last weekend working on it and thought it was an interesting process to share.

Part 1: The Problem

A few years ago I added a Schwinn Airdyne AD2 to my garage gym. You move your arms and your legs at the same time for more of a full body workout than just a bike.


Here’s an example of the machine’s interface in action.

The screen rotates through 5 pieces of information (time, calories, distance, speed, and rpms), spending 6 seconds on each piece of data. Not shown in the video is the single button below the screen, which can start/reset the display. When not using the machine for a workout, you can reconfigure it to use kilometers instead of miles.

Several things have always troubled me:

  1. With no backlight it’s hard to read, especially in my garage.
  2. You only see one piece of data at a time and have to wait 24 seconds to see that item again. This really limits how I can use the machine in CrossFit workouts, which typically see intervals based on a number of calories or certain distance. I’ve always had to stick to time intervals.
  3. It’s not easy to switch between miles/kilometers and can only be done before starting a workout.
  4. You can’t select/program/save custom workouts.

Not great, right? I thought I could do better.

Part 2 will cover the plan.

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