El Camino Real bicycle commute

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Monday, March 19, 2007
By Yokota Fritz

This is seven minutes of video of a 22 mile monday morning bicycle commute from San Jose, California to my office in Menlo Park.

I don't normally ride up El Camino Real, but I wanted to see how I'd compare against a couple of local buses that go this way. The VTA #22 left 10 minutes before me -- I passed that bus about 45 minutes into my ride. The #522 "Rapid" left 10 to 15 minutes after me and finally passed me just short of its stop in Palo Alto.

I started bicycling at 7:10 a.m. and got to my office before 8:30 a.m. The camcorder was mounted on my top tube.

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Nice motorpacing starts around the 6:25 remaining mark...
What camcorder were you using and what sort of a mount did you use to set it up on the bike? I've wanted to do something like that but never found a mount that would work. I've had to resort to one of Samsung's tapeless "sport" camcorders - but the less than 60 minutes of battery life leaves me with few rides I can actually attempt to record.
My camcorder is a little MiniDV camera, a Panasonic PV-GS59. I bought a larger battery pack so I have something like 3 hours of record time, though I only buy 60 minute tapes.

In this video, the camcorder is mounted on the top tube with pipe clamps with a standard 1/4 inch bolt (with "wing" head so I can attach the camera without tools). A piece of inner tube is used to protect the frame finish.

In this video the camcorder is zip tied to my bike helmet. The weight of the camera made the helmet tip, though, so some sort of counterweight is needed to keep the view level. I've also mounted cameras on my handlebar and even on my rear rack (with a remote shutter release attached to my handlebar).
That is cool Fritz. I need to get a small camcorder so I can record a couple of "daily rides"
Nice video and good ride... Its fun racing the public transportation
Nice clip! Do you usually take Willow Rd to cross 101?
I've made a camera mount for a digital camera before with these instructions:


It's cheap and works great. Instructables has a way to make a steady cam, but it's a lot of work. With this mount, my digital camera's video ability, and a 4 GB memory card, I can take videos of over an hour.
Here's the link to the bicycle-mounted steady-cam...

Thanks for the comments all. Beating the bus is fun. the video was with my road bike. On my fixed gear, the "Rapid" generally beats me by a long shot.

@James: Yes, you should!

@Naoto: I do Willow Rd across 101 almost every day twice a day. If my origin/destination is the Menlo Park Caltrain station I'll use the Ringwood Ave pedestrian bridge, but I rarely go into downtown Menlo.

@Michael: I have a handlebar mount too; I tried the top tube this time to see if that would minimize vibration. I had also see the "steadycam" instrucions and the before-and-after videos shows it works well. Helmet cam solves the vibration problem but it's awfully heavy plus I do lots of shoulder checks. I'll probably rig something up on the handlebars involving r/c shocks or something.
Nice video, Fritz. You should check out this link to a friend of mine who uses a helmet cam to video his racing (and crazy training rides in traffic). The helmet cam is small and light and he keeps the cam-corder in a back pocket or pack. Small and light, it doesn't affect your helmet at all. He has how-to links on his site, too. Click on the "Helmet Cam" tag.

Sprinter della Casa helmet cam posts
I'd love to have a tiny helmet cam, but unfortunately my camcorder does not have a video input port.
Cool! Enjoying the blog - nice story about Boris Johnson by the way.
Nice video. I just posted a sample video and some pictures of a helmet camera system I bought on ebay for less than 70 bucks. The results are pretty good. Here's the link if you want to check it out.

is this a sony cam? the footage seems inferior so may want to check if it is really a sony
"My camcorder is a little MiniDV camera, a Panasonic PV-GS59."

Video quality is sorry because this was edited in Microsoft Movie Maker and uploaded to YouTube.
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