GoPro, Again…

Several months into using a GoPro I’m still on the fence as to its utility as a device used for general purpose photography during bike rides. I really like the ability to shoot “on the move,” but that is almost outweighed by the fisheye character of the shots you wind up with, plus the fairly work intensive nature of getting them off the GoPro and onto a computer or handheld in a form that they can be used. It annoys me that you have to hand add geolocation to each photo.

Anyway, the thing I had in mind when I took these shots was to note another drawback and my fix for it. The internal battery in a GoPro- at least a Hero 4 Silver GoPro- literally lasts for minutes- not hours, minutes- of constantly connected use. Then they die without warning. The best accessory purchase I have made so far is two of these “re-fuel” six hour battery backs [link]. They snap right on and are ready to go. Six hours is a stretch- I get about four, tops. But two will carry me through most days. I don’t know what folks who have the newer model GoPro can do- I understand that they are caseless, so these won’t fit. But there must be something like them.

Three’s a Charm – WOW!!!

Wheel full 70px My friend Jean Aime Bigirimanawho goes by JaBig Chocophile on facebook [link] has made it to Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territories on the shore of the Arctic Ocean after pedaling his single speed bicycle across Canada.  He cycled 17,763 kilometers/11,037 miles from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean and then north past the Arctic Circle to the end.  I first posted about him here [link] and then again here [link].

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I can’t add anything to his amazing story other than my heartfelt admiration and congratulations. His post on his facebook page made after he completed the ride is here [link], and it is a joy to read.

An amazing achievement by an amazing guy.

Hey fellow bicycle fanatics/GoPro users:

Wheel full 70pxI posted about this time last year that I was on the fence as far as purchasing a GoPro camera for my long bike trip I was planning for later in the year. Ultimately I did not get one to take with me. Fast forward to last December- I updated my iPhone 6 Plus by two model years to an iPhone 7 Plus, mainly for the improved camera and addition of water resistance. Because my old iPhone was in just about pristine shape ATT gave me an excellent trade in amount for it, and it just so happened that they had an incredible discounted price on the remaining GoPro Hero 4 Silvers they had in stock. So, for a couple of bucks, I wound up with a GoPro.

Wheel full 70pxThe thing is as finicky as I thought it was. The controls are not particularly intuitive and shooting, whether video or still, through a fisheye lens all the time takes some getting used to. The internal battery capacity is minuscule, so I pretty much right away had to go buy a couple of six hour battery backs to make the thing functional on longer rides. I finally decided on a helmet mounted setup, and am getting competent at using my iPhone to control it. I’ve decided that video of bike rides is pretty much not for me- things just go by too slowly on a road ride to make them compelling viewing for any length of time, and I’m not about to start putting hours into creating tightly edited shorts from a four or five hour ride. So I’m taking still photos with my GoPro.

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Wheel full 70pxI had to figure out how to aim the camera to eliminate the worst of the “goldfish bowl” effect of the fixed fisheye lens. I think I pretty much have that under control, but the photos still are no substitute for the composed ones that I can stop and take with the small Canon digital camera that I carry in my bag, or even my iPhone. But there’s a trade off, and I discovered this on last year’s ride. You just can’t stop every five minutes because there’s something you want to get a photo of. It breaks the momentum and eats into the time you have to get in the miles you want to travel that day. So GoPro it will be this year for a lot of my photos.

Wheel full 70pxAnd there’s my remaining issue, and the reason for this post. Can anyone help me with the following two questions, please?

1. Friends have observed that my Strava photos are not geotagged, i.e. coded with the lat-lon coordinates that allows a program like Strava to locate where they they are taken along the ride. This is because I am importing them from the GoPro after the ride is complete and the GoPro, incredibly (at least IMHO) does not provide for this to be done. I mean, how hard could it be on a wildly (again IMHO) overpriced camera intended for use during active outdoor recreation that often involves travel from point A to point B to incorporate a basic GPS circuit that would geotag the photos? So, is there any sort of fix for this? A hardware fix, like some sort of GPS back (although it would need to incorporate an extended life battery as well to be truly useful, see above)? Or a software one, where the photo could be automatically sent to the iPhone, which would add the geotagging to it on they fly? If anyone has any advice or input on this I would love to hear it.

2. Failing a solution to #1 above, is there even just a way to get the iPhone and the GoPro to transfer photos taken by the GoPro automatically, as opposed to by the means of a batch download after the ride is complete? I use the GoPro program “Capture” to control the GoPro from the iPhone and to batch download photos currently, but cannot find anything in the program set up to make it do this. I have also looked on the ‘net and found nothing, which is usually a bad sign. Is there a 3rd party app solution? Again, I’d really hope someone has figured this out.

Wheel full 70pxThanks in advance for reading this long post, and for your thoughts to those who offer them.

And Wow!! again

Wheel full 70px My friend Jean Aime Bigirimanawho goes by JaBig Chocophile on facebook [link] is on the Dempster Highway north of the Arctic Circle bicycling across Canada to the Arctic Ocean. I first posted about him here [link].

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Wheel full 70px He has been on the road a little over a year and has ridden a single speed bicycle all the way from the Atlantic Coast in the Maritimes to the Pacific Coast in British Columbia then north up the Alaska Highway headed for Tuktoyaktuk, an Arctic Ocean coastal village in the Northwest Territories.  He has less than a week to go.  His facebook page is one of the most incredible accounts of a long-distance bicycle ride that I have ever seen.

Wow!!

Wheel full 70px Every so often something happens in the community of touring/endurance cyclists that just has one stopping to catch a breath.  I’m not talking about the incredibly sad events involving injury and sometimes death (the community suffered two tragic losses in the last 10 days when ultra-distance cyclist Mike Hall was killed in a competition being held in Australia [link] and then the legendary Steve Tilford died in an auto accident in Colorado [link])- those are terrible occurrences that just leave you shaking your head, and they seem to happen far too often.  Some things, though, just capture what inspires people to get on bicycles and ride, and ride, and ride.  The story of Montrealer Jean Aime Bigirimana, who goes by the name JaBig Chocophile on facebook [link], is one of those.

JaBig

Wheel full 70px This guy is in the last weeks of a 14 month, 17,500 kilometer/11,000 mile plus ride from the Atlantic to the Pacific to the Arctic Ocean in Canada.  He is currently cycling between Whitehorse and Dawson in the Yukon on the Klondike Highway and will then head north on the Dempster Highway and then ultimately an ice road to Tuktoyaktuk in the Northwest Territories…

…wait for it…

…wait…

…wait…

…on a single speed bike!!

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Wheel full 70px For those of you who live in the balmy south- meaning anywhere south of Duluth, Minnesota- you have no idea what this guy is doing. Here’s the weather right now in Dawson.

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That’s a balmy day for this time of year up here. And it was still winter when JaBig rode up the Alaska Highway, something that can be a challenge in a car.

Wheel full 70px He’s riding Centuries (100 miles/160 kilometers in a day) on a regular basis.  And he’s had his bike stolen during the trip. And been charged by buffalo. He seems to be unstoppable. His facebook page is well worth an extended look – highly recommended.

So This is Cool!

Wheel full 70px Scroll down to see the map from top to bottom- or, as we call it, from brook2bayou.

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Wheel full 70px Apparently WordPress only cares that your images are not more than 800 pixels wide. Tall, hey! Who’s checking? So a route that runs pretty much north to south can be shown at a scale-size sufficient so that you can actually figure out where stuff is.

Wheel full 70px That, by the way, is my final cut at route planning for the trip. I joined all my segments- all 45 of them- together in Ride with GPS to create one long route, and of course discovered a couple of mistakes. And that was after I thought I’d gone over the route in mid-March with the digital equivalent of a fine tooth comb. There was really only one significant rerouting adding about a mile and a half. Other mistakes getting fixed, like going 50 yards up a side street or a small “there and back” circle, reduced the length, though, so I wound up only four-tenths of a mile/650 meters off on a route that is 2,250 miles/3,620 kilometers long.

Wheel full 70px So now I will break this long route back into 45 pieces, secure in the knowledge that my start and end points each day/50 mile/80 km segment are precise. That will also, unfortunately require me to redo the detailed elevation profiles, but I’m going to work with the ones I have done for a while, as they are close enough to plan off of. I will have to fix them, though, before I do the cue sheets. That’s several days work, unfortunately.

Wheel full 70px Well, it’s 50(F)/10(C) degree here in Alaska again today. There may be a “first in 2017” bike ride in my weekend coming up. We’ll see.