Warm & sunny on a weekend: how cool is that! We actually got in two days of riding on what were picture perfect days. Well, OK: to be honest it actually felt a bit on the warm side but that’s probably because it was the first time in nearly 6 months when the temps shot up into the high-80’s / low-90’s. Or, at least it seems like it’s been that long.
In addition to getting out on the tandem for two days I also collected a bit of video on the second day which I’ve edited down into a 1 minute & 44 second .mpg movie with the usual upbeat canned soundtrack: it’s really better than listening to the actual audio, trust me on this.
While I don’t normally hang the cameras on me or the bike when we go out for a loop ride from the house since the scenery never changes all that much, I would note that we recently did a motorcycle trip to Panama City Beach and during the trip I had some issues with my GoPro cameras. With the Georgia Tandem Rally (GTR) coming up, I figured it would be a good time to make sure I got the GoPro issues sorted out and also do some experimenting with different camera mounting positions before the rally. I also like to catch at least one day of GTR on video for posterity, vanity, whatever. What I ended up with were two videos.
The first one is the usual, somewhat upbeat video that attempts to capture the spirit and fun of tandem cycling. Without a doubt, the clips I’ve condensed into the 1’44” video are higher energy / speed than the lion’s share of the 90-minute ride that was captured on two cameras, i.e., I had 3 hours of material to work with. You can bet that there was a lot of not nearly as visually interesting stuff left on the cutting room floor. I wouldn’t recommend watching it more than once, as the sound track can definitely become annoying after repeated plays: ask me how I know!
Anyway, here’s video #1
Video #2 is a little bit more edgy in that I finally decided to “out” a few motorists who peeved-me-off during today’s ride, noting this is a regular occurrence on most rides.
In addition to being worried to death (no pun intended) about someone texting & running us down, we also have a huge issue with motorists not being able to judge speed and distance who — whether they intend to or not — routinely cut-off cyclists by making hasty passes immediately ahead of intersections or turns. I’m not sure if these motorists are just challenged when it comes to being able to manage the visual perspective of how fast a bicycle is travelling and how much distance it will cover in a certain amount of time, or if they’re simply acting on animal reflex like a dog chasing a moving vehicle or barking at passers-by for no real reason and fear being caught behind a bicycle under any conditions.
To any of my non-cycling friends who happen upon this blog and video, you may or may not see the actions of these three motorists as being all that worrisome or imprudent because it looks like there’s plenty of room for everyone. Well, yes and no: the wide angle lens of a GoPro tends to distort reality so “objects in the video are closer than they appear.” And, when you’re on a 30lb bicycle with the most important person in your life, a little to close becomes a lot too close when you’re not quite sure just how good the rest of a motorist’s driving skills and judgment may be.
So, here now are my three candidates for “Worst Judgment of the Day” from May 10th, noting that it isn’t all that unusual to have several motorists get a bit too close or otherwise use bad judgment during one of our rides. This just happened to be the first time that I let the cameras roll for an entire ride, including along sections of road where I would not normally capture video for a ‘vanity vignette’.
I’m sure our cycling friends can all relate to these types of situations. They just leave you shaking your head and wondering, “what the heck were they thinking and what did they accomplish by taking those risks?” And, yes… passing at a high rate of speed as you approach intersections where an on-coming vehicle could suddenly appear, etc. to avoid being momentarily delayed by a few seconds is risky behavior, risky to us!
If capturing and retrieving the video didn’t take as much effort I could definitely see having a pair of cameras on the bike at all times. However, as you can see with these three video shorts, you really do need to have both the forward and rear perspectives to get the entire picture: single lens perspectives just don’t capture enough context or, at least in Georgia, the license plate if you’re using a reward facing camera.
Note: No verbal or non-verbal “gestures” were issued to the motorists in question; it only serves to satisfy the motorist’s instincts that all cyclists are idiots. No, I’ll usually just shake my head or throw out an upturned palm, i.e., “what’s the deal?” I’ve learned that there is nothing to be gained from picking a fight with someone wielding a 4,000 lb blunt instrument in a justice system that repeatedly demonstrates that motorists are rarely held accountable when they run down pedestrians, cyclists or motorcyclists.