XC Mountainbiking

XC Mountainbiking

Spring Time On The Home Trail

Birdsong, Sun breaking through the trees, and the leaves growing again. Spring. My favourtie time of year.

Singlespeed racing

Breathing hard. My face hides how much I love racing even on one gear!

Downhill Mountainbiking

Downhill Mountainbiking

Tour de France

Sunflowers on the Tour

XC Racing

World Cup Racing where the best fight it out over some of the most demanding terrain


Taking the sport to extremes

No matter what or how you ride, enjoy the trails out there.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Want It Wednesday: GoPro Hero 3, Outride and QMountz

I probably spend too much time looking at bike videos on YouTube.  I like watching what people ride and like to see previews of places where I will ride or race next.  So of course its not long before ideas come into my head that I could do that too.  Actually my imagination runs wild with a lavish imagination of entire bike movies and super cool music.  Although realistically a video of my runs down the local trails will no doubt show off how slow I actually am and probably won't prove that interesting to watch it still is something I'd like to do.  So what should I be looking at to make me the next biking Ridley Scott?

There is one real big option out there and lots of people will have heard of them and that is GoPro.  These are loved because of their small size and versatility.  They can be mounted on a riders helmet, handle bar or even by using a harness, strapped to your chest. They can be used under water too so while not a use for cycling has its uses for diving, surf boarding and many other water sports.  In fact with its 1080p quality it can be used for all manner of sports.

There are three main cameras within its range.  White, Silver and Black editions.  The white edition is its cheapest model at £199 and has the lowest image quality with 1080p at 30fps. As a standard camera it has 5mp with an 3fps burst time.  For the more expensive Black edition the camera boasts a 12mp camera and films at 60fps.  It costs a more robust £359, although does come with a natty little wifi remote.

The quality of film is outstanding and has truly revolutionised home video quality but what do you do if this is out of your price range and you can not really justify this lavish toy?  Well the are a few alternatives.  Well there are if you own an Iphone anyway.

Outride and Qmountz are a couple of different companies who are using the phones ability to shoot 1080p quality film and have created a safe secure cases for the phone that can be mounted in much the same way a GoPro can.  The cases are waterproof too and can be used to a few meters under water, as well as been shock proof and shatter proof.  Which is just as well as the Iphones are a bit fragile.  The camera cases change the cameras focal length into a more wide angle view giving a broader range of shot but just as importantly a more stable image.

Having viewed the images compared to the GoPro they are not as good but that's not to say they are bad.  The iphones doesn't cope as well in light to dark situations as fast as the GoPros nor is the image as stable but the image quality is still really high and not pixelated like older style cameras.  They have the advantage of being to upload you film shot to the Internet faster too or even put on twitter or facebook.  For £65 to £85 they are more than half the price of the basic GoPro so are a sound option for those on more of a budget.

Film below shows the quality of the GoPro Black

Friday, 1 March 2013

Iphone Covers by The Beautiful Ride

The Beautiful Ride appeared in a recent Want It Wednesday of mine for there cycle specific and beautifully designed notebooks.  What I didn't touch upon was the other products in their line. 

Recently I purchased an iphone 5 and as this was perhaps a lavish item for me to own I set about looking for someway to protect it.  I would say that I looked quite hard to find a suitable product that was cycle related but never really found anything that either suited me as a rider or my sense of aesthetics.  I had remembered seeing an iphone cover on The Beautiful rides website and decided that would be perfect.  They only do one design at the moment and as a young company this may remain the case until more demand is made.

The choice of a Polka Dot design reflects the Polka Dot jeresy worn during the Tour de France for those with the most climbing points or better named 'King of the Mountains'.  As a strong climber myself this would I imagine seem very apt for me.

The case itself arrived the day after ordering which is great service and the usual and professional correspondence was in place to let me know that the order was received and put in the post.

When it arrived the case was wrapped in a lovely printed tissue paper which added to the feel of unwrapping something special.  The case itself is  polycarbon with the image thermally embedded so it won't scratch peel or peel of.  It is very slim in design so adds very little bulk to your phone which is always a bonus. As for price I would mark it at the higher end of the price spectrum.  £22.50 is however, not as expensive as many of the cycle designed covers I've seen from the likes Zazzle which can be up to ten pounds more, and that's not buying you anything better in quality.

Overall, I'm very impressed with it and would happily recommend using the Beautiful Ride again if you want something that bit different.  It would make a great gift for the cyclist in your life or just as a little special something to treat yourself.  Hopefully in the future the range can be extended using the same great images as used for their notebooks.