The use of virtual reality (VR) in transport research offers the opportunity to collect behavioral data in a controlled dynamic setting. VR settings are useful in the context of hypothetical situations in which real-world data does not exist or in situations which involve risk and safety issues making real-world data collection infeasible. Nevertheless, VR studies can contribute to transport-related research only if the behavior elicited in a virtual environment closely resembles real-world behavior. Importantly, as VR is a relatively new research tool, the best-practice with regards to the experimental design is still to be established. In this paper, we contribute to a better understanding of the implications of the choice of the experimental setup by comparing cycling behavior in VR between two groups of participants in similar immersive scenarios, the first group controlling the maneuvers using a keyboard and the other group riding an instrumented bicycle. We critically compare the speed, acceleration, braking and head movements of the participants in the two experiments. We also collect electroencephalography (EEG) data to compare the alpha wave amplitudes and assess the engagement levels of participants in the two settings. The results demonstrate the ability of VR to elicit behavioral patterns in line with those observed in the real-world and indicate the importance of the experimental design in a VR environment beyond the choice of audio-visual stimuli. The findings will be useful for researchers in designing the experimental setup of VR for behavioral data collection.