Box Hill by Motorcycle

The first piece of sunny weather and it was an opportunity to get back on the bike since before Christmas. Also an opportunity to test a new helmet cam, the Sony FDR-x3000. Its hugely better than the Contour Roam (Contour seem to have brought out a new camera – I thought they went out of business): it has better resolution and takes much nicer looking footage, is smaller, has a much better mounting system and I can plug a helmet mic directly into it. Probably the best feature is the remote controller with a small screen that mounts on the handlebars and saves feeling around in a gloved hand for an on switch somewhere on the side of my helmet. It was a test run so all didn’t go entirely to plan.

After reading brief recommendation I headed down to Box Hill in Surrey, just the other side of the M25 (which if you walk around I have heard you get a tour of London’s old asylums at a safe distance from the capital). I should have done more research because my webpage did not mention probably the main draw for motorcyclists which is the Ryker Cafe, run ‘by bikers for bikers’.

As said before, riding out of London in any direction involves many miles of driving through congested roads and then unattractive dual carriageway before getting to anything remotely rural. This time my journey passed nearly every Northern Line station going south towards Morden. But the more I do it, and the more familiar the route gets, the less I notice it and the quicker the journey feels.

The camera worked well, though just when I got to the picturesque, the never-ending circle of dots on the remote screen told me that the camera had already used its battery – of course I had a couple of spare with me. So I have fantastic footage of various tube stations in south London. Not having really looked hard in enough in advance I stopped at the worst possible establishment (there was a last space in the crowded car park), called Smith and Weston for an orange juice and a chance to search on Google for why my GPS was not working properly (clean the contacts someone wrote, even though they look clean – which I did and found it worked). My route out of there led me past two much more interesting looking stopping places, down through a couple of hairpins, and past Ryker’s Cafe with a carpark heaving with motorcycles of various styles.

The camera saves GPS data which I think you can only embed and render onto the footage using Sony’s movie making software which, apart from being able to do that, is not very good. Solution: save the file then import that into FCP to properly edit and the speed and other data remains on the screen.

The whole trip was just over 50 miles and was a lovely way to spend the first Spring-like day and the first riding day of 2019. Wimbledon was strangely deserted. Here’s a screenshot of the route.

to Box hill and back

Here’s the GPS track, strangely just for one direction (not the band):

Here’s the footage I took: