There are more and more people attaching bulky cameras to their bicycles, helmets or chests to capture the (not) joy of cycling on roads shared with people driving cars.
I’m now one of them – except I couldn’t bring myself to fork out hundreds on a spiffy, and bulky, bit of kit.
A friend pointed me in the direction of a tiny electronic key fob sized HD camera (made in China!) which, it turns out, has been superb so far at recording what goes on behind me on my cycle commute to and from train stations getting to and from work.
You can download a control programme to your PC which will let you configure the camera – you could, for example, set it to automatically start recording from the moment you turn it on; and have it flash a yellow light to indicate when it is recording (or if you are James Bond then you could leave it off and most people would just think it is a car key fob). You can have it record time lapse photos or movies.
It is, as far as I know, only available on eBay and it is shipped from China – you’ll have to be patient after clicking ‘buy’.
I like it so much, I’ve bought another one which I will mount (somehow/somewhere) on my Brompton’s front handle bar.
There are at least 3 variations: the original normal (“Lens A”), the IR filter (“Lens B“) – which has a slightly wider angle than the normal one – and the wide-angle (“Lens D”, 120°). All are sold with varying sizes of memory cards by eletoponline365 on eBay. The links in this paragraph go to the version with 16GB cards.
I use the Lens D, 120° camera on the rear of my Brompton (see video below).
The major drawback is: it is not waterproof. But seeing as though it is rare – even in England! – to be caught out with a downpour during a commute, this shouldn’t be too much of a problem; just don’t let snow collect on it in winter and then melt!
A final tip: remember to take off the camera before folding up your Brompton! It will catch on the ground as you fold the rear wheel under.
Of course, you can use the camera in all sorts of places. I put another strip of velcro on the top of my GPS unit in the car so that I could record car journeys on weekends. It is also fun to put them on toys – like model trains – and enjoy the journey of your make-believe friends on board.
My friend Mike took apart a waterproof housing for something else and shaped it so that the camera could be attached to water rockets…
Here are a few videos taken with the camera.