Rode a dismally muddy Bedgebury in the drizzle yesterday, the ride was nothing special, I felt knackered and had a headache, but I was trying out three new toys. Firstly, A GoPro camera. Not the latest one cause that was too expensive, but the old one which I managed to get on the cheap off Amazon.
I found it pretty fiddly to work, this one has no large, colour LCD screen with clear, easily navigable menu’s, it just has a tiny little black and grey LCD panel with barely intelligible symbols and abbreviated words to hint at what it’s actually doing. With no way of looking at what you’ve shot till you’re back at your computer, there’s no way to check if you’ve actually recorded things properly. Still, despite these challenges I did manage to get some interesting stills and a bit of video footage. I had the camera angled a bit low, but the idea this time out was to fiddle with the thing, get used to it and be ready to get some decent footage/stills when we get to Wales in April… Overall I think the GoPro is a great bit of kit, you just need to get over the hurdle of figuring out how to us the fecker. I expect the latest model is less fiddly, but as it was £150 more expensive, I’ll deal with my fiddly old model for now…
While at Bedgebury, on a whim I bought a new helmet. I’m not going to “review” it, a helmet is a helmet. They pretty much all protect you in a crash and as long as it fits nicely and doesn’t cook your head, what else do you want from a lid ? I guess the best thing I can say about it is that I forgot it was there after about 1/2 a mile.
Bedgebury was ridiculously muddy as you’d expect after tons of snow had melted on it, at one point the trail looked unridable so I stopped to push the bike around the bog in the middle of the trail. I stepped into a puddle thinking it was about an inch deep and found out the water was more than ankle deep. There were several spots where the best “line” choice was to get off the bike and walk around the churned up mess the trail had become. It’s not being helped by idiots riding horses on the trails either, every time I go there I seem to be following hoof prints around the singletrack.
Given that the bike and my kit was going to be hideously muddy at the end of the ride, I was fortunate to be testing out a third new bit of kit on this ride, a Rhino Bootliner. This is basically a great big lump of material that sits inside the boot of your car and stops it getting covered in crap, it looks like this :
These things are made specifically to fit the dimensions of whatever car you let them know you’re using and I am well chuffed with it. It’s got straps that go over the headrests of the front two seats to protect the back of these and there are velcro bits to attach it to the side of the boot/rear doors. I didn’t use the velcro thingies as I’d rather not have them stuck all round the inside of my new car, the walls of the bootliner work well enough without using them IMO. At £95 it’s cheaper than buying roof bars and a bike rack and it’s machine washable, so when it gets really shitty you just lob it in the machine and clean it all out. You can find out all about them at www.rhinouk.co.uk
So, three new bits of kit tested and ready to roll up at Coed Y Brenin in a few weeks. Ahead of that though is a trip to Surrey this Sunday to hone my skills on some trickier trails : )